Padmavat

Posted by Kapil Tamang
January 28, 2018

Padmavat became news sensation which broke riots in many places of our country. Obviously a bit of curiosity was there to watch the film. Today I got the chance to watch it and to be honest I was utterly disappointed. I don’t know why these Karni Senas are making fuss about? It must be politically motivated or whatever I don’t want to talk about it here. Here I just want to write about the film. What I found disappointing was firstly the potrayal of Alauddin Khalji. He was an emporer he must have had ruler’s etiquette and was certainly not barbaric and savage like it has been portrait in the film. This is Hegemonic Upper caste Hindu stereotype version that whoever fought against them were savage and barbaric be it Bahubali or Padmavat. Secondly the glorification of Juhar/Sati. Ultimately it is about protecting the pride of women. I know the context was different from today(13th century) but what’s the point of glorifying it in today’s cinema. I mean today when people are talking about women’s right, dignity and freedom here is a film which glorifies Sati and Honour killing ( old women, girls, pregnent women and small girls ran into fire so that they die with their pride rather than being prey *raped* by their enemies is a kind of Honour killing). All the strong character of Padmavati ended up killing herself with the permission of her husband who is the stupidest king I’ve ever seen. Who knew about Khalji and his foul character was tricked so easily by Khalji because he was too proud to be a Rajput who didn’t think about any contingency and let his kingdom and people die in vain.
While getting out of the hall I overheard a conversation between a small girl and her father where she was asking her father that the villain was a muslim right…at that time I realized that how movies and stories create mass consensus about people and things. Although the film set and the choreography was brilliant the film as a whole was too binary. The fight between good vs evil, right vs wrong which should not be what atleast today’s films should be about. Atleast we have come so far to defy these binaries and start presenting and rewriting history in a different way. Padmavat was usual stuff with expensive set and nothing more.