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Padmavati: What Needs To Be Said

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In one word if I were to describe what I feel about all of it – the word would have to be angry. My reasons, however, may differ from the obvious as they often tend to.

India is a land of endless history and culture, and to pin down the stories of our kings into a definitive tale, is almost entirely impossible. We have grandma-versions, text-book-versions, fiction-book-versions and folklore-versions and God knows how much we lap them all up!

As a culture, we lean back on our history more to reaffirm our belief in our roots and to gloat on being a civilisation of rich legacy, courage and values. We are okay if the t’s are crossed differently and some I’s not dotted at all, it’s when you change the punctuation that we lose our semblance!

The trouble is, for us the devil is indeed in only some of the details. We are not as particular about the level of distortion until it flips characters into being less heroic or even a degree less perfect. It’s not accuracy and factuality that we crave, it’s the ability for the characters to be a source of inspiration for entire communities that we cannot tolerate distorted.

The Hindu culture (and I use the word Hindu consciously) does not narrow down to a single God, book or story to preach to us. In fact the lines between right and wrong blur and alter with time and the then prevailing societies. What would have been blasphemy for Lord Rama to even think of doing, Lord Krishna does with flare – and believe me both are more than God for us!

As a culture, we make any human that excels in his or her times into a figure worth worshipping as a devi/devta. Do we really believe they are God? I don’t think that we should belittle the Indian intelligence by saying we do. But do we begin to pray to those qualities in them that lead them to the larger than life status? And are we now not willing to believe that there can be a single thing wrong with them otherwise? The answer is a resounding yes.

For some people that is blasphemy, and I get that. But for a huge number of people in this world – those are just stories and anecdotes that they draw strength from.

Should we be regressive and pray to Rani Sati when we boycott the concept of sati? This is not a question that has a black and white answer. I think to answer these questions, one has to first delve into understanding what this country is about, where it has emerged from and where its people are both philosophically as well as culturally.

Rani Sati is worshipped for the courage she showed at the time that she existed in. She is worshipped today, so we may embody the courage to do what it takes if things come down to fighting for our dignity! To dismiss that in a tweet by saying, “Why would we pray to a woman who embraced death over living”, and “physical abuse is not the end of the world” are great modern arguments – but one has to understand the context in which she existed, the realistic options she had – and any thinking mind would admit – she is worth admiration! I believe and hope that the ones who are worshipping her do so in the right spirit.

Padmavati’s story has many versions. But what does not change, in all of them, is her fight for dignity. Her courage. Her high sense of self-respect and her unending sense of pride in her own.

Today we build temples of a Rajnikanth or a Sachin. Then, they built temples of those brave hearts. There will come a generation, who questions the temples we build today. And there will be those that believe in them still. And quite honestly that’s okay! Its part of a thinking society and one hopes we will always remain that.

Having said that what angers me is simply the massive number of opportunists that exist around us!

A “protector” Sena that fights for the depiction of their “idol” in the correct light, but refuses to see the film first and ascertain whether there is anything objectionable.

The director/production house that cannot be given a clean chit either. One has to question whether they even want a solution or are happy with things spinning a little out of control, some people getting a bad name and the movie getting a ridiculous amount of publicity. It all makes great economic sense!
If they truly wanted a solution, why would they delay certification papers and polarize opinions even more by privately showcasing the movie to media persons?

The media today, sensationalizes everything for the sake of TRPs. Whether it is the Sena breaking a film set, the film being privately showcased or leaders giving polarizing views, right, wrong, everything is instantly tweeted so that their channel/paper/station is trending! If there are actual people whose options maybe getting swayed, so what?

Elections around the corner force every party to take a stand. One cannot openly say that the people in the movie business are doing fine, because .. well, votes. And so we polarize. We force people to take a stand. We rally. We march. When all we need to do is a handful of people sit down and talk!

What is the biggest loser in all this – the art of cinema! The 100s of talented people that gave their sweat and blood into this. And not one person gives a damn about that!

We scream about backward thinking and intolerance! The fact that a silent majority is watching this tamasha waiting for the storm to settle even when deep inside they know it is slightly ridiculous is evidence of our commitment to tolerance.

Fan emotions and they will fire up. It’s not called intolerance its called animal instinct!

Freedom of expression will never be an excuse enough to ensure these flare-ups are avoided. If the movie is pure in intention, talk it over, if it has something that puts a woman who some worship in a bad light, talk it over. If the release requires a compromise and you are willing for it, go ahead. If you are not, don’t release it in India. Find a god damn solution and move on!

What is the purpose of every Page 3 person giving strong opinions one way or another? Can they dictate the outcome?

Maybe for some who are ‘educated and mature,’ these issues are trivial, and this movie should be forced into everyone’s face for the sake of freedom of expression. For me though, a freedom of expression that interferes with someone else’s freedom of belief is not an exercise of freedom, its opportunism!

I hope that in all this, what wins is the art of cinema, the culture of our people and the valour of Padmavati. Everything else is just a trivial detail that makes great conversations over coffee!

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  1. Muskan Hada

    This post is completely BIASED. IS only cinematic character matters or their proffession? I WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU PLEASE SPEAK IF YOU KNOW BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY. THE SO CALLED “SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI” IS STILL NOT READY TO SHOW THE MOVIE TO RAJPUT ROYALS. RAJPUT COMMUNITY FIRST DEMAND WAS TO PRE-SCREENING OF THE MOVIE BEFORE MEWAR ROYALS (the descendant of rani padmini) AND THEN SHOW TO THE REST OF THE WORLD. AS FAR AS VIOLENCE CONCERNED WHY NOT SLB CONFRONT THOSE AGITATED PEOPLE? WHY HE IS NOT ANSWERING ALL THE QUESTIONS? IF HE SCARED OF CONFRONTING THEM PUBLICLY, THEN HE HAVE LIVE CHAT OPTION TOO ON HIS LAPTOP. ANSWER THEM (rajput community in the name of whom he going to make money) AND END THIS PROTEST. ACTUALLY HE IS THE MAIN CAUSE OF THIS PROTEST. AND ONE OTHER THING , EVERYONE IS SAYING THAT PLEASE DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER THEN MY ANSWER TO THIS STATEMENT IS SLB MADE A MOVIE ON PADMAVATI THROUGH HIS PREDICTION, THROUGH HIS DEPICTION. LET IF HE DISTORT THE MOVIE THEN WHAT’S THE USE OF PROTESTING AFTER THE SCREENING OF MOVIE. COMING GENERATION WILL SEE RAJPUTANA PRIDE AND CULTURE THE WAY SLB SHOWN IN PADMAVATI (which is incorrect). A film can’t change history, but it does have the potential and power to become a document and representation of a culture & state across the world. We want our state & history to be perceived exactly like it is and was.Ban on #Padmavati movie across various states reinstates the power of the honored traditions and culture of India. It also sends a powerful message to all filmmakers that they cannot make a film at the cost of distorting history and hurting sentiments of anyone. I thank you all for coming together to save our culture, heritage and opulent history.पद्मावती फ़िल्म को अगर टीवी ऐंकर्ज़ को दिखाया जा सकता है तो सामाजिक संगठनों को क्यूँ नहीं। भंसाली जी इसी तरह सभी में व्याप्त आक्रोश शांत हो सकेगा। पब्लिसिटी के लिए समाज की भावनाओं को ठेस पहुँचाना बंद करें और रानी पद्मावती से जुड़ी लोगों की भावनाओं की क़द्र करें।Artistic License doesn’t give one the license to be insensitive and irresponsible towards the legends of our history.Any deviation to history and showcasing a misleading fiction about our icon Rani Padmavati will not be allowed. For us it’s a matter of our glorious past , honour and respect FOR FULL TRUTH BEHIND THIS PROTEST CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW
    It would good for you to hear about Rani Padmini by a Rajasthani, yes I am. My home is 100 km away from the fort Chittorgarh where Rani Padmini lived.
    Rani Padmini wife of Rana Ratan Singh was queen of Chittorgarh & was very beautiful, perhaps she was the most beautiful lady created on this planet according to a poet of that time.
    At that time in Delhi, most parts of north India were ruled by Sultan Allauddin Khilaji. Almost all kings of smaller region had been accepted the legacy of Sultan except some Rajput kings in Rajasthan including Chittorgarh’s king Rana Ratan Singh.
    Once Rana Ratan Singh insulted one of his man in his court & perhaps jailed him for some days. When he got bailed, he reached to Sultan Allauddin Khilaji & told him about the beauty of Rani Padmini. Sultan got mad hearing about Padmini & wanted her in his palace as his wife.
    He was so cruel that he already had captured most of the land of Rajasthan by deceiving kings there by giving the greed of throne to some people of those kings. And after conquering states, his army killed a lot of Hindus & converted many.
    Now it was Chittorgarh’s turn. The Sultan in Delhi already made a mind to get Rani Padmini alongwith the fort. So he sent his army to attack Chittorgarh. For months his army failed to breach the fort. Then Sultan Allauddin himself came there to lead the operation with his whole army. He applied all the possible ways to set the matter but eventually he failed.
    So the Sultan sent a messenger to Rana Ratan Singh for a tempory alliance as he only wanted to see Rani Padmini once, and once it had been done , the Sultan will go back to Delhi with his army.
    However the food & water was going to finish in the fort as the battle had been going on since eight months. Rana Ratan Singh & Rani Padmini agreed to Sultan’s condition to save fort & the lives of several people.
    For this the Sultan and some of his men were allowed in fort according to alliance. Rani went to Padmini Mahal where a setup of many mirrors had been made in such a way that the image of Rani Padmini could be seen in a reservoir (pond) located in front of Padmini Mahal. Sultan saw her image there in reservoir & got purely mad at the beauty of Rani Padmini & changed his mind to go back in Delhi.
    At this place, the reflection of Padmini was shown to the Sultan :
    He came back to his army camp & sent a messenger again to the fort that he had to make some other alliance so he wanted to meet Rana Ratan Singh. Rana Ratan Singh & other Rajputs couldn’t understand the plan of Sultan & went to the Sultan’s army camp without much security. Sultan captured him & again attacked to the fort.
    In the fort when Rani came to know the news, she along with some others Rajputs made a plan to free Rana Ratan Singh. From the fort a message had been sent to sultan that Rani herself was coming to the camp for Sultan with some of her maids.
    A rajput Gora had been seated at Rani’s place wearing Rani’s costume and another one called Badal alongwith his men became maids with enough swords & other weappons.
    When the caravan reached the camp where Rana Rantan singh had been kept, rajputs came out with weapons and got out their boss. After that the whole rajput army attacked the Sultan’s army and as a result the rajputs got martyred alongwith Rana Ratan Singh.
    Rani Padmini felt) sensed the future & performed Johar ( mass self- immolation ) with 16,000 other rajput ladies & thus they committed suicide to keep themselves pure as per Hindu customs.
    The Sultan got mad & ordered to kill all the people present in the city. Almost 30,000 lives were lost that day. How cruel! How dangerous was he!
    Rani still lives in people’s memory for her sacrifice.
    She was not only beautiful but also a great lady and will be remembered for years.

    Proud to share this with you.
    for more details search CHIITOR FORT.

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