Unless you have been living under a rock you have heard of the movie Padmavati later renamed Padmaavat because an entire nation, including its politicians and especially it’s politicians, was obsessing over it.
Before I go further into the article here is a fun fact about the movie. This movie was one of the firsts where a woman was paid as much as an male lead in an movie and the director isn’t making a gung ho about it because he decided it is simply what the heroine is due.
Of course the director did not get a chance to highlight that as he was more worried about the fact that a generous bounty was set for the heroine’s head by senseless radical forces in the country.
And I call it an uprising. Why? Allow me to elaborate.
Why else would something as harmless as a movie elicit such a harsh response from political leaders?Especially one that is sure to reach at least a billion people.
Because a movie finally dared to do the unthinkable. A story that primarily involved Kings and empires suddenly had the audacity to be told from the Queen’s perspective.
The queen who out of her loyalty to her people and her king, sacrificed her life by self immolation inspiring generations of women for centuries.
Well, how can a story possibly be about a woman’s valour? No chance!We must have misunderstood!Hence spreads rumours like wild fire that the movie is distorting history.
Don’t worry Indian men! The rumors are all about you! Rumors were about her falling love with the wrong ‘man’! Let’s cause anarchy on the streets and ban it in our theatres because rumors are that she has fallen in love with the wrong man in the movie! How dare a movie supposedly do that!This is considering the fact that no one even knew the content of the movie. Just Rumors!
However, all this seems like a deliberate camouflage for much deeper, actual questions.How dare she try to make this movie about her?! How dare a a director think that a commercial movie could respect a woman, give her her due both in a Bollywood movie and in ‘his’tory and think he can escape without repercussions!
I don’t know if this is is a publicity stunt gone bad or simply rotten politics.
Movies portraying women have come before and will come after.But those have always been watched and pushed around and tolerated as they didn’t attempt anything strong. They stories were novel, sometimes cute even and the themes were generic hardships of women. Sure. Play in the theatres. Get all the sympathy you want. Get out.
But try to put a perspective to our history and we will destroy you.
Think Sita of the Ramayana. The silent damsel in distress in one of the most popular stories of Hindu Mythology.What would you do if a movie was made from her perspective. Silence it of course! What job does Sita have being heard?
Only uprisings need be to be squashed.
Only a movie where a woman demands due praise for her act of valour need be squashed.
There have been many before and there will be many after. But show me one on a scale this large . Hence it’s relevance. Padmavati is our Wonder woman. Padmaavat is her story and through her, the story of millions of women who were never praised for their valour.Not pitied, not despised, not sympathised with.
And it will be the first of many.