Rani Padmavati and Bhansali’s betrayal

Rani Padmavati

While I condemn physical attack on film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali by Rajput Karni Sena, I also condemn Bollywood’s practice of distorting history.

This is not the first time Bollywood has twisted facts under the garb of magnificent production, elaborate sets, biopics, artistic expression and freedom of expression .Invasion of history in cinema continues as most of Indian film directors happily take on historical figures or incidents labelling them as Epics. While one can understand that every artist should have creative freedom to present his creation, misrepresentation is an altogether different thing which should be discouraged.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali seems to be a habitual offender. Cinematically, Bajirao Mastani was a beautiful movie but the descendants of Peshwa dynasty were not very happy with the portrayal of iconic historical characters under the guise of cinematic liberty.

Bhansali upcoming movie Padmavati which was being shot in Jaipur has been stalled. Protestors from Rajput Karni Sena disrupted the ongoing shoot claiming Bhansali film portrays Rani Padmavati in bad light.

Alauddin Khilji, the second ruler of the Khilji dynasty reigning from 1296 to 1316 was the most powerful ruler of the dynasty. He was a tyrant with scant respect for people of other faiths and has been described as cruel and oppressive by many historians. Khilji was one of the most murderous and tyrannical invader who raped and pillaged India. Why should anyone romanticize his character. As per media reports, Film Padmavati is reportedly triangular  love story of Rani Padmavati of Chittor and Alauddin Khilji which is far from truth. Real story of Rani Padmavati is one of courage, chivalry and sacrifice exhibited by the Rajput warriors both men and women. When King Rawal Ratan Singh gave orders that the Rajputs would open the gates of the fort after a long drawn battle and depleting supplies to finish the besieging troops, on hearing his decision Rani Padmini decided that with their men folk going into the unequal struggle with the invaders, in which they were sure to perish, the women of Chittor had two choices either end their life or face dishonour at the hands of victorious enemy.

They chose to perform Jauhar, a huge pyre was lit and all the women jumped into the flames deceiving the lustful enemy waiting outside. With their women folk dead the men of Chittor had nothing to live for and thus they charged out of the fort fought in furiously with the vast powerful enemy till all of them perished. Khilji and his troops entered the fort only to witness ashes and burnt bones of women whose honour they were going to violate to satisfy their lust.

Rani Padmavati is immortal her valour is etched in our memory, her courage serenaded,.How fair is it of Bhansali to damage such a beautiful saga of love and valour for sake of entertainment. Its true history is mysterious, at times mythical but factual details cannot be manipulated according to one’s whims and fancies

While Bollywood has expressed solidarity with Bhansali, Anurag kashyap has gone too far with his condemnation.

Physical violence has no place in democracy but Kashyap’s branding one far off incident as Hindu Terrorism is totally uncalled for. Same Kashyap who refused to take a stand against Islamic fundamentalists during Zaira Wasim episode is labelling one incident of slapping Bhansali by a group of people as an act of Hindu terror is nothing but trivializing “TERRORISM”.

If filmmakers can’t stay true to History then they should at least use a different title for such films and not advertise them as historical for after viewing these movies children in particular will blindly believe history that is portrayed in the film despite its factual validity as films are powerful teaching tool.

While Bollywood rallies for Bhansali, cries freedom of expression is under threat, it chose to be silent when fatwa is issued against A.R. Rehman and also what disturbs most of us why only Hinduism is mocked in Bollywood to present an artistic point. In all through this film Padmavati, Bhansali has betrayed the sacrifice and valour of Rani Padmavati.

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