If you have not already seen Deepika Padukone’s resplendent avatar from the magnum opus Padmavati, you need to do something about it right away. It is all over social media since it released earlier on Thursday, September 21, and people are going gaga over it. If you belong to the lot who have already seen it, you’d know Deepika comes true to the tagline of Goddess Queen written on the poster. Bollywood’s love for royals and their stories isn’t new, with Rani Padmini being the latest.
In the past, Bollywood has portrayed stories of queens on the silver screen. Sometimes they are based on real-life stories like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Jodhaa Akbar, while on other occasions like Sonam Kapoor in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, the characters have been completely fictional. But, one thing has been in common in all the characters shown on screen – they are women of strength. As we gear up for the release of Padmavati, here’s looking back at the times Bollywood divas became queens and princesses:
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Jodhaa Akbar:
In Jodha Akbar, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan pulled off possibly one of her most beautiful characters on screen. The film got immense love from critics and the chemistry between her and Hrithik Roshan was unmissable.
The elegant jewellery Aishwarya wore in the movie is what added to the regal charm to her character. Reports have it that 200 craftsmen worked for 600 days to mold the jewels made of gold gemstones. Around 300 kilograms of jewels were used and Aishwarya wore 13 sets of jewellery in the movie. Designer Neeta Lulla went to Jaipur to understand the kind of clothes people wore during the Mughal era. She used Zardori and Kundan work in a lot in the dresses.
On her part, Aishwarya was not only beauty but brains as well. As the queen who put her self-respect above everything else, Aishwarya did a fantastic job.
Anushka Shetty in Baahubali 2:
SS Rajamouli’s historical fiction, Baahubali 2 redefined Box Office success. Devasena is one of the strongest female characters Indian cinema has seen. From standing up for her rights to calling out the hypocrisy in age-old traditions of the kingdom of Mahishmati, Devasena did it all. Just like the amazing character, the director paid attention to every tiny detail which translated to perfection on screen. The flamboyance of the movie echoed in clothes and jewellery of the characters. Devasena’s costumes were a reflection of the powerful character she was. Rajamouli’s wife Rama took it upon herself to decide the costumes. She, along with designer Prashanti Tipirneni, ensured Devasena’s clothes reflected her behaviour. They took inspiration for sari drapes from paintings of Raja Ravi Varma to depict the grace. Talking about the jewellery of Devasena, Rama had told a leading daily once:
The jewellery worn by Prabhas and Rana Dagubatti on screen, is actually real silver dipped in gold polish. While their jewellery has a solid look, Devasena’s jewels are more delicate, reflecting her artistic temperament.
Priyanka Chopra in Bajirao Mastani:
Bajirao Mastani is another example of the love Sanjay Leela Bhansali has for opulence and grandeur. It featured Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra in the lead. As Peshwa Bajirao’s wife Kashibai, Priyanka did a fabulous job. Film critic Rajeev Masand had written:
The film benefits from a nice touch of playfulness and humour in Priyanka Chopra’s Kashibai. Chopra brings grace to the character, and practically steals the film.
It is safe to say no one else other than Priyanka would have pulled off the role of a woman who kept jealousy aside and understood her husband, Bajirao’s love for Mastani. While PeeCee delivered a top-notch performance in the movie, a lot of effort went behind the making of Kashibai. Anju Modi designed eighty nine-yard sarees for Chopra with bright colours such as yellow, hot pink, emerald green and purple. Craftsmen from Maheshwar, Chander and Varanasi weaved these sarees. Traditional Marathi style jewellery was used for Kashibai.
Sonam Kapoor in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo:
Sonam Kapoor essayed the role of Rajkumari Maithili Devi in this Sooraj Barjatya directorial of 2015. Though the movie did a decent business at the Box Office, it was panned by the critics. Many were of the opinion that the movie was nothing but a recreation of Barjatya’s previous movies. They didn’t have much to say about Sonam’s character, yet her royal look in the movie got a lot of attention. Sonam’s friend Anamika Khanna designed her clothes for the movie. Before the film’s release, Khanna had said this about her work:
The director wanted her to look extremely ethereal, extremely vulnerable and beautiful. We have done this seven-coloured lehnga, a traditional Rajasthani lehnga called Satranga. Basically, it’s a traditional concept where you put together the lehnga in seven panels of seven different colours, very vibrant… and then on it we have done gota ka kaam.
Kareena Kapoor Khan in Asoka:
Kareena essayed the role of Princess Kaurwaki in this period drama which released in 2001. History has it that Kaurwaki was the third wife of Emperor Asoka and is the only Queen who was named in inscriptions. In the movie, Kaurwaki meets Asoka (Shah Rukh Khan) when she is on the run with her younger brother Arya. While a few critics praised the movie, others thought the greatness of the script was let down by Bollywood elements. As far as Kareena’s performance is concerned, she did a decent enough job. Not to forget, her look from the movie was also convincing and sexy, to say the least. She was seen sporting a distinct eye makeup.
Ileana D’Cruz in Baadshaho:
Baadshaho gave a contemporary twist to the state of princely states during the Emergency era. Ileana played Queen Gitanjali who wanted to protect her gold from the government. While not much can be said about the meat in her role, Gitanjali’s vintage fashion did catch our eye. The Chiffons and the pearls made her look like the perfect modern royalty.
Kangana Ranaut in Manikarnika
One of the most awaited films of the year, Kangana Ranaut plays the firebrand queen, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi. A rough sketch of what she would look like as Laxmibai has been floating around. The look is yet to be launched officially but she gave us a peek into her portrayal of Rani of Jhansi when she took a holy dip in Ganga in Banaras earlier this year while launching the film.
What we do know is that Kangana has picked up quite a few skills – be it horse riding or sword fighting – to play the warrior queen who fought the British. She was gravely injured while filming a battle-field scene.
The film has been directed by Radha Krishna Jagarlamudii and is slated for release next year.
So, who is your favourite queen?
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