Padmavati, Controversy’s Child

The movie Padmavati seems to be getting entangled in protests and controversies. In the earlier part of the year, set of the movie was destroyed by angry Rajput Karni Sena. Now that the movie is about to be released, Rajput groups want the movie be shown to them before it is released to general public. The bone of contention being a dream sequence where Alauddin Khilji is believed to fall in love with Padmavati. Director of Padmavati has denied such a scene exists. Protestors, however, are not ready to buy any assurance.

There is a strong undercurrent against Alauddin Khilji and several other muslim kings who had invaded Rajputana and India. Stories of Rajput women sacrificing their lives by jumping into fire, rather than submitting to victorious muslim army, is a matter of great pride and part of folk tales, It is, thus, very difficult to reason with protestors that even if a dream sequence exists in the movie, it is the dream of Alauddin Khilji and not of Rani Padmavati. One cannot control what Alauddin Khilji is thinking. A man who can march an army to conquer wife of a neighbouring king, can he not have a lurid fantacy? But this cannot be held again Rani Padmavati. Because she had no soft corner for the Khilji king.

As the debate around Padmavati intensified, some scholars claimed that Padmavati never existed.  How could a princess from Ceylon become queen of Chittor in Rajputana? Some doubted occurrence of Jauhar. Some even suggested Padmavati was a loser, who chose death over life? According to scholars, historians who accompanied Alauddin Khilji in his conquest, never talked of Padmavati. It can be argued that, history is written by victors and not by the vanquished. Indian history has traditionally been spread word of mouth by bards. Over a period of time, exaggeration might have crept in, but actual occurrences probably remained undisputed. Thus story of Rani Padmavati is part of hindu folklore.  Jauhar kund exists in Chittorgarh fort. Historians report of three jauhars that happened in Chittorgarh, after Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi, Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat and Emperor Akbar of Delhi. In the middle of all this, I want to see Ranveer Singh as Allauddin Khilji.

People have tried to potray Alauddin Khilji as a benevolent general, who  administered his kingdom well, expanded  it, and protected it by keeping invading mughals at bay. Others think of Alauddin Khilji as a ruthless person who killed his own father in law, coveted a neighbouring king’s wife and generally cruel against vast population of hindu subjects.  By the way, Alauddin Khilji was not a devout muslim by his own standard. He had a lover in Malik Kafur, his trusted general. Practice of homo-sexuality is a heresy for devout muslims even today.

Without condoning Alauddin Khilji and muslim invaders after him for their cruelty against majority hindu natives, is it fair to judge the man of 1306  by todays standard of 2017? Both Alauddin and Rani Padmavati were products of their time. Their morality, their value system, their concept of honour, and their outlook to life were totally different. We may not like them, but we cannot change them. That is history. We can make better history by letting others watch Padmvati. I am dieing to watch Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji. I loved the way he portrayed Peshwa Bajirao. Let us hope good sense prevails.

 

10 thoughts on “Padmavati, Controversy’s Child

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    1. I agree. It is difficult to argue with emotion. I am not an apologist for what invaders did to us. I think natives were fragmented, natives were not well versed with war technology. We lost most wars between 1000 AD till 1947. But we cannot change our past. A successful screening of Padmavati will show Alauddin Khilji in much worse light than meaningless protest. I am sure Ranveer Singh will portray the role well.

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  1. I think, there were way too many rumors, such as the dream sequence of khilji and Padmavati, but apparently there are no such scenes. This hasn’t been effectively communicated. And I am sure the Karni Sena, a clan protective about their women so not understand that this movie pays tribute to a Rajput Queen. There is more political gimmick and hype than an issue.

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    1. Thank you for reading. I agree with you. I think a director has to be given some artistic freedom. I think instead of showing the movie to TV journalists, if the movie was discussed with Mewar and Jaipur Royals there would have been a different outcome.

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      1. In fact Ranveer Singh portraying Alauddin Khalji is thing worth watching. After seeing him play Bajirao, I am dying to see Padmavati. Alauddin will be much maligned, and Rajput eulogies, if the film is allowed to be released.

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      2. Yes, even in during Bajirao there were protests. We are not from that era where we know about everything right from their attire to lifestyle’s since it has not been recorded with much accuracy. But the director should be given his creative freedom. I cannot please everyone in my family of 4, then how on Earth is Sanjay Leela Bhansali supposed to make 1.2 billion people or more happy?

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