An Open Letter to Padmavaat Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Dear Sanjay Leela Bhansali,

Before I being with my experiences with the movie “Padmavaat”, I would like to make a small confession. Personally, I have never been a fan of Bollywood and their portrayal of the larger than life image of Indian History, especially that of the Hindu rulers. After being forced to watch your movie “Bajirao Mastani”, my suspicions of you making a mockery of the Rajputs in this movie was more than established.

To be honest, I was one amongst the many who was secretly amused, when the Karni Sena brutally attacked you during your initial days of shoot of this movie. At SatyaVijayi, we went ahead to report this so called exhibit of valor by the Karni Sena and got a massive response for the same.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to watch your movie “Padmaavat” at Melbourne with my wife. With the sinking feeling, as to how I am going to manage to kill the next two hours and 44 minutes, I never expected that I was in for a roller-coaster of emotional moments all through the movie. Not only have you managed to convince me to watch out for your next movie, but also, you seem to have lifted the sagging spirits of the Rajput community which was tarnished by the notorious Karni Sena, who managed to attack even a school bus whilst the children were inside!

I was elated by your portrayal of each and every character in the movie but again being the bitter critic of Bollywood that I have always been, I was able to spot some glitches too. Here is a gist of my analysis of all the characters in the movie:-

Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor):-

Possibly my favorite character in the whole movie. Ample credits to Shahid Kapoor for playing this role, since as per my view this is one of the most difficult characters to play on screen, the valorous and majestic Rajput King.

Maharawal Ratan Singh, in every screen made his presence felt in the most dignified way. The way he had to match up to the fanatic Allaudin Khilji while being his usual elegant self is something to be noted. The way he respected and reciprocated his Queen Padmavati, his Commander-in-Chief Gora Singh, his enemy Allaudin Khilji or his mentor turned traitor Raghav Chetan, it was a sight for the sore eyes.

Most of the Hindu rulers were always known for their honesty, courage and upholding ethics, similar to how you have presented it in this movie. Our history has told us that this was the only reason why most Hindu kings perished. They tried to uphold ethics in front of the most barbaric and cunning tribes like the Mughals, Mongols, Turks and the Europeans and eventually perished in front of their deceit.

Allaudin Khilji (Ranveer Singh):-

The eccentric Allaudin Khilji was again a good cast especially since it matched someone like Ranveer Singh, in real life too. Be it the way how the Khiljis treated their women (Mehrunissa), their warriors or the way they behaved in a deplorable manner, it was truly a good portrayal.

One of the small glitches that I could find, is to how the barbaric nature of Khiljis had been missed out in this movie. Allaudin Khilji was shown more as an eccentric character who wanted to get his hands on anything precious while history told us it was his barbaric nature which drove him to make such decisions. It was not just the Khiljis, most of the invaders of India, were driven by a fanatic religious cause which was the primary motto to attack the Hindu empires in-order to wipe our Hinduism.

To be honest, it was sad to see so many people falling in love with Ranveer’s character while they should have loathed him. Possibly this could be one of the biggest deviations from the real history, the real cause begin Islamic domination.

Malik Kafur (Jim Sarabh):-

Pseudo historians like Irafan Habib, who went ahead to claim that Queen Padmavati (real life Rani Padmini) was an imaginary character, would have never brought this character to limelight. Yes I am talking about the character of Malik Kafur, the male sex slave to the bisexual fanatic Sultan Allaudin Khilji.

I stumbled upon reading this character in an alternative history book which went into great detail to explain about the sexual perversions of many Mughals and the Khiljis were no exception. While most of Islamic text books and websites in Pakistan might glorify Malik Kafur as a brave General working under Khilji, this movie braved to spell out that he was nothing more than a freaky male sex slave.

Raghav Chetan:-

Pseudo Historians have always loved to blame the Brahmins for the fall of any Hindu Kingdom, it has been very creatively packaged and sold as real history. The same goes for the character of Raghav Chetan in this movie, since there are many alternate narrations for the same character. The necessity and truth of this character in this movie is very debatable.

Queen Padmavati (Deepika Padukone):-

Finally the legendary Queen Padmavati, she has been nothing short of a symbol of God to the Rajput community, probably after this movie she has become a Global icon. The reason why I say this is because of the emotional roller coaster I felt in the cinema hall, especially when I saw the Jauhar Kund scene in the last 20 minutes with the amazing background score. It was hard for anyone in the hall to hold back their tears in that particular scene, including several Australians who were sitting around me in the movie hall.

Yes, people were rumor mongering about the love scenes between the Allaudin Khilji and Queen Padmavati, but thanks to the censor board or all the controversy surrounding this movie, you have clearly steered away from such theatrics.

This movie may or may not have done justice in many areas, especially in deviating from the real history which very few people might know, but it has definitely portrayed the best to keep Queen Padmavati’s honor alive.


Prakash R