5 Times Padmavati Was Depicted On-Screen Before ‘Padmaavat’, Without Any Controversy

Posted by Abhishek Jha in Culture-Vulture
January 25, 2018

Despite the Supreme Court refusing to change its order asking states to provide security for screening of “Padmaavat”, the Rajput Karni Sena is refusing to budge. In a press conference in Jaipur on Wednesday, Karni Sena Chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi lashed out at theatres looking to screen the film. “We will impose the curfew,” he said.

Meanwhile, violent protests have been reported from a number of places in the country. Protesters torched a bus at Gurugram’s Sohna Road, vandalised a theatre in Jammu, pelted stones at a Meerut mall among other places.

For the semi-historical story, the drama is unprecedented. Not only has it been re-told a number of times in literature, it has also made it to the big and small screen without much fuss earlier. Interestingly, the Shri Rajput Karni Sena was formed only in 2006, after which it protested against Jodhaa Akbar (2008) and Veer (2010).  The Lokendra Singh Kalvi faction of the Sena, which is currently protesting against "Padmaavat", came into existence only in 2010. Here are the five times then the story of Rani Padmini was adapted for the screen without seeing any violent protests.

1. Kamonar Agun/Flames of Flesh (1930)

Debaki Kumar Bose, a recipient of the State Awards for Films among others, debuted with this silent film on the story of Rani Padmini. Not unusual for the time when it was made, it is also said to have been ‘full of nationalistic fervour’.

2. Chitoor Rani Padmini (1963)

Poster for Chittoor Rani Padmini
Poster for Chittoor Rani Padmini. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Directed by Chithrapu Narayanamurthi, another recipient of State Awards for Films, this Tamil film had a star-studded cast, not unlike Bhansali’s Padmaavat. Vyjayanthimala played Rani Padmini, Sivaji Ganesan played her husband the Rana of Chitoor, and MN Nambiar played Alauddin Khilji. The film tanked at the box office, apparently due to dance sequence by the Queen, but the film doesn’t seem to have faced any other hassle.

3. Maharani Padmini (1964)

The Rajasthan government gave the filmmakers “full facilities and commendable cooperation during the outdoor shooting of the film”, the acknowledgment for the film says. Directed by Jashwant Jhaveri, the film had Anita Guha playing Padmini, while Jairaj and Sajjan played her husband and Khilji respectively.

4. Bharat Ek Khoj – Episode 26 (1988)

Shyam Benegal, the award winning filmmaker who headed a government committee recently to revamp the CBFC, also told the tale of the legendary queen in his television show ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’. By his own account, he doesn’t seem to have faced any flak for the particular episode.

5. Chittor Ki Rani Padmini Ka Jouhar (2009)

Produced by another award-winning filmmaker Nitin Desai, the Sony TV show was reportedly shot on the sets of Jodhaa Akbar. It didn’t see any protests. In fact, filmmakers say the show had little viewership because of our disinterest in historical dramas. It had to wrap up faster than scheduled.