The controversy around Padmaavat, a movie by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, has stolen the show since last year. The movie was originally set to release on the 1st of December, was delayed due to the Karni Sena, who allegedly put a bounty on Deepika Padukone’s head. They burnt down buildings and school buses because the movie apparently distorted Rajput culture. What they meant by that I do not even want to start to understand. The movie may have fictionalized the legend to an extent, but nothing that would put the Rajput name down the drain.
After conquering such major roadblocks, Padmaavat also earned one more thing: sheer disappointment. I remember the last time I was disappointed in this way. The movie was Kites. Though people might blame anticipation for the movie’s mediocrity; I have found so many things that went wrong in Padmaavat.
The story follows Rani Padmini(aka Padmavati) who is the object of obsession for Alauddin Khilji. Shahid Kapoor played the role of Maharawal Ratan Singh– the ruler of Mewar and Padmavati’s husband. Deepika Padukone never fails to awe us with her work. She looked surreal all through the movie. What I loved about the character is that she is smart, well read, brave and can make sound decisions.
Though Padmavati is the namesake of the movie, she was potrayed as no more than an object for two rulers who cannot get over their macho egotistic selves. The hero, Rattan Singh(Shahid) and villain, Alauddin Khilji(Ranveer) were potrayed just the way a children’s book would potray heroes and villains. Khilji was always found clad in black (because he was the villain. Duh!) and obviously in a careless manner, automatically making him look like a villain of the south. Rattan Singh, on the other hand, the white knight he is, was always found in whites and beige taking about Rajput ‘usool’ (read: moral) and Rajput pride. He never seemed to go wrong according to the characters of the movie (as kings go). What bothered me was the role of Nagmati. Why was she left out of the storyline? Nagmati should have played a more integral role, but the way Bhansali put it, it seemed like Rattan Singh had only one legit wife while the other just popped up whenever it was time to blame Padmavati for something.
[Also Read: Padman: India’s Favorite Super-Hero Movie ]
Padmaavat proved to be just another masaledaar bollywood movie. Directors nowadays pay extra attention to minute details. Like Padmavati, once strong and an independant woman, asked for permission to perform ‘jauhar’ (mass self-immolation), because that is the only way to beat Khilji. I don’t even want to start a rant on the things that are wrong with someone who would make such a film and glorify the scene where women of all ages– young, old and pregnant threw themselves into the fire, like we’re were supposed to feel happy about it.
Ranveer Singh came out as the star of the show. Though his acting was perfecto, the character was another disappointment that Bhansali has to his name. Alauddin Khilji was the bad boy of the medieval era. He was shown as a bloodthirsty sexual predator, who risked his entire army for just a glimpse of his new ‘naayaab’(read: unique) obssession. The whole story seemed baseless after the point where Rattan Singh was ready to go to war and hamper the lives of thousands of soldiers just to save Padmavati’s honour. All Khilji wanted at the moment was to steal a glimpse at the queen. The movie basically reminded me of children who would fight with each other for the favourite toy.
Another annoying factor of the movie would be it’s VFX. Bhansali went all out with the sets, like his other movies, but all that grandeur and beauty proved to be only skin deep after the war scenes between Khilji and the Rajput. The action sequences were cold and the characters looked lazy. All through the movie, there were war scenes whose background looked like a screen with deserts projected on it, a lot like an episode of Shaktimaan. Padmaavat has probably also broken the record of number of men who could fight with death wounds. You might even find the commander of the Chittor army fighting headless in the latter half of the movie because “Jis Ka Sir Kuttay Phir Bhe Dhadh Dushman Se Ladta Rahai, Wo Rajput…”. Rattan Singh took an arrow to his chest but still could walk up to Padmavati and promptly throw a pick-up line towards her.
The movie stretched to almost three hours, but thankfully got faster in the latter half. All in all, Padmaavat has been a serious disappointment. Though it is one of the most expensive movies ever made, it lacked basic logic. Khilji’s character was made to be a super-villain in a way that almost forces prejudice against him. His erratic psychopathic tendencies were well portrayed, but the script seemed to be made by someone who had serious revulsion against the King.
(P.S: I haven’t even started on the misogyny and chauvinism that was depicted all through the movie.)
Watch the movie trailer: