I’m no film connoisseur or critic, but I know enough to understand the kind of time, effort, and planning that goes into making each and every film. As an avid film-watcher I have learned to appreciate the different aspects of world cinema and take pride in the fact that Indian cinema is breaking several barriers and scaling new heights, redefining standards for the Indian audience. While I strongly believe that films should embrace social responsibility, I would like for us to also remember that every film is a form of art, which when restricted too much, will distort the creator’s original vision.
This is what seems to have happened with Padmaavat! So many protests surrounding a film which deserves much more appreciation than it has received. There are hundreds of reviews on the film everywhere. So let me make it clear. This is not a review. I’m just listing out a few things that left a lasting impression on me:
The sheer visual grandeur which is the signature feature of any Bhansali film- the sets, costumes, makeup, lighting, and every single thing you name on screen is a visual treat, so carefully rendered that every frame looks like an artist’s painting on canvas.
Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone- they seem to outdo themselves every single time. Playing a villainous role is not easy, and Ranveer does it like nobody’s business. His fierce demeanour and repulsive behaviour add so much to the character that even though he is portrayed in a negative role, he completely wins us over with his matchless performance.
I can’t really imagine anyone in the role of Rani Padmavati other than Deepika. Her impeccable beauty and valour come across so flawlessly. The strength of her character makes us feel proud to be women. And I know this is quite the opposite of what Swara Bhaskar said in her open letter to Bhansali…but the truth is, I did not, at any point in the film, feel the way she claims to have felt. There was no glorification of sati or jauhar whatsoever. It was merely a portrayal of how the women of that time period made a decision to protect their dignity which they considered more valuable than their lives. And this does not have to be equated to crime against women in the current day scenario, which, I think is an important issue that has to be addressed at many levels, but on a different platform.
Most of all, the music and songs of the film are a class apart. Be it the Ghoomar song or Binte Dil, it makes even a poor dancer like me want to try.
I watched the movie with a couple of friends and we decided to leave behind all the feminist views and questions about the film’s accuracy in terms of history- or the lack of it, and just watch it for what it is…and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
The movie is said to have undergone multiple cuts and changes following the censor board’s order…makes me think we missed out on some part of Bhansali’s beautiful painting. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see the complete fruit of his imagination. WhiIe I still can’t wrap my head around what the hue and cry was all about, I’m sincerely hoping that some day people will keep controversies aside and appreciate a good film for its pure artistic value.