Sanjay Leela Bhansali is no stranger to controversy. From its very conception, Padmavati, his latest historical magnum opus has been fraught with drama. Literally. Even ‘ex royals’ of Rajasthan do not want the film released – such is anger against it.
Starring Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Deepika Padukone as Padmavati – you’d think the audience would be excited for that reason alone. But no. That isn’t what’s making people throng the sets, smash the props and even slap Bhansali. A rumour floating around alleging a sexually explicit dream sequence between Alauddin and Padmavati has triggered a war the likes of which nobody ever wanted to witness.
Rajput fringe group Karni Sena is largely responsible for physical violence against both the director and his film set as well as an innocent rangoli made specially by a fan. Nothing seems to have escaped the detractors – especially the film’s release date. They would prefer it never release at all apparently. With leaders of both major political parties, Congress and BJP jumping into the fray to stop a film that ‘distorts historical facts’, the road to a smooth release seems totally unlikely. Deepika, who plays the titular character, Padmavati, has defended the film openly time and again, while the leading men made generic statements. Shows who’s the true queen here, doesn’t it?
With the silence from Bollywood supporting the release of the film getting rather deafening, writer, columnist and socialite Shobhaa De has spoken up in Padmavati’s favour. Why? Because that’s the normal thing to do. In a column written for NDTV, Shobhaa begins by establishing that Bhansali’s films are ‘dramatic and watching’, but it is definitely NOT history. But when you go to watch a musical Bollywood epic, is history even what you’re looking for? Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar would probably never release if that were the case. Or Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani for that matter.
Excerpts from Shobhaa’s piece:
- ‘What’s in a name?’ ~
demanded Karni Sena
Even Chitor can be called Kitor, Bitor, Mitor. Who cares? Call the Raja, Raja. And the villain, Badmash. Nobody will mind.
2. On the utter implausibility of sentiments getting hurt without even watching the film.
3. And of course, the blanket silence currently being practised by most of Bollywood. Cat got your tongue, guys?
The film is currently scheduled to release on December 1, 2017.
You can read Shobhaa De’s full article on Padmavati here.