There are fewer moments in our lives today which take our breath away, unless you catch the early sunrise and hear birds chirp away as you wake up to an orange glow cast over the skies and praise the universe for its show that puts glimmers of hope into our mundane city lives.
My breath was taken away last night as I watched a late evening show on the first day that Padmavati opened in theatres. I have cupped my hands together and thanked God for this. It is a movie, a probable masterpiece which was held away from a viewer in search of his hope by hopeless, jobless and aimless groups of people who think opening of the mind to be equivalent to losing their well guarded virginity. Both are ultimately inevitable. Not literally.
About the movie –
Grandeur, Resplendence. Aura. Charisma. Illusion. Fantasy.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali – I admire your ruthlessness as a creator of these lost love tragedies that you give us painted with such vibrance and grandeur that we eat out of your hands for those 3 hours of worthy time in a theatre. Not bowing down to any circumstances – your sets get burned, people threaten you and yet we await and watch your majestic creation in awe. Thank you for being so bold. And yes, your film is a majestic treat for the senses.
Padmavati is an interesting story. More so as it puts many aspects of human life to test. The values of a community, importance of festivals, war and the fair share of consequences, story of love, story of lust, man’s greed to have what he wants, principles of negotiation and also forbidden love. The story by now is known to all. Its played out linear in narration and visuals and anyone can keep up with where the film is headed. The journey is interesting as are its characters. The antagonist, Allaudin Khilji played by Ranveer Singh has opened a new pathway for Bollywood actors. We just started worshipping Prabhas last year for Baahubali, but we do not worship any of our Khans in that order. Its a league well reserved for the Bhansali clan.
His intensity in his madness and the extent of portraying the tyranny and cruelty of Allaudin Khilji and how he successfully would have taken over Hindustan of the 1300s had he not been blinded by his love for greed. The film belongs to him. We once again get to see war – plain and simple, devoid of judgement only celebrating the victor. He has interesting stories of shrewdness and deception which establish his victory.
Malik Kafur played by Jim Sarbh is yet again a road none dare to take in this industry. He owns the frame in which he belongs. A song in the film shows his lust and wanting for Allaudin. The song in its visual is a masterpiece I haven’t witnessed before in a Bollywood movie. His love, his yearning and his acceptance of being a second fiddle all match well.
Deepika slays. The title role is given justice by Deepika and yet again shows her as the second wife who takes in everything her marriage offers including Jouhar.
Shahid is good. And yes, there is a time when the movie slows down and drags and their is a huge emphasis on Rajputs and their values.
Despite the story being simple, the last 20 minutes of the film will engulf you, roll you and will take you to Chittor. The music rises with the climax and keeps going as you feel within you the preparation of those women in doing Jouhar. The scene is not extra ordinary in what is shown but it is mind blowing in its feeling. You will feel goosebumps and a deep connect to the story at this point. After this moment, you will rush into wanting to know and understand every aspect of this history that you may have overlooked, forgotten or mugged for your exams. This very feeling, taken seriously might change the way we connect to our history. But as the controversy of this movie goes, we have no idea who wrote this history or how true it is.
After the movie,I realized what made the movie controversial – the fact that it was a woman who drove that part of history. The Mewar documentation of history has no mention of its queens, I ask Why?
It glorifies a man, his manhood, his supremacy and contribution in history. And it had never been secure to share the space with the female gender and their stories.
This movie opens you up to what a woman in power can do. It shakes the very foundation of people who put woman behind a ghoonghat and expect her to not have a voice. The controversy is not of Padmavati, Khilji or hurting anyone’s sentiments as much as it shakes the pillars of patriarchy. Like Khilji who lost his mind after hearing the screaming bails of women burning in the Jouhar, these closed minded people today feel the same anguish and loss of control if a woman ever decides to take her destiny into her own hands. And Padmavati will reach millions worldwide through the power of film and through the eyes of SLB.
I bow down to what this movie stands for and what it has scratched into these times that we live.