FEMINISM AND SELF-IMMOLATION: PADMAVAAT, A BOLLYWOOD MOVIE YOU NEED TO WATCH

Taster of Plot:

The love story of Padmavati and Ratan Singh begins when Padmavati accidentally wounds him while she is hunting in the forest. He is brought to Padmavati’s palace where he is taken care of by her. Soon, the two fall in love and get married.

They travel together back to Mewar (the location of Ratan’s palace) and are blessed by the royal Priest, Raghav Chetan. But, enchanted by the beauty of Padmavati, Chetan hides near the bedroom of the newly-wed couple, in an attempt to see them while they are intimate; however, he is not able to do this as he is soon found out and then banished from the kingdom!

Angry and insulted, Chetan travels to Delhi where he meets Sultan Alauddin Khilji to tell him about the beauty of Padmavati. He persuades him that if he can make Padmavati his wife, he will be forever powerful. Alauddin, now wrapped in greed and lust for Padmavati and for power, begins his conquest of taking Padmavati away from the Mewar Kingdom, and make her his.

But what awaits Alauddin, unfortunately for him, is a woman not only of great beauty but also of great strength, intellect and courage. Even when he takes away Ratan from her, Padmavati’s strength only increases as she fights to not only save the kingdom but specifically, the dignity of the women of the kingdom.

 

Stand-out qualities:

The reason why I have decided to do a review of this movie is for two main reasons:

  • The cinematography and music

While music is the fundamental make-up of Bollywood movies, the cinematography, along with the songs and dance performances, adds to the grandeur of Mewar life, and accentuates the evilness of Alauddin and his followers.

  • The figure of Padmavati

While I think that the way Muslims are portrayed in this movie as filthy, immoral beings vs. the great, respectful Hindus is a tad problematic (which has been discussed by a few critics online), the main reason as to why I decided to do a review of this movie is because of Padmavati herself.

For me Padmavati is a strong, feminist figure; her bravery and intellect throughout the film is inspiring, and the final scene of Jauhar (the self-immolation of women to avoid rape and capture by invaders) gives me goose-bumps every time I watch it.

You would expect the mass self-immolation of women due to the defeat of their soldiers in war to be pretty horrific, and anti-feminist, right? But while this is a horrific act, due to the fact of it being burning one’s body, it is also an act of defence, strength and even, empowerment.

I personally think the final Jauhar scene is a fantastic ending to the movie. Of course, I have no understanding of the ritual of Jauhar, but just the feeling of women taking power over their lives and bodies in this final scene brings a chill to the bones- it makes your heart beat faster, and it makes you think.

Link to trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_5_BLt76c0

Padmaavat (2018)

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Main Cast: Deepika Padukone (Padmavati)

Shahid Kapoor (Maharawal Ratan Singh)

Ranveer Singh (Sultan Alauddin Khilji)

Aditi Rao Hydari (Mehrunissa)

Jim Sarbh (Malik Kafur)

Genre: History, Romance

Duration: 164 minutes

One Comment

  1. WR says:

    AMAZING REVIEW! LOVED THE MOVIE AND AGREED WITH YOUR POINTS!

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