Censuring A Censored Padmaavat: A Movie Review

-Prathiksha Betala, III Year B.A. English
Image Source: http://www.newsonscreen.com

You’ve read several reviews, scrolled through memes and wondered why a period film has caused bloodshed (pun unintended) all over the country.  Padmaavat, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s yet another magnum opus, deserves some discussion, debate or maybe not.


This review is purely an opinion, quite subjective in nature and fictional perhaps, just like the movie. We do not promise any authenticity and do not advocate Sati or any other ancient, dogmatic practices (such as censorship, creative license or freedom of speech) The article will also not refer to any political groups or obsolete clans such as some corny sena or the honourable Rajputs. Their bravery and valour (just like the director’s) is revered.

What worked:

  • The visuals, the background score and the costumes define an SLB production and the movie does not disappoint.
  • If the cast has to be praised, Ranveer Singh’s performance would take the crown. There isn’t a moment when he slips out of the beastly Khilji. Unpredictable. Violent. Savage.
  • Even though it turned out to be a frightened attempt, the homosexual relationship between Khilji (Ranveer Singh) and Malik Khaffur (Jim Sarbh) is dynamic and beautiful. (SLB is as brave as the Rajputs then)
  • If the posters of Khilji did not remind you of Khal Drogo (the father of Dragons!) the warfare of the Khilji definitely resonates images of the Dothraki army.
  • Aditi Hydari Rao, although in a cameo, is sensitive, brave and brilliant as Mehrunnisa, Khilji’s pitiable wife.
  • The Climax will take your breath away. Quite literally.
  • The movie does have a few magical moments like a rapid fire round between Rawal Singh’s Guru and Padmavaati, Khilji’s unpredictable moves and Senapati Badal Singh’s sensational death where he continues to fight after being beheaded!

What did not work:

  • What a blasphemy to the Sufi poet, Malik Muhammad Jayasi, whose work focusing on the love story of Maharana Rawal Singh and Padmavaati was almost a divine act. I remember reading that one glance of Padmaavati’s beauty had stopped Maharana’s heartbeat and he fell on the floor, and in love! Sadly, neither the actors nor the movie encourage any chemistry whatsoever.
  • If the movie claims to praise the Rajput valour, Maharana Rawal Singh (Shahid Kapoor) was inappropriate. The verbose, elongated, redundant dialogues were mere dialogues praising the Rajput warfare and heroism. The field was barren. Simply barren.
  • The dialogues were just a bunch of heavy words strung together (which were all shown in the trailer). The proverbs, the musicality and Marwari itself were, quite often, missing. This was especially a disappointment since Bajirao (Bajirao Mastani, SLB’s previous magnum opus) was deliciously Marathi in style and personality.
  • The purpose of the film was absent for it was neither a love story, nor about the Rajput valour. If it was about Sati, the climax should have been the entire movie.
  • Despite the film being titled “Padmavati” or “Padmaavat”, the film revolves around Alauddin Khilji.


However, watch it for Deepika’s hidden belly, Shahid Kapoor’s almost non-existent valour, and Jim Sarbh and Ranveer Singh’s truly delicious chemistry in the song ‘Binte Dil’.


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