Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Aditi Rao Hydari
Will it ever see the light of the day? Or will the flames of political protests and mindless arson burn it to ashes? The whole socio-political drama surrounding Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest epic ‘Padmavati’, which was renamed under censor pressure to ‘Padmaavat’, kept the audiences on tenterhooks and made multi-national companies issue advisories to their employees against watching it!
Thankfully the movie got released under Supreme Court’s directive and has got the box-office and the celeb-tweets buzzing. So how is the much-debated movie, which is supposedly derogatory to multiple factions for multiple reasons?
What’s the plot?
Based on Malik Muhammed Jayasi’s 15th century poem ‘Padmaavat’, the film presents a popular historic fable of Rani Padmini (also known as Padmavati), that has become part of Indian folklore for ages.
It is the thirteenth century India. The Delhi throne is occupied by Alauddin Khilji, a wicked, cunning Sultan with an unending lust for power and flesh. When he comes to know about Padmavati, an ethereally beautiful queen of Mewar, he decides to attack the Rajasthani kingdom to capture her. The king of Mewar, Maharawal Ratan Singh and his brave army thwart Khilji’s evil plans for a while but will their resistance hold up when the Sultan would return with more force and firepower? With the defeat staring in her face, how will the valorous queen save her and the state’s honour?
As the detractors and opponents vehemently keep protesting, Padmaavat has gone on to win the box-office approval. It is a grand extravaganza based on a historic fable, which apparently happened in the thirteenth century and was written about in the fifteenth century. Factual inaccuracies, black-and-white characterizations and unintended glorification of regressive practices are somewhat inevitable in such endeavors. The clear disclaimers (‘Work of fiction’) and creative licensure are valid defenses from the film-maker. In any way, this film doesn’t show Rani Padmavati or Rajput community in poor light. In fact, the film almost goes overboard in highlighting their exalted place in history.