Bollywood has a huge following amongst the masses, and with its wide reach and acceptance, a movie could convey a message or even influence a social change. Maybe because of its immense popularity, but recently many of these big films of Bollywood were found offensive by niche communities and groups among the masses. The latest episode of this trend is the news of fringe group Rajput Karni Sena destroying the sets of Sanjay LeelaBansali’s magnum opus ‘Padmavati’.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, like all Pisceans, is an innovative and profound thinker; and he also has a spiritual side. His intention is never to offend the sensibilities of history, but perhaps take some poetic license when required.
In true Sanjay Leela Bhansali style, he reminds us of our glorious past, the legacy of Rani Padmini aka Padmavati is unique. She was the epitome of Indian values and culture, a woman of pride and dignity. Such is the pride instilled in her countrymen that a slight inkling of maligning her image in the movie ended up in this violent controversy.
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Rani Padmini was the Queen of Rana Ratan Singh, the king of Chittorgarh during the 13th century. Alauddin Khilji one the most powerful rulers in Indian history was in his heyday and had set his eye upon Chittorgarh in 1303 CE. Rana Ratan Singh called for a peace alliance with Alauddin Khilji, during which the Maharaja showed Khilji around his beautiful kingdom. Khilji who had heard of the exceptional beauty of Rani Padmini insisted on seeing the queen or at least a glance of her. Reluctantly the Maharaja had to agree.
Alauddin Khilji couldn’t think of anything else but Rani Padmini, once he saw her. He was no longer interested in peace treaties but threatened to attack and siege the kingdom if Padmavati was not handed over to him. What followed was catastrophic, the king was captured by Khilji, and he demanded Rani Padmini as ransom. Rani Padmini freed the king from the clutches of Khilji by sending a 700 men troop, but subsequently, Allaudin Khilji attacked Chittorgarh and Rana Ratan Singh was killed in the battle. Rani Padmini didn’t submit herself to the brawn of Khilji but chose to be immortal by performing ‘Johar’ an age-old tradition in which a defeated king's Queen would give up her life to save herself from the submission to a foreign ruler.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmavati:
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's magnum opus has Deepika Padukone playing Queen Padmavati, Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji and Shahid Kapoor as Rana Ratan Singh. Now, what irked the fringe group was a grapevine about a dream sequence in the movie, in which Alauddin Khilji dreams of spending some romance with Queen Padmavati. It's not hard to believe as the film also rides on the popularity of the hottest couple of Bollywood Ranveer and Deepika. Rani Padmini's legend has been open to interpretations of poets, artists and historians ever since her first mention in the history by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540 CE. Some even claim that it is just a myth or story since there is no quantifiable evidence of her anywhere else in history other than in poems and fantasy stories. Padmavati still stands tall as an icon feminine dignity and pride, and while she has always been a favorite character for artists how they interpret and portray her is sensitive to the core for her admirers.
Regardless of the controversy, the love story is predicted to be a hit say Astroyogi Astrologers for the Piscean, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and this incident is a mere hiccup in the making of the movie.