Padmaavat is daring, honest and soul-stirring, and belongs to Ranveer Singh through and through



com/watch?v=8YaF2m7hCx0 Yet, with the almost divine status enjoyed by Rani Padmini in certain communities, a magnum opus depicting her tale could have always been sure of garnering a lot of attention, both desirable and undesirable

Bruised and battered, its release was delayed by more than a month, but eventually this beleaguered film had its tryst with movie theatres across the world

Moving beyond the context setting and the controversy, let us explore the merits of the film from the viewer’s perspective

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, especially when he does period films, specialises in creating a spectacle of grandeur, majesty, and opulent fashion, and Padmaavat does not disappoint in that department

It is a visual treat

The sets, the costumes, and the make-up that evoke a bygone era are all simply magical to witness

It make one wonder if royalty in that period actually enjoyed such levels of magnificence as displayed in the film

The lead actors have done a tremendous job at making us believe they really are who they play

Deepika Padukone exudes the exquisite intensity that is expected from a legendary Rajput queen, whose beauty could launch a thousand wars, and perhaps even naval operations had Rajasthan been a maritime state! She is simply a spectacle to behold, and unfortunately, her character is missing for long stretches of the movie, leaving you wanting more

Ranveer Singh never ceases to amaze with his passion

He plays the role of Alauddin Khilji, the marauding sultan who was so smitten by Padmavati’s beauty that he prosecuted a ruthless war against her husband’s kingdom in order to possess her

His character’s transformation from a young sinewy lad to a brawny brute of an invader over the course of the film stood out as a testament to his commitment to be what is demanded of the character

He is menacing, lustful and brutal

He completely succeeds in making you want to hate him for his villainy, which is quite a departure from the usually effervescent and endearing characters he plays

It is his film through and through

Shahid Kapoor does a good job as the besieged Rajput king, waging a lonely battle to protect his territory

However, he is outshined by Singh’s larger than life presence and doesn’t quite measure up to Padukone’s statuesque persona

The chemistry between husband and wife is more reflective of the properties displayed by a group of inert gases; there is a quiet passion and zero volatility

Perhaps that is why Bhansali chose to cast him as the eventually vanquished king; he is proud and principled, but ultimately possessing limited prowess that destines him for defeat in the face of a formidable adversary

Aditi Rao Hydari has a small role as Khilji’s wife, but she is impactful in it

Jim Sarbh plays Khilji’s slave, Malik Kafur, and the film fleetingly depicts some homoerotic undertones between the two

So Bhansali gets the characters right

He also succeeds in conjuring intricately choreographed grandeur that dazzles

The minutest details are captured to perfection

These are the film’s strengths

There are, however, a couple of areas where the film is found wanting

For one, it is long

At two hours and 44 minutes, it drags in parts and can test the patience of those who will not be captivated merely by mesmerising visuals

In terms of the story, since it is based on a historical poem, there isn’t much leeway for creating suspense

Anyone who is even peripherally acquainted with Indian history would know how the story is going to end

It is ultimately a costume dance-drama, recounting the simple story of a strange love triangle, albeit presented as an epic in the complex and tragic setting of a tumultuous time in history

The movie is a beautifully executed visual delight

Therefore, along with immaculate attention to detail and breathtaking texture, it is also soul stirring in many ways

The most heart-rending is the climax, where the women of the vanquished kingdom commit jauhar (a Hindu custom of mass self-immolation), choosing death over being ravished by the conquerors

On this line of thought, we must digress for a moment and go back to examine the larger socio-political significance of Padmaavat

Yes, the act is anachronistic and patriarchal in this day and age, but in the context of those brutal times, it’s not a choice that can be casually dismissed by applying contemporary paradigms

In those times, that was the Rajput women’s way of contributing to the war effort by denying the enemy the gratification of post-conquest loot

Bhansali had a choice in this film

He could have imparted a contemporary flavor by including a strong message on patriarchy and women’s empowerment

Or he could have remained true to the original story and shown things as they were in those times

He chose the latter, probably to preserve the integrity of the overall narrative, despite the artistic license he undoubtedly exercised in several other areas

This brings us to a crucial question

Should this movie have ever even been made? It’s a story that has antagonised people at the opposite ends of the political spectrum

To the liberals, it eulogises patriarchy and the horrific practice of sati or jauhar that reinforce the secondary status of women

Some also argue that the portrayal of Khilji and his ruthless lust demonises Muslims as a whole

On the other extreme, the celluloid rendering of their queen goddess has incensed some fringe elements

They claim that watching her dance is an affront to their pride and honour, though one suspects that the retelling of one of their most traumatic failures to defend themselves would have rankled as well

Nothing fuels indignation more than insecurity

The question arises, does modern India really need to be told stories that reopen old wounds, deepen its existing fissures, and superimpose the values of a different era? Isn’t it best to keep these demons of history buried? In a free society, this decision should rightfully be left with those who choose to make cinema or create any other form of art

The audiences should have the maturity to see it as a work of art and exercise their right to partake in it, or not, as per their inclination and convictions

And if people can learn their lessons from watching the mistakes made in history, even better for society

Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it

Fortunately, most people in India are solidly in the middle and have been supportive of this freedom of artistic expression

With that said, Padmaavat is a must watch spectacle

For everything the movie is, for the memorable acting, for the grand scale it dares to explore, for the emotions it stirs, and most of all, for the struggle it endured, it gets a wholehearted recommendation

All photos: Screenshots

Date:30-Jan-2018 Reference:View Original Link