Friday, 9 February 2018

Padmaavat Movie Review



Before we talk about the movie let us establish that this is a romance and not a period drama. Using that logic Bhansali would be free to make the movie as he pleased and historical accuracy would not be a priority which is a choice he gets to make as a director. And he will not be the first one to take this liberty either, K Asif's classic Mughal-e-Azam was more or less fictional as there are no historical records of any Anarkali although Salim's character is loosely based on Emperor Jehangir.

If we assume it's a romance it will still be reviewed for the merit of its plot. We all know what to expect from Bhansali's movies, grandeur and resplendence. Still if you are wondering how the movie deviates from history, here you go!


These are the historical inaccuracies in the movie Padmaavat:



1) It is true that there was a real Allaudin Khilji who attacked the king of Chittore. The real king was called RatnaSimha not Ratansen. However, there is no record of there being a queen called Padmavati or Padmini. Khilji much like other powerful kings of his time was an usurper with the ambitions of being known as the second Alexander. His interest in Chittore was acquiring a powerful kingdom as he was more keen on expanding his kingdom more than pursuing any romance. It is true that he had the largest harem of his time, but these kings had no idea of romance similar to our times and considered their conquests of women, no different than the conquest of land.

2) The movie draws the story from a 15th century poem written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi. The poem was written 150 years after the event. No erstwhile historians, such as Allaudin Khilji's court poet and family historian, Amir Khusrow, or any other biographers make reference of any queen called Padmini.



3) Allaudin Khilji's appearance is not accurately portrayed. Above is how he would have actually looked. As many followers of Game of Thrones series have pointed out he looked more like a character from the series.

4) Although the movie portrays the Mughals more accurately.



In fact, this is the issue with the portrayals of most historical characters. For instance Bollywood continues to portray all Mughal characters as having the "Aryan" or Irani features, this includes portrayal of King Akbar. In reality Mughals hail from Mongolia situated above China and may have looked like this. Although it is true that the Mughals captured Persia and married among the locals, contemporary painters have portrayed King Akbar as having Mongolian features.

3) Portrayal of Malik Kafur. Historians have described Malik Kafur to be either a Hindu convert or an African. But the movie portrays Malik Kafur as an Irani. Although Jim Sarbh can be called an excellent casting choice who deftly portrays the character's sexuality. Even the so-called relation between the king and Malik Kafur has been portrayed more as an undercurrent rather than for any sensuality or much less scandal.

Since Padmavati was a fictional character Deepika was free to portray the role as she wished. Also rememebering the point that Swara Bhaskar wished to make that she found the idea of glamourising a custom like Jauhar ridiculous, I understand what she is trying to say, although this is a movie about the time with a very definite end. We cannot pressure the past with our modern expectations. But what we can do is not glorify them in a country that is still strugging between tradition and real life ethics.

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