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‘Don’t mask ‘masala’ as history’ says Mewar Royal on Padmavati

The upcoming movie Padmavati is surrounded by controversies. This time its Mewar Royal commenting on the movie's theme.

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Padmavati movie shot
Padmavati movie shot. Instagram

New Delhi: The drama and debates over Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s Padmavati — the story of Rajput queen Padmini — has upset a direct descendant of the Mewar royal family. Baijiraj Trivikrama Kumari Jamwal, daughter of Mahendra Singh Mewar — the 76th Maharana of the Mewar dynasty and a former Lok Sabha member — is otherwise quietly going about her life as an English teacher at a school here.

But amidst heightened protests against Padmavati, which she has tagged an “inauthentic venture”, Trivikrama says it’s unfair that her family’s name is being dragged into generating “free publicity” for the film. “The sad part is that the film is getting free pre-release publicity and that a commercial and inauthentic venture like this is using my family’s name.

“It’s not just a question of incorrect portrayal, which is established from the trailer and the ‘Ghoomar’ song itself, but also the fact that you’re using my family’s name for the commercial pre-release publicity of your film, free of cost… And the national media is talking about it. That’s my problem,” Trivikrama told IANS in an interview here.

Bhansali’s Padmavati has been mired in controversy. The conjecture that it distorts history has led organizations like Shri Rajput Karni Sena and Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha to go up in arms against the release of the movie, while BJP leaders have been making statements and appeal to stop its release on December 1.

“That’s why I am so upset. People have political and commercial agendas. There’s nothing wrong with commercial enterprises and politics, but misusing and exploiting somebody’s pride, honor and dignity for such shallow purposes, that is where I step in and say, ‘Sorry, not acceptable’,” Trivikrama said.

The makers have maintained there is no dream romance sequence shown between the Rajput queen and invader Alauddin Khilji, as had been alleged by some. But a few political leaders and Jaipur’s former princess Diya Kumari have suggested Bhansali must show the movie to some historians prior to its release.

Trivikrama questions: “It depends on who the historians are because history is also colored. It has to be a well-represented congress of historians. He (Bhansali) should approach the most authentic voice, which is the family itself. That he hasn’t done.”

Her mother, Maharani Nirupama Kumari commented: “He has already made the film. What’s the point of showing it to historians now?”

To many, the story of Rani Padmini remains a mystery. What is the story Trivikrama has grown up with?

“If you go as a tourist to Chittorgarh Fort, you’re taken to Padmini’s Palace, and you’re shown a couple of mirrors. The tourist guide tells you about it and he points out a little pond and says she stood over there and Alauddin Khilji saw her face.

“But that is just packaging culture to sell to ignorant tourists,” she said.

Trivikrama said Rani Padmini finds a mention in “Veer Vinod”, a record book on Mewar’s history.

“It’s a historical record that shows yes she was there, she was the wife of Rawal Ratan Singh and she was only an excuse that Alauddin Khilji used to invade Chittor. The real reason was a very calculated military decision to invade,” she said.

“Padmini was not in the picture at all, except now what has been made into a tale, which is a figment of the imagination, I believe. It’s not there in history,” she said, pointing out that their family is one of the oldest families with an unbroken succession.

She estimated that there were over 30 generations between now and the first Jauhar — self-immolation led by Rani Padmini in 1303 during the siege of Chittor

What about the epic Awadhi poem Padmavati?

“Apparently, it’s a self-confessed piece of fiction. I’m ready to accept that you (Bhansali) have made a piece of fiction. But then don’t drag my family’s name into it and claim you’re the custodian of my family’s history,” asserted Trivikrama, a Ph.D. in English literature.

She said filmmakers are doing a lot in the garb of artistic license.

“Sure you have that, but then along with the artistic license, there should be artistic integrity and sensitivity,” she said, pointing out how the representation of Rani Padmini is “wrong” even in terms of dance and clothes.

“Instead of making it clear that it is Bollywood masala, you’re saying it is history and misleading and ‘miseducating’ the future generations.”(IANS)

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Bollywood Tells Stories About Love, But Also Highlights Stalking

Cinema gets a dose of creepiness in the name of love

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Image: IANS

Be it Varun Dhawan’s attempts to woo Alia Bhatt in “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”, or Akshay Kumar following Bhumi Pednekar and clicking her photographs without her consent in “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” or Shah Rukh Khan singing the famous “Tu haan kar ya na kar, tu hai meri Kiran” — Bollywood tells stories about love but also highlights stalking.

Social activist Ranjana Kumari blames cinema for creating a culture of stalking women.

“They show that initially women say ‘No’ but don’t take ‘No’ for a ‘No’. It is actually a ‘Yes’. It has been there since long. Stalking has been packaged in a romantic way,” Kumari told IANS.

“It conveys the superiority that men have over women. She, in any case, has to give in. It is a myth that is being perpetuated by creating this culture… She is still an object of his desire,” she added.

Actress Swara Bhasker, who appeared in “Raanjhanaa”, admitted that the Aanand L. Rai directorial glorified stalking.

Bollywood Actor Varun Dhawan
Varun Dhawan.

“When it came out, it got panned by feminists for glorifying stalking… For a long time, I refused to believe it and thought that it is not true… But then as time passed by, I was like, actually, maybe yes,” she said when she joined actress Kareena Kapoor Khan for an episode of her radio show.

According to psychologist Samir Parikh, films have an impact on people at some level or the other.

“When you see something being presented in a palatable manner to you, you feel it is okay to do it, so you get desensitised to it. You get disinhibited and it changes your perception of reality. People, especially youngsters and vulnerable ones, end up doing what they see their role models doing,” Parikh told IANS.

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“It is important to educate and upgrade people and give them the right support and guidance,” he said.

All is not fair in love, and it is time to put the lens on it as well. (IANS)