Padmavati is an Indian epic period drama film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The film features Deepika Padukone in the title role as Rani Padmavati, alongside Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji, with Aditi Rao Hydari and Jim Sarbh in supporting roles. Based on the epic poem Padmavat (1540) by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, the film narrates the story of Padmavati, a legendary Rajput queen. Initially scheduled for 1 December 2017, the film's release has been delayed indefinitely because of numerous controversies. As of 3 December 2017, It is pending approval by Central Board of Film Certification. On 8 December 2017, it was revealed that the film is tentatively scheduled for international release on 9 February 2018 in the United States and Canada.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sanjay Leela Bhansali|
|Screenplay by||Sanjay Leela Bhansali|
by Malik Muhammad Jayasi
|Music by||Background score:
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
|Edited by||Jayant Jadhar
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
|Distributed by||Viacom 18 Motion Pictures (India)
Paramount Pictures (International)
The film is based on the legend of Padmavati, a legendary Hindu Rajput queen, mentioned in Padmavat, an Awadhi language epic poem written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540. According to Padmavat, she was the wife of Ratan Sen (called Rawal Ratan Singh in later legends), the Rajput ruler of Mewar. In 1303, Alauddin Khilji, the Muslim Turko-Afghan ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, laid siege to the Chittor Fort in Rajputana. According to Padmavat, Khilji led the invasion motivated by his desire to capture Padmavati. The men of the city stormed out in a final mortal sally to kill as many of the enemy before falling. Padmavati is said to have committed jauhar (self-immolation) along with all the other women of the city to protect their honour and to avoid being captured by Khilji.
An adaptation of Malik Muhammad Jayasi's epic Padmavat (1540), Sanjay Leela Bhansali had been 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. Padmavati 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 finalized 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.
Padmavati 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 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 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 so affected Singh's personality and behavior he had to see a psychiatrist to return to normal.
On Jaya Bachchan's recommendation, Aditi Rao Hydari was cast to play the fourth lead in the film and was paired opposite Ranveer Singh. She portrays Khilji's wife, Mehrunisa. Hydari 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 father-in-law, 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 to be first Bollywood film to exceed ₹200 crore (US$31 million) in its budget, which makes it most expensive Hindi film of all time.
Delhi-based Rimple and Harpreet Narula designed Rani Padmini’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 and special attention was 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).
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.
The film is an adaptation of the epic poem Padmavat written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540. According to Padmavat, Alauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, laid siege to Chittor Fort motivated by his desire to capture Queen Padmavati, the beautiful wife of King Ratan Sen (also known as Ratan Singh), the Rajput ruler of Mewar. After Khilji defeated Ratan Sen and successfully besieged his capital Chittor, Padmavati committed jauhar (the Hindu custom of self-immolation) to protect her honour from the Muslim ruler. Although Ratan Sen (identified with Ratnasimha) and Alauddin Khilji are actual historical figures, Padmavati's existence is not historically proven. Khilji did attack Chittor in 1303 and conquered the fort, but he did not wish to capture 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 ends with Jayasi's own words, "I have made up the story and related it."
Historians also criticised the portrayal of Alauddin Khilji as an "Indian Khal Drogo, wearing a fur coat and gobbling meat" in the trailer of the film. Business Standard India wrote that 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."
|Soundtrack album by Sanjay Leela Bhansali|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Sanjay Leela Bhansali chronology|
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. Shreya Ghoshal performs four of its songs. The soundtrack will be released by T-Series. 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.
|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|
The digital streaming rights of Padmavati were sold to Amazon Prime Video for ₹20–25 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.
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 vandalizing 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.
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. Later that month, 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. 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 BJP party.
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 organization, made death threats against Bhansali and Padukone, putting a ₹5 crore (US$780,000) bounty on their heads. The Haryana BJP's media chief Suraj Pal Amu put a ₹10 crore (US$1.6 million) bounty on the heads of both Padokone 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 Padmavati, was later found to have been an attempt, by appearing to be a murder committed by Muslims in support of Padmavati, 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.
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.
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 Hritik Roshan, Richa Chadda, Kamal Haasan, Rishi Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Shyam Benegal, Pahlaj Nihalani and Shabana Azmi. There were calls to boycott the 48th International Film Festival of India from actors of the Indian film industry in support of the film.
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 INC adopted a stance in favour of the Rajput community, stating that the makers of the film must not offend "people's sentiments". 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. 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.
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 is "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 Padmavati. 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 ₹10 crore 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 1 December 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."
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, "Khalji 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.
Following the controversies, the makers held a special screening of Padmavati 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.