The much in news controversy about filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s sensitive historical take on Rani Padmavati titled Padmavati, now PADMAVAT, about the jauhar committed by the Rajput queen in the wake of the Mughal commander Alauddin Khilj’s evil eye on her and stars the regal Deepika Padukone as Padmavati and Ranveer Singh as the evil Khilji and Shahid Kapoor as the king who loves her dearly. The film was mired in controversy right from its making after certain Rajasthani local groups took offence at the way in which their revered queen was portrayed especially in the popular Ghoomar song. Many states had called to ban the film and the Chief Ministers of many states too had supported the agitation against the film. But finally the conundrum has been resolved after the film’s title has been changed to PADMAVAT and a total of five alterations in the film also including the Ghoomar song and has been granted a U/A certificate. Were these cuts justified, we can only say after seeing the film. The film will no doubt get a rousing reception from the audiences as it is undoubtedly the most anticipated film of the year. The star combination, the music and the director’s visualization will no doubt make it hot property in the trade. But one just wonders how much can the creativity of a director be curbed by political and regional groups and they usually target big films just to trouble them to make a monetary settlement so that the producer who is usually the victim can cough up the money just to safely release his film and the delivery of his prints can be done in all territories. Such small splinter groups, if encouraged can create havoc for the film industry which is already in doldrums. Historical films are generally the target of such groups because history can be distorted and one man’s king can be the other man’s villain. Previously Sohrab Modi used to make historical films like ‘Pukar’, ‘Prithvi Vallabh’, ‘Sikander Rustom’, etc and they were well received by the critics and the audiences both. But if now our society has become so narrow minded that they need to change one scene about Khilji’s infatuation with Rani Padmavati, or else they can stop the release of the entire film. Where is the freedom of expression, we ask? But there are no answers and such happenings will continue in the industry. So the onus now is on the makers of the film to take care and approve the script from historians so that later on no one can trouble them or take advantage of them. But as of now we can enjoy the Bhansali magnum opus. Just for Bhansali’s sake and the stars sake and the hard work done by so many people behind the camera, we hope the film works at the box-office.

The QUEEN REIGNS AGAIN! Trade Magazine