Padmaavat, formerly titled Padmavati, is a 2018 Indian epic period drama film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Loosely based on the poem Padmavat by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, it stars Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati, a Rajput queen known for her beauty, wife to Maharawal Ratan Singh, played by Shahid Kapoor. Sultan Alauddin Khilji, played by Ranveer Singh, hears of her beauty and attacks her kingdom to claim her. Aditi Rao Hydari, Jim Sarbh, Raza Murad, and Anupriya Goenka feature in supporting roles.
With a production budget of ₹215 crore (US$34 million), Padmaavat is the most expensive Hindi film and one of the most expensive Indian films ever made. Initially scheduled for release on 1 December 2017, Padmavaat faced numerous controversies. Amid violent protests, a bounty was placed on the crew and its release was indefinitely delayed. In December, the Central Board of Film Certification approved the film with five modifications, which includes the addition of multiple disclaimers and a change in title. Padmaavat was rescheduled for release on 25 January 2018 in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D formats, making it the first Indian film to be released in IMAX 3D.
Padmaavat received mixed reviews. Critics praised the visuals and Singh's portrayal of Khilji, but criticised its storyline, execution, length and adherence to regressive patriarchal mores. Critics also disliked the portrayal of Khilji as a stereotypical evil Muslim king and Ratan Singh as the righteous Hindu king. Despite being banned in some states of India, it grossed over ₹525 crore (US$82 million) at the box office, becoming a commercial success and one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sanjay Leela Bhansali|
by Malik Muhammad Jayasi
|Music by||Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Sanchit Balhara (score)
|Edited by||Jayant Jadhar
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Viacom 18 Motion Pictures
|Distributed by||Viacom 18 Motion Pictures (India)
Paramount Pictures (International)
|Box office||est. ₹525 crore|
In 13th-century Afghanistan, Jalaluddin Khilji of Khilji dynasty, along with his courtiers, plans to take over the throne of Delhi. His nephew Alauddin Khilji brings him a whole ostrich, though he was just asked for a feather. The latter asks for his daughter Mehrunisa's hand in marriage to which she agrees. Their wedding is organised, but on the night of the event, Alauddin engages in adultery with another woman. A nobleman witnesses the act and advises Alauddin against doing so, but is instead killed by him. Mehrunisa is informed of this during the wedding, leaving her horrified and helpless.
Meanwhile the Sinhala princess Padmavati, unknowingly wounds the Rajput ruler Maharawal Ratan Singh while hunting, mistaking him for a deer. She takes him to a monastery to treat him and upon recovering, she identifies himself as the ruler of Mewar who had traveled to Sinhala to acquire rare pearls for his first wife Nagmati. While he recuperates, the two fall in love and get married with the permission of her father. They set out for Chittorgarh in Mewar, Ratan's capital, and are welcomed with pomp and circumstance save for Nagmati, who disapproves of her husband's second marriage and is jealous of all the attention received by Padmavati.
Jalaluddin captures Delhi and declares himself the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. He expresses his worry about the invading Mongols to his court. Alauddin is permitted to repel them upon his request and is successful. But later he undertakes an unsanctioned raid on Devagiri. After plundering its wealth and capturing its princess, he proceeds to Kara. Jalaluddin is confused why he didn't return to Delhi.
Jalauddin's family warns him of Alauddin's ambition of seizing his throne and he decides to put a stop to his plans by journeying to Kara under the guise of congratulating Alauddin. He along with his two ministers gifts him the slave called "Malik Kafur", who is ruthless and follows every order given. Meanwhile, Alauddin has Jalaluddin and his guards assassinated by Malik and declares himself the new Sultan of Delhi.
Padmavati journeys to Mewar with Ratan Singh and blessed by his royal priest, Raghav Chetan. Chetan is caught watching Ratan Singh and Padmavati sharing an intimate moment and is banished from the kingdom. He travels to Delhi and informs Alauddin of Padmavati's beauty to take revenge against Ratan for himself. Alauddin, who is fixated with wanting anything that is of exceptional beauty, invites the Rajputs to Delhi. His invitation is however rejected and he orders to lay siege to Chittor.
After waiting for six months and yet unsuccessful in his attempts to see Rani Padmavati, Alauddin feigns peace and is allowed to enter Chittor where he meets Ratan Singh and asks to see the queen Padmavati. The Rajputs, knowing his intentions, threaten him and tell him that he is alive only because he is a guest. Ratan Singh grants Alauddin's request to see Padmavati, but does so only for a moment while preventing Alauddin from seeing her face.
Frustrated, he tricks Ratan to meet him before he departs for Delhi and has him taken prisoner. who demands to see Padmavati. Upon being insisted by the chief queen, she agrees. She however puts forth some conditions including that she will first meet her husband when she arrives as well as the death of Chetan, to which Alauddin agrees. After being presented with Chetan's head, she travels to Delhi to meet Khilji whose nephew meanwhile attempts to assassinate him. Alauddin is wounded but survives and later kills him.
While on the Sultanante's frontiers, the Rajputs plan to ambush the Khilji soldiers in the morning which is the time for namāz. Padmavati, along with Chittor's generals, Gora and Badal, free Ratan Singh, and escape with Mehrunisa's help. Ratan confronts Khliji who warns him to kill him now or he will regret it, but Ratan denies stating Rajputs don't attack the wounded. The Khilji soldiers are alerted and attack, but are ambushed by the Rajputs disguised as women. The Rajput attack is repulsed, with the ambushing Rajputs killed. In Chittor, Padmavati receives praise for saving Ratan Singh.
Alauddin imprisons Mehrunisa for helping the Rajputs and marches to Chittor. He and Ratan Singh engage in a single duel; Alauddin is nearly defeated by Ratan Singh when is shot by Kafur from behind with arrows, but berates Alauddin for fighting dishonourably before dying. The Khilji army succeeds in defeating the Rajputs and capturing Chittor, but are unable to capture the Rajput women who commit jauhar with Padmavati, preventing Alauddin from ever seeing the face of the queen he waged war over. The narrator calls it the greatest defeat of his life.
An adaptation of Malik Muhammad Jayasi's epic Padmavat (1540), Sanjay Leela Bhansali had been planning a film adaptation for a decade. He first worked on a television adaptation as an assistant editor for Shyam Benegal's television series Bharat Ek Khoj (1988), based on Jawaharlal Nehru's The Discovery of India (1946), featuring an episode about Padmavat starring Om Puri as Alauddin Khilji. In 2008, Bhansali produced an opera version in Paris, inspiring him to begin work on a film version. Padmaavat also took inspiration from other earlier adaptations of the epic, including Bengali literary adaptations from Kshirode Prasad Vidyavinode in 1906 and Abanindranath Tagore in 1909, the Tamil film Chittoor Rani Padmini (1963), and the Hindi film Maharani Padmini (1964).
Pre-production on the film began in July 2016. That same month, playback singer Shreya Ghoshal tweeted about performing a song composed by Bhansali for the film. Many media outlets speculated that Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, who played the leads in Bhansali's Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013) and Bajirao Mastani (2015), were finalised to play Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmavati in the film. In October 2016, it was announced that Bhansali would team up with Viacom 18 Motion Pictures to produce the film with Singh and Padukone along with Shahid Kapoor as Rawal Ratan Singh, playing the lead roles.
Padmaavat is the third collaboration between Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The trio had worked before in Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela (2013) and Bajirao Mastani (2015), while it is Kapoor's first film with the three. Their co-star from the previous films, Priyanka Chopra was also in consideration to play the title role. In January 2017, it was reported that Bhansali had approached Chopra for a cameo appearance in the film. However, in April 2017, Chopra denied her involvement in the film.
According to reports, no Bollywood actor was willing to take on Maharawal Ratan Singh's role. Shahrukh Khan was offered the part but felt it was not "meaty" enough and declined; failure to agree on his fee may have been a factor. Shahid Kapoor was finally cast to play Ratan Singh with an assurance of a good enough part and a hefty fee. For his role, Kapoor undertook rigorous training under trainer Samir Jaura and followed a strict diet for 40 days. He also learnt sword fighting and the basics of Mardani khel, a weapon-based martial art, and admitted that it had been one of the most physically and emotionally challenging roles of his career.
Ranveer Singh portrays the antagonist of the film, Alauddin Khilji, the first negative role of his career. Director Bhansali had given him books to read delving into the psyche of dark rulers of history such as Adolf Hitler, asserting that he had to completely forget who he was before he could play Khilji. Said a source, "Ranveer is prepping his body language, mannerisms, diction and physique. He is holed up in his Goregaon apartment and has sealed himself off from people. For many hours in the day, he transforms into Khilji working on his dialogues and diction." Singh trained under Mustafa Ahmed, who works with actor Hrithik Roshan, to get into proper shape for the role. The actor worked out twice a day for six days a week. Playing Khilji made him compare to great roles like the Joker and Alex DeLarge . For the role, Ranveer Singh spoke formal Urdu.
Jaya Bachchan recommended Aditi Rao Hydari's name to Bhansali for the role of Khilji's first wife, Mehrunisa. Bhansali casted Hydari over four other choices. She is the only member of the star cast who actually belongs to a royal lineage. "It's not a major role. When I signed on for Padmavati, I knew very well it was going to be a small part. But, Sanjay Leela Bhansali sir presents all his women so well," she said. "In Goliyon Ki Raasleela – Ram-Leela, Richa Chadha had a brief role, but she made an impact. I am sure I will leave some impact in Padmavati. No one who works with Sanjay sir comes away without benefiting from the association."
Veteran actor Raza Murad portrays Alauddin's paternal uncle and Khilji dynasty founder, Sultan Jalaluddin Khilji. Murad has earlier collaborated with Bhansali in Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela and Bajirao Mastani. Jim Sarbh portrays Malik Kafur, a prominent eunuch slave-general of Alauddin Khilji. Sarbh learned horse-riding for the role.
On 25 October 2017, a video of the first song from the film, titled Ghoomar, was released, in which a woman dressed like a queen appeared briefly. It was later revealed in a Twitter fanpage of Sanjay Leela Bhansali Productions, that the woman is Maharawal Ratan Singh's first wife, Rani Nagmati, who is portrayed by Anupriya Goenka.
Due to the costs mounted on the film by delay in the release, Box Office India declared the film's budget to be ₹215 crore (US$34 million), which makes it the third most expensive Hindi film and one of the most expensive Indian films ever made.
Delhi-based Rimple and Harpreet Narula designed Rani Padmavati's costume using traditional Gota embroidery work of Rajasthan. The border derives from the architectural details of Rajasthani palace windows and jharokhas and the odhnis have been styled in conventional ways which are still prevalent in the Mewar belt of Rajasthan. The designer duo elaborated that the costume worn by Padukone in the final scene of the film features the tree-of-life motif and twisted gota embroidery and has a Kota dupatta with block printing. Padukone's dresses were made with Sinhalese influences, as the character of Padmavati hailed from Sri Lanka.
The costumes for Shahid Kapoor were made from mulmul and cotton, with special attention given to the turbans, one of which, featuring a 28-dye lehariya, was inspired by a turban to be found at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The clothes for Ranveer Singh were based on travellers' accounts of the Turko-Persian influence on Indian clothing (Khilji was of Turko-Afghan heritage). The costumes for Aditi Rao Hydari, who plays Khilji's first wife Mehrunisa, incorporated Turkish, Afghan, Mongol and Ottoman elements to showcase Mehrunisa's Turkic origins. For both Ranveer Singh and Hydari's costumes, extensive research was done on the clothing and textiles of the Turkish belt, from Afghanistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Kazakhstan and to the Central Asian belt around Turkey.
Padukone's look for the "Ghoomar" song features intricate jewellery weighing up to 3 kg designed by Tanishq featuring a triple Borla, Mathapatti and Bajuband which are traditional ornaments worn by the Rajasthani women.
Vipul Amar and Harsheen Arora of Delhi-based design house 'The V Renaissance' designed costumes for Rawal Ratan Singh and Alauddin Khilji, employing historical techniques to create the armour such as cuirboilli, sculpting, chiselling, and inlaying. The armour took a team of forty workers eight months to prepare.
In October 2017, while the cast and crew were filming a scene in Masai Plateau, Kolhapur at night, a mob of around 20–30 people armed with petrol bombs, stones and lathis charged and set the set ablaze, injuring animals and destroying several costumes. The attacks were considered staged as they were based on the false pretext set up by Rajput groups that the film includes a dream sequence in which Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji are seen in intimate contact.
|Soundtrack album by Sanjay Leela Bhansali|
|Released||21 January 2018|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Sanjay Leela Bhansali chronology|
|Singles from Padmaavat|
The film score is composed by Sanchit Balhara while the songs are composed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. A. M. Turaz and Siddharth-Garima wrote the lyrics. The soundtrack has been released by T-Series and comprises six songs. The first song "Ghoomar", to which Padukone performs the traditional Rajasthani folk dance on a set that replicates the interior of Chittorgarh Fort, was released on 25 October 2017. The second song from the film "Ek Dil Ek Jaan", a love ballad featuring Padukone and Shahid Kapoor, was released on 11 November 2017. The rest of the soundtrack was released on 21 January 2018 which includes the other four songs: "Khalibali", "Nainowale Ne", "Holi" (Manganiyars & Langa's folk song) and "Binte Dil".
|1.||"Ghoomar"||A. M. Turaz, Swaroop Khan||Shreya Ghoshal, Swaroop Khan||4:41|
|2.||"Ek Dil Ek Jaan"||A. M. Turaz||Shivam Pathak||3:40|
|3.||"Khalibali"||A. M. Turaz||Shivam Pathak, Shail Hada||4:18|
|4.||"Nainowale Ne"||Siddharth-Garima||Neeti Mohan||2:55|
|5.||"Holi (Manganiyars & Langa's folk song)"||Traditional||Richa Sharma, Shail Hada||2:56|
|6.||"Binte Dil"||A. M. Turaz||Arijit Singh||3:12|
The film became controversial during production. There were allegations from groups such as the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, a Rajput caste organisation, claiming that the film depicts factual inaccuracies, portraying the Rajput queen Padmavati in a bad light, with activists vandalising the sets of the film. However, a sting operation conducted by an Indian news channel showed that the activists had planted the controversies in order to extort money from the filmmakers.
Muslim leaders protested against the alleged misrepresentation of Ala-ud-din Khilji. Yunus Chopdar, the Rajasthan Madarsa Board member and president of the Rajasthan Muslims Parishad, said the film puts Muslims in negative light and should be banned.
In response to vandalism of sets in January 2017, The Times of India reported, "Sufi poet Jayasi made up the story that later got legend status, so Bhansali can't be threatened for taking creative licence with the tale, say historians". Akhilesh Khandelwal, an Indian politician and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member, made a Facebook post announcing a reward for anyone who attacks the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali with a shoe. The opposition Indian National Congress (INC) condemned the post, demanding action be taken against Khandelwal for attempting to instigate an attack. Bhansali was assaulted by the Karni Sena on a film set, at attack condemned by a number of celebrities and public figures.
In March 2017, some activists of the Karni Sena broke 50-year-old mirrors installed in the Padmini Palace, that was said to have been the palace of Padmavati. The mirrors until then were shown to tourists as part of the narrative that the queen's face was revealed to Alauddin Khilji through them as part of the latter's compromise with her husband Ratan Singh. The activists deplored this claiming that mirrors did not exist during the time. In October, a rangoli of the first poster released from the film, which reportedly took 48 hours to create, was destroyed by a group of around 100 people shouting religious slogans. Action was taken by the police after Padukone expressed her anger on social media. Members of the Sena later stated that they would prevent release even if objectionable parts were cut.
Subsequently, the Karni Sena made threats of violence, reportedly threatening to burn down theatres if the film is released to audiences before it is shown to them for evaluation. Bhansali responded to the threats by reiterating that rumours of a romantic dream sequence between Padmini and Khilji were false, and that the film contains no such scene. BBC News stated that Bhansali's attempt to placate those who want the film to be banned has "fallen on deaf ears among those who want to 'protect the honour' of a fictitious queen."
In November 2017, Raj K. Purohit, an Indian politician and senior BJP member, called for the film to be banned. He stated: "How can a Rajput queen be shown dancing and without ghoonghat? It is against Rajput culture and pride. No community will be able to tolerate it." He said he would meet Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani to seek action against the film. Central Board of Film Certification member Arjun Gupta petitioned the Home Minister to put Bhansali on trial for treason. The Karni Sena held protests, supported by politicians in the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).
Threats were also directed at Bhansali and lead actress Deepika Padukone, and it was reported that riot police might be deployed at Indian cinemas upon the film's release. The Karni Sena threatened to violently assault and mutilate Padukone, which the Mumbai Police responded to by giving her special security. Bharat Kshatriya Samaj, another caste organisation, made death threats against Bhansali and Padukone, putting a ₹50 million (US$780,000) bounty on their heads. The Haryana BJP's media chief Suraj Pal Amu put a ₹100 million (US$1.6 million) bounty on the heads of both Padukone and Bhansali. Amu also made threats against Ranveer Singh, who plays the Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji, threatening to break Singh's legs.
On 24 November 2017, a dead body was found hanging in Nahargarh Fort, with a sentence scribbled on a nearby rock wall stating in Hindi, "Padmavati ka virodh" (in opposition to Padmavati). The graffiti also included a warning, "We don't just burn effigies, we hang them." NDTV reported, "The police say it's not clear if this is a case of suicide or murder." The death, initially thought to have been committed against the release of Padmaavat, was later found to have been an attempt, by appearing to be a murder committed by Muslims in support of Padmaavat, to incite communal riots between Hindus and Muslims. On 26 November 2017, the body was identified to be that of a local businessman. The post mortem report revealed that the man died due to hanging.
In November 2017, in the midst of the controversy preceding the film's release, the makers received support from the film community. Bodies such as Indian Film & Television Directors' Association, Cine & TV Artists Association, Western India Cinematographers' Association, Association of Cine & Television Art Directors & Costume Designers questioned the Indian government's silence over threats to the makers from the Rajput groups. Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra called the incidents "an assault on creative freedom". They termed the hostility towards Bhansali and the makers "akin to abusing the film fraternity". The makers also received support from eminent personalities such as Salman Khan, Ruby Rose, Shraddha Kapoor, Karan Johar, Javed Akhtar, Swara Bhaskar, Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu, Gauri Shinde, Hansal Mehta, Varun Dhawan, Sonam Kapoor, Twinkle Khanna, Arjun Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Shekhar Kapur, Kapil Sharma, Manushi Chhillar, Nana Patekar, Juhi Chawla, Anand L. Rai, Esha Gupta, Raveena Tandon LK Advani, Kriti Sanon, Yami Gautam, Sonakshi Sinha, Kangana Ranaut, Hrithik Roshan, Richa Chadda, Kamal Haasan, Rishi Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Shyam Benegal, Pahlaj Nihalani, Shabana Azmi and Priyanka Chopra. There were calls to boycott the 48th International Film Festival of India from actors of the Indian film industry in support of the film. Media outlets labelled the film as "India's most controversial" at that point.
The major political parties across India took conflicting stands. While several members and leaders of the centre-ruled BJP called for an outright ban on the film, the Rajasthan State unit of the party and that of the Indian National Congress (INC) adopted a stance in favour of the Rajput community, demanding ban on the film if it distorts history. The Economic Times attributed this stance to the State elections due to be held the following year, and their attempts to not offend the said majority community. Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, alleged the film of distortion of history and said "protestors against the film are right". Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) condemned the protests. Mamata Banerjee of the All India Trinamool Congress shared similar views and claimed the prevalence of "super emergency" in the country and called the controversy a "calculated plan of a political party to destroy the freedom to express ourselves." The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena gave its support to the makers tacitly and said that the party would take a stance upon watching the film. Ajmer Sharif Dargah's Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan also urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban the release of the film, likening Bhansali to Rushdie, Taslima Nasreen and Tareq Fatah, authors who supposedly hurt the sentiments of Muslims. Sanjay Leela Bhansali kept mum on receiving death threats until he revealed them to the media expressing his struggle to keep himself strong and keep on fighting.
The controversies surrounding the film re-opened the question of film censorship in India and the country's freedom of expression. Amid resentments from political leaders and caste groups calling to stop the film's release, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition for the same, and called freedom of speech and expression "sacrosanct" and that it "should not be ordinarily interfered with". In support of the film, the Indian Film and Television Directors Association (IFTDA) and 20 other film industry bodies planned a 15-minute blackout on 26 November 2017.
On 20 November, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said "The film which distorts facts and disrespects 'Rashta Mata' Padmavati will not be allowed to screen in any part of Madhya Pradesh." Following this, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Amarinder Singh, announced that he would not allow the film to be released in his state. However, Singh was later quoted saying on 10 December, "Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Padmavati, which is mired in a major controversy, will not be barred from screening in my state." The Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje, stated that the film will not be screened in the state until the changes to the storyline suggested by her in a letter to the Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani are incorporated. The Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh also demanded removal of "controversial portions" to allow screening of the film in that state. Mamta Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal supported the film's release and was quoted saying, "If they cannot release it in any other state, we will give special arrangement for Padmaavat. Bengal will be very happy and Bengal will be proud to do that." Amu responded by threatening to cut off Banerjee's nose, comparing her to the Hindu demoness Surpanakha. Vijay Rupani, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, announced that the film would not be allowed to be screened in the state as it "hurts the sentiment of Rajput community." The Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, stated that the film will not be released in the state "without amicable solution among all parties involved."
The Karni Sena changed its stance on 23 November 2017, and agreed to support the release of the film, provided that the makers screen the film to the royal family of Mewar and agreed to withdraw the protests if nothing objectionable is found in the film. Amu, who had earlier placed a bounty of ₹100 million on Padukone's head, claimed to be a fan of Padukone and called her "the nation's daughter." However, he later added that he will not compromise on "Rajput honour and sentiment." The Maharani of Jaipur Padmini intervened in the protests, stating that the film has no historical inaccuracy other then the song Ghoomar. A fan of Bhansali herself, the Rani plans to bring the Karni Sena and the filmmakers together to "chalk out a peace plan."
On 30 November 2017, Bhansali appeared before the Indian Parliament and clarified his stance, stating, "All the controversy over the film is based on rumours. I have not distorted facts. The film is based on a poem by Malik Muhammad Jayasi."
A Pakistani critic, Haroon Khalid, had disliked the portrayal of Khilji as a stereotypical evil Muslim king and Ratan Singh as the righteous Hindu king.
Several historians have criticised the protests, and described Padmavati as a mythical fictional character. Aditya Mukherjee from the Centre for Historical Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University called the protests "absurd" and said, "In the contemporary period, there is no mention of this event, no accounts of Padmavati by Amir Khusrau, a prolific writer of the era and a courtier of Alauddin Khilji. This is misuse of both fiction and history. There is no historical evidence of this Padmavati event – this story is a poet's imagination." He referred to the controversy as "manufacturing of hurt sentiments clearly with an eye on politics." Historian Irfan Habib said, "Though Alauddin Khilji had won Chittor, during that period there is no mention of any character as Padmavati in history" and noted that she was mentioned for the first time in Muhammad Jayasi's fictional epic Padmavat over two centuries after the Chittor incident. Historian Harbans Mukhia writes in The Indian Express, "Khilji defeated the Rana of Chittor in 1303 and died in 1316. No one by the name of Padmini or Padmavati existed then – or at any time – in flesh and blood resembling the story. She was born in 1540, 224 years after Khalji's death, in the pages of a book of poetry by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, resident of Jayas in Awadh, a very long way from Chittor." Social analyst Jamal Ansari stated: “Presently myths are being presented as history which is a dangerous trend.” Mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik objected to the story of Padmavati and said that it is a glamorisation and valorisation of the idea of a woman voluntarily burning herself.
A panel consisting Arvind Singh, and historians Chandramani Singh and KK Singh watched the movie and asked reservations on the content. Singh said the movie illustrated Hindus and Muslims in poor light.
The digital streaming rights of Padmaavat were sold to Amazon Prime Video for ₹2–25 crore in August 2017. Theatrical distribution rights in overseas territories were acquired by Paramount Pictures from Viacom 18 in October. It was announced that Prime Focus Limited would render the film in 3D. The CEO of Viacom 18 Motion Pictures Ajit Andhare stated that it would be the widest release for a Bollywood film in 3D. The film was initially scheduled for theatrical release on 1 December in India, but the producers announced in a statement on 19 November that they "voluntarily deferred the release date of the film", amidst growing protests.
Padmavati was initially slated for release in the United Arab Emirates on 30 November 2017 and in the United Kingdom on 1 December 2017, but, in an interview with Gulf News, the makers stated that the film would not be released in foreign territories before receiving a certificate from the CBFC. CBFC follows a strict chronological order to approve films and 'Padmavati' will seek the board's approval and the grant of a certificate. In the end of December, Central Board of Film Certification approved the film for theatrical exhibition and suggested 5 modifications to the film, which includes the addition of multiple disclaimers and amending its title to Padmaavat. The change in the title was intended to be a disclaimer that the film is not a historical drama, but a cinematic adaptation of Malik Muhammad Jayasi's epic poem Padmavat.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) passed the film with a (12A) rating and zero cuts. Following this, a Karni Sena leader went on Republic TV and threatened to burn down British theatres that screened the film. He called on his "fellow Rajput brothers" to stop the screening of the film. The BBFC responded to the Rajasthan Association's query and stated that "freedom of choice must be respected" and that filmmakers are "free to explore narratives based on historical events" and to interpret them as they wish. They also stated that there was "nothing" in the film that was "unacceptable" under the 12A category.
Post the CBFC approval with U/A certification, the film got banned by the Chief Ministers of four states Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana in order to maintain 'law and order' and avert protests in their states. Owing to which the film could potentially lose 26-28% of its market at present with the official ban in these states, without considering local orders to exhibitors in many cities especially in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh not to play the film. The Supreme Court of India over-ruled the ban, stating that freedom of speech is to be maintained and that the states have to ensure the screening of the film without any issues.
Following the controversies, the makers held a special screening of Padmaavat in November 2017 for leading Indian journalists, including Arnab Goswami and Rajat Sharma, who praised the film and described it as "the greatest tribute to Rajput pride." They also stated that the film does not contain any dream sequence or intimate scene between Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) and Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh). In fact, the actors do not share any screen space at all. Rajat Sharma particularly praised Singh's performance as Khilji.
On 30 January 2018, Malaysia became the first country to outright ban the movie. Malaysia's National Film Censorship Board (LPF) chairman Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz said in a statement that the storyline of the film itself is of grave concern as "Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country", reports variety.com. "The storyline of the film touches on the sensitivities of Islam. That in itself is a matter of grave concern in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country," Aziz said.
In the days leading up to the film's release, violent protests began breaking out across India, as well as riots. In Gujarat, for example, hundreds of suspects were arrested for rioting. There have been incidents in Haryana where mobs protesting the film's release attacked several passenger vehicles. A protest mob torched a Haryana Roadways bus, injuring several people on it. A protest mob in Haryana also attacked a school bus with teachers and children, the youngest, four years-old, with stones and sticks.
Padmaavat opened to mixed critical reviews upon release. Critics praised the visuals, and the performance of Singh, but criticised its storyline, execution, running time and the "unwanted" 3D conversion.
Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave 4.5 stars and said, "On the whole, Padmaavat is a remarkable motion picture experience that's backed by proficient direction, spellbinding screenwriting and superlative acting. For Bhansali, it's the best title on an impressive filmography." Neil Soans of The Times of India gave 4 stars and said, "The director's expertise in heightening opulence and grandeur is well-known, further distinguishable in 3D. Cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee compliments him by beautifully capturing some jaw-dropping scenery." Rachit Gupta of Filmfare gave 3.5 stars and said, "the real wonder of Padmaavat comes from its production and presentation. This film has phenomenal production design, costumes and camera work. The technical finesse on display is just mind boggling." Rajeev Masand of CNN-News18 gave 3.5 stars, praising Singh's performance, writing, "the film belongs to Ranveer Singh whose delicious performance is its biggest strength. The actor keeps you invested in the film even when it plods on for over two-and-a-half hours."
Kunal Guha of Mumbai Mirror gave 3.5 stars but criticised Padukone's and Kapoor 's performances, "Padukone, in the titular role, is a tad underwhelming. While she manages to convey a range of emotions by merely welling up, her character could've been a bit more multifarious. Shahid Kapoor, as Raja Ratan Singh is just like a portrait – and in several shots, we see him assuming a power stance and a smug expression to convey his imperial manner." Giving 3.5 stars, Sushant Mehta of India Today panned Padukone's and Kapoor's performances calling them "mediocre" while terming Singh's "unconvincing", and wrote, "Being a one-dimensional actress Deepika Padukone has done very well for herself but she doesn't possess the skill to essay such a character. Shahid and Deepika's portrayal of Raja Rawal Ratan Singh and Rani Padmavati can best be described as mediocrity covered with jewels." He added that "craft takes over content yet you don't mind this compromise as the end product is spectacular and the execution emerges as the real hero of the film."
Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave 2.5 stars and said, "Padmaavat is spectacular [to look]: no one can do spectacle like Bhansali. You can easily delight in it while the going is good. But nearly three hours of it, and looping rhetoric around what constitutes Rajput valour can and does become tiresome." Mayur Sanap of Deccan Chronicle gave 2.5 stars and said, "Bhansali makes his most courageous film yet, but sadly the results are not very impressive. The film that is a war epic, love story, and costume drama, all in one, is bogged down by mediocre execution. Much will be said about the film's daunting length, and the truth is, it could have been shorter." Suparna Sharma, also of Deccan Chronicle gave 2.5 stars and said, "Padmaavat is offensively chauvinistic, blatantly right-wing, and quite unabashedly anti-Muslim.
Raja Sen of NDTV India gave 1.5 stars and said, "Bhansali takes an unbearable length of time to spark the flame. Things go on and on and on, with characters it is impossible to care about. They may appear attractive from time to time, certainly, but these protagonists are inconsistent, infuriating and test the patience."
Rediff.com also gave 1.5 stars calling it "superficial" and wrote "Deepika Padukone gets an absolute raw deal as the Queen; her performance is submissively overwrought, blandly weighted, and her speeches combined with the leisureliness of the narrative's pacing, can put you in a stupor. Worst of all, you will be driven by the suspicion if Padukone even does enough to deserve the movie's title. Namrata Joshi of The Hindu gave a negative review noting the film is "a yawn fest" and "an interminable expanse of unadulterated dullness." She also criticised the 3D conversion writing "The opulence doesn't seem as awe-inspiring, the special effects, especially in some of the battle scenes, are plain tacky and the actors seem like cardboard dolls of themselves in the long shots, acquiring a human visage only in extreme". Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost criticised the film giving 1 star out of 5 writing "Padmaavat is a perfect example of a Hindi film couching its extreme prejudices in grandiloquence and tacky clichés, with those clichés embedded in resplendent frames."
Mike McCahill of The Guardian gave 4 stars and said, "It's not just the extravagance that catches the eye, but the precision with which it's applied. Every twirl of every sari and every arrow in every battle appears to have been guided by the hands of angels. Such excess could have proved deadening, but dynamic deployment of old-school star power keeps almost all its scenes alive with internal tensions." Shilpa Jamkhandikar published a mixed review in Reuters, who noted, "But unlike Bhansali's earlier films, where he was able to find emotional depth even in opulent historical romances, this one falls short". But she praised Ranveer Singh's performance as Khilji. Manjusha Radhakrishnan of Gulf News opined that the quality of the work was lower than that in other Bhansali films. Sadaf Haider of DAWN Images said that the film is "a flawed history lesson", however, she praised the film visual, music and most of the act. Rahul Aijaz of The Express Tribune rated 4.5 out of 5 stars; he too praised the film and said that it "doesn't set up false expectations and then disappoint" due to "perfect storytelling", and "memorable performances".
Due to the numerous controversies associated with Padmaavat before its release which resulted in banning the film in certain states, the film's commercial performance was highly unpredictable. The film was released in only 70% of places in India. However, despite limited screenings, the film earned an estimated ₹5 crore (US$780,000) in Wednesday paid previews. The following day, the film opened nationwide across 4,800 screens of which over 500 screens were shown in Tamil and Telegu. It earned an estimated ₹19 crore (US$3.0 million) nett on its opening day in India, excluding previews, which was considered impressive despite its ban in numerous big states and marked a career best opening for Ranveer Singh, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Shahid Kapoor and fourth biggest for Padukone (behind Happy New Year, Chennai Express and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani). On Friday, the film added another ₹32 crore (US$5.0 million), owing to national holiday on Republic Day. This was followed by a gradual fall on Saturday taking in another ₹27 crore (US$4.2 million). Through Sunday, the film delivered an opening weekend of ₹114 crore (US$18 million) and became the fourteenth film to enter the 100 crore club in just under 4 days. Furthermore, it broke the record for the biggest IMAX opening in India with US$461,000 from 12 screens. However, due to its limited screenings, the film nevertheless lost over ₹35 crore (US$5.5 million) in box office receipts during its opening weekend.
Outside India, the film broke all-time opening day records in Australia (A$367,984), surpassing the likes of Dangal and the dubbed-Hindi version of Baahubali: The Conclusion. One of the reason behind the film's successful run in the country was because Paramount (the overseas distributing company) was able to secure release in all three major theatre chains (Hoyts, Event Cinemas and Village Cinemas) unlike other Bollywood films which have to choose between the two latter. In the United States and Canada, the film grossed $1.13 million on its opening day. This was followed by the biggest ever single-day for a Hindi film with $1.8 million on Saturday, breaking the previous record held by PK ($1.41 million). Although Baahubali: The Conclusion still holds the record for all Indian films, that is inclusive of three different languages. It went on to set a new opening weekend record for a Hindi film with $4.2 million, and witnessed the second best per-theatre-average inside the top 10 with $13,188 from 324 theatres. As of 6 February 2018, the film has crossed ₹4 billion (US$62 million) worldwide, making it one of the top 10 highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time, and the highest ever for a Bollywood film not starring one of the three Khans. The film entered the 2 billion club domestically, making Ranveer Singh, at age 32, the youngest leading male actor to do so.
The film collected ₹525 crore worldwide including domestic ₹275 crore till the fourth weekend of its run.
The film is an adaptation of the epic poem Padmavat written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540. The poem is a fictionalised account of Alauddin Khilji's 1303 siege of Chittorgarh in Rajputana (present-day Rajasthan). According to Padmavat, Alauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, laid siege to Chittor Fort motivated by his desire to capture Queen Padmini (called Padmavati in the film), the beautiful wife of King Ratan Sen (called Ratan Singh in the film), the Rajput ruler of Mewar. After Khilji successfully besieged Ratan Singh's capital Chittor, Padmavati committed jauhar (the Rajput custom of self-immolation) to protect her honour from the Muslim ruler.
Although Ratan Singh (identified with Ratnasimha) and Alauddin Khilji are actual historical figures, Padmavati has largely been described as a fictional character by historians. Khilji did attack Chittor in 1303 and conquered the fort, but he did not wish to capture Ratnasimha's wife. He attacked Chittor due it's strategic importance in conquering the rest of Rajputana and not because of Ratnasimha's wife. Historians of Khilji's period did not make any reference to a "Queen" of Chittor while mentioning the conquest of the fort. The poem Padmavat, which was written 200 years after the incident, ends with Jayasi's own words, "I have made up the story and related it."
Historian Rana Safvi criticised the film and said, "Bhansali was faithful to neither history, geography nor the epic [Padmavat] on which he based his film." According to Safvi, portrayal of the Khilji rulers in the film is historically inaccurate. Before their ascension to the throne, Jalaluddin and Alauddin Khilji were known as Malik Feroze and Ali Gurshasp, respectively. Jalaluddin Khilji is portrayed as an arrogant, cunning and cruel man. He was actually popular for being a mild-mannered, humble and pious ruler. Jalaluddin ascended the throne of Delhi in 1290 only to end the chaos that ensued after the death of Sultan Ghiyas ud din Balban. He was not ambitious by nature and did not lead an attack on the Delhi Sultanate in India from Ghazni, Afghanistan. In the film, the Delhi Sultanate's flag is shown in green colour with a white crescent moon. The Sultanate actually had a "green flag with a black band running vertically on the left."
The film shows an unsuccessful assassination plot by Alauddin's nephew, one which seriously injures the Sultan, but none of this actually happened. Historically, Ratan Singh (Ratnasimha) departed from the battlefield and surrendered to Khilji. The two never engaged in battle.
Alauddin Khilji's portrayal in the film has been severely criticised by historians and critics. Business Standard India wrote that Khilji was portrayed as an "Indian Khal Drogo, wearing a fur coat and gobbling meat" in the trailer of the film. Historians believe "the sultan of Delhi who successfully stopped repeated attempts by Mongols to invade India would have been one of the most sophisticated men of his times." Historian Rana Safvi explained why Khilji was sophisticated. "It was under his rule the Delhi Sultanate heavily drew from Persia, one of the oldest and most sophisticated civilizations of all time. The rulers followed the exact code of conduct and etiquette as in Persia. It would have been very formal – the eating, dining and sartorial choices." Safvi stated that Khilji was portrayed as a barbarian in the film only to show him as a villain and Ratan Singh (played by Shahid Kapoor) as a sauve and sophisticated rival. Khilji was also not a womaniser and was primarily interested in expanding his Sultanate's territory with conquests. He attacked Chittor due it's strategic importance in conquering the rest of Rajputana.
Historian Mohammed Safiullah severely criticised Khilji's portrayal and the implicit depiction of a homosexual relationship between Khilji and his slave-general Malik Kafur. "Alauddin has been thoroughly demonised, with one scene apparently showing him eating raw meat, and another scene suggesting he had homosexual relations with his slave-general Malik Kafur, whereas written history is proof that Alauddin was a highly cultured man who had a healthy relationship with his wife and children." Historian Archana Ojha of Delhi University criticised Alauddin Khilji's look and clothing in the film. Khilji (played by Ranveer Singh) wears furs in the film, but historically he used to wear cotton clothes. Ojha said that the film was "too exotic and grand."
Shantanu David of News 18 criticised the portrayal of Khilji in the film as "an intemperate, sadistic horn dog with no morals and severe impulse control issues." David asserted that people who watch the film should not expect to see the real Khilji for he was nothing like this. Khilji was cruel and a tyrant but according to David, he was "the cruel and ruthless tyrant that India needed in the 14th Century in order to fend off repeated invasions by the Mongols. Sort of like Winston Churchill in World War II." Dr. Javid Iqbal of Greater Kashmir stated that "the valorous spirit of Alauddin Khilji is historically authenticated" and that "he [Khilji] is credited with brilliance as a general, being tactful in warfare." Iqbal concluded by saying that "the filmmaker [Bhansali] has done a great disservice to the Indian society in general and to Muslims in particular by painting Alauddin Khilji in dark colours" and that "the [Indian] film censor board may stay with freedom of expression; however gross historical distortion darkening public perception needs to be checked."
Bobby Naqvi of Gulf News said, "the director [Bhansali] broke a basic rule by turning a fictional character [Padmavati] into a flesh-and-bone symbol of beauty and valour and projected a real king [Khilji] as a barbarian with a ravenous libido – a depiction neither found in Jayasi's poem nor in history books." Sonal Giani, an LGBTQ activist and actor, said, "It would help if SLB [Sanjay Leela Bhansali] had stuck to the persona of Khilji that the historians showed, and not portrayed him as a madman."
Anna M.M. Vetticad of Firstpost stated that Bhansali's aim was "to pedestalise Rajputs and demonise the Khiljis, to pander to the larger Hindu Right via Rajputs by slandering a Muslim king." She further added, "Alauddin wants a woman for himself, he is portrayed as lustful, whereas Ratan's betrayal of his first queen for Padmavati is sweet romance." Hemanth Kumar of The News Minute opined that Bhansali portrayed Khilji as "a personification of monster." Similarly, Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV said, "The Muslim ruler of half of India, Alauddin Khilji, is presented as an unprincipled brute, likened to the asuras (demons of Hindu mythology), and even Yamraj (the god of death)." Manimugdha S Sharma of The Times of India stated that Bhansali "has not done justice to Padmavat or Alauddin Khilji. That's an unfinished job for some other director in the future."
Padmaavat was banned from screening in Malaysia (a majority Muslim country) due to the negative portrayal of Khilji. The Home Ministry of the country stated, "He [Khilji] is portrayed as a Sultan who is arrogant, cruel, inhumane, devious with all kinds of trickery, unreliable and who does not fully practice Islamic teachings."
Shortly afterwards, Ratan Sen loses his life in a battle against king Deopal, who had insulted Padmini in his absence.