There have been too many problems on the sets of Padmavati. Sometimes politics mixed with history, other times, it was just destiny playing truant. Sumita Chakraborty finds out the immense feat behind mounting a grand film like Padmavati.
Every historical film in Bollywood has a ‘behind-the-scenes’ tale to say. Just like in the days of yore when the tales depicted love, hate, anger or angst, the ‘making’ of these kind of films too have its own share of emotions – whether you’re talking about the cinematic landmark film Mughal-e-Azam to the more topical Padmavati. Mughal-e-Azam took years to make simply because of the many logistic problems, and Padmavati too seems to be following in its footsteps.
Indeed, from the time renowned director Sanjay Leela Bhansali decided to start his magnum opus Padmavati, his path has been strewn with thorns.
Image credits – bollywoodlife.com
First he had a tussle with his protégé Ranveer Singh about the length and the depth of his role… If you remember Alauddin Khiljee in history was a marauder. And no hero in Bollywood likes playing a full-blown villain. Yes, grey characters are challenging according to them but not a coal black sordid villain. But Bhansali convinced his hero and the film started albeit on a snail’s pace. The shooting that took place was elaborate yet slow as the director, as everyone knows, is a perfectionist and looks into every detail with an eagle eye.
Then Bhansali, after a lot of deliberation, zeroed in on the third character, and Shahid Kapoor was finalised. Another perfectionist, he too got into his character like a second skin.
The beauteous Deepika Padukone remained the director’s first and last choice to essay the title role of Padmavati. Amazingly gorgeous, this actress is indeed perfect for the role of Rani Padmavati who was not only beautiful but also spunky.
And then the film started rolling though not very smoothly. As it is, it was a bumpy ride from the beginning and the rest of the journey became bumpier as the shooting commenced.
First during the shoot, a painter fell to his death while mounting one of the film’s grandiose sets. The untimely accidental death of one of their own caused a lot of grief amongst the unit hands. But somehow, the shooting continued.
Politics & The Film
But there were more tremors in store for the great director. At the Rajasthan shooting schedule, the Karni Sena disrupted the shoot by breaking the sets, vandalising the property and blackening the famed Bhansali’s face. Suddenly there was an ugly potpourri of history and politics. And the result was sheer pandemonium. The shooting was disrupted immediately and the stars returned to Mumbai without completing the schedule.
Of course, the incident left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth. Bollywood came together as one to condemn the attack. Most of the stars from Deepika to Rishi Kapoor tweeted condemning the incident as distasteful and wrong. Sushant Singh Rajput even went one step further – he said he’d drop the Rajput tag with his name simply because of the incident.
The Karni Sena insisted that they wanted the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali to just tell them that he would be portraying history right in Padmavati as they had heard that he was making “a love story about Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji”, which is a distortion of history. And since the director didn’t pay heed, they resorted to this violence. The director, insiders proclaimed, is a very responsible man and he wouldn’t think of distorting history. And perhaps the Karni Sena could just sit and discuss this with him instead of resorting to this kind of behaviour.
Not content with these woes, destiny had some more thorns to add to Bhansali’s cup of woes. The sets in Kolhapur too were vandalised and set on fire and again the schedule was cancelled.
Poor Bhansali however refused to give up. And still despite the many ignominies, the shootings continued.
Deepika, a perfectionist herself, was also seen visiting Rajasthan to get the feel of her character. While the other two heroes were seen getting their look right.
…Shooting a period or historic film is not a simple thing, there are a lot of details that need to be looked into. More so as history can have a lot of contradictory views so one is not very clear which view to follow and by doing so, not displease the other. But Bhansali and his legion of researchers claim that they have hit on the right note and he will stick to the right version of History.
So for all the naysayers – perhaps the exuberant Ranveer Singh may not get a chance to romance his rumoured girlfriend Deepika as History deemed it blasphemous but the show will go on. Whatever it may be, we hope for the sake of good cinema, Padmavati ends up becoming as grand as Bhansali’s other magnum opus. And also as acclaimed and perfect!