Padmaavat off to a superb start | Sunday Observer

Padmaavat off to a superb start

I sat glued to my seat for nearly three hours at the Majestic Cinema, Colombo, but I didn’t feel the time passing. Then I realized that I had been watching the Hindi blockbuster Padmaavat!

The opening scene was fantastic. Padmavathi, brilliantly played by Deepika Padukone, chases a deer with a bow and arrows. She shoots a few arrows at the fleeting deer but misses her target. She runs through the dense jungle like a nymph and thanks to 3D technology, the audience saw the beautiful actress almost alive before them. The scene was exotic and memorable. Deepika adds lustre to the film with her tall and well-proportioned figure with a glowing complexion.

It is during the deer hunt she comes face to face with Maharawal Ratan Singh, the ruler of Mewar. The Indian king comes to Sihala Desh to obtain pearls for his queen. However, when he sees Padmavathi he forgets his mission. It was love at first sight! He falls head over heels in love with Padmavathi. Shahid Kapoor who plays the role of Ratan Singh adds another feather to his cap with his brilliant performance.

The romantic scenes between Ratan Singh and Padmavathi have been filmed with great care without offending the sensibilities of the audience. They will remain in the collective memory of filmgoers for many more years to come.

The villain in the story is Alauddin Khilji, ably played by Ranveer Singh. Khilji is a voluptuous Sultan who has an unquenchable greed for sex and power. When he hears of Padmavathi’s beauty he decides to possess her by hook or by crook. However, precious things are hard to get in the world. So, Khilji is forced to bide his time for the opportune moment.

In the first instance, Khilji lays siege to the impregnable fortress of Mewar. However, he fails to defeat Ratan Singh’s forces and is forced to beat a retreat. Khilji is not a man who would give up his ambition easily. He tries a different strategy and enters the fort as a visitor. He keeps the army in hiding. He expresses his eagerness to see Padmavathi. But he gets only a passing glimpse of her from a distance. Even that was enough tosatisfy his carnal desires. The film revolves round Ratan Singh, Padmavathi and Khilji. There is another character who is Khilji’s confidant. The role is played by Malik Kafoor.

According to an Indian entrepreneur, Nagalingam Kumarakuruparan, Khilji’s confidante was a warrior who ransacked Madurai, the capital of the Pandya kingdom. He looted the famous Meenakshi Temple. However, he was assassinated in a palace coup. Khilji also abducted a princess from the Devagiri kingdom. These facts show their callousness.

The producer seems to have spent a colossal sum for the breathtaking costumes which depict the Indian culture. The war scenes forced the audience to sit on the edges of their seats.

They were so exciting and frightening. Even the Sati puja in which Padmavathi and other women in the palace sacrifice their lives to the raging fire has been filmed with utmost care. The songs and choreography are exceptionally brilliant.

According to reports coming from India, Padmaavat is off to a superb start. It has already crossed the Indian Rs 50 crore-mark in three days of its release. In a week’s time, it is expected to cross Indian Rs 100 crore. Even in Sri Lanka the film has attracted a large number of people.

Rachel Saltz, a film critic, has slammed Padmaavat in the New York Times. According to him, “There is more drama around the film than what we see on screen.” He also says, “Sanjay Leela Bhansali was slapped on set and his hair was pulled. The lead actress Deepika Padukone was threatened with beheading or having her nose cut off.”

Unfortunately, Saltz seems to be on the wrong track when it comes to film reviewing. A film reviewer should not take into account what happens behind the scene. Such accounts are meant for gossip columnists.

Many film critics in the West do not seem to appreciate the artistic value of Indian films. This is because they always see half-naked women in Western movies. If Deepika Padukone had acted wearing a bikini, they would have praised Padmaavat!

The few songs I listened to still ring in my ears. The beautiful scene in which Padmavathi runs after a deer is sketched in my mind. Coming out of the cinema hall, I bring a host of memories of Padmaavat. What more can you expect from a film?

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