I finally saw the most controversial film of 2018 – Padmaavat.
Entertainment

Forget History, ‘Padmaavat’ Failed to Stay True to The Poem Also

The Quint’s Take: A woman’s 'honour' is not a public commodity, and the crime of rape doesn't lessen her. Practices like jauhar/sati are condemnable. The Quint supports actor Swara Bhasker’s view as expressed in her open letter to Sanjay Leela Bhansali – questioning the glorification of Jauhar in the film ‘Padmaavat’.

We at The Quint, have received several letters from our readers responding to Swara’s letter and expressing their views about the film. We are sharing these letters here without endorsing or supporting them. These letters are entirely readers’ opinions.)

I finally saw the most controversial film of 2018 – Padmaavat. I must admit I enjoyed Bhansali's impeccable art direction and the music. But unfortunately, the film didn’t stay true to the poem it was apparently based on, and it wasn't even close to being true to its history.

For all the Games of Thrones and Troy fans, this would be a film worth watching. But what made me really uncomfortable while watching the film was the portrayal of Alauddin Khalji. I’m not questioning Ranveer Singh’s acting ability – he was fabulous and for a director, he must have been a delight to work with.

But there is no way that Khalji was a ruthless barbarian, well, at least I seem to remember my history pretty differently. And even if he was, so what? Every king was equally merciless when it came to conquering kingdoms. So Khalji was no different.

And thanks to Padmaavat, we will remember Khalji as a barbaric monster, while the memory of him being the one man who defeated and saved India from the Mongols will be soon be forgotten.

With all due respect to our erstwhile Rajput rulers, it's hard to forget their often complicit acceptance of British rule (with a few exceptions), and the dazzling heights their wealth and power reached under them. Or for that matter, the alliances with the Mughals, such as Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, via matrimony no less, again with a few exceptions of course. But where did the honour of the Rajput women go then?

I judge no-one here. And neither am I pitting one against the other. We need to admit that practically ever ruler was a product of not just his ambition, but also of the circumstances and the needs of his time.

(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)