Just days after actress Swara Bhasker’s open letter to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali went viral, actors of “Padmaavat”, Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor, have asked for the film to be seen in the context of the historical period it is set in.
Bhaskar’s intensely-worded letter makes a case against the film, arguing that it honours Jauhar and Sati, acts that denied women their basic right to life. Deepika spoke to DNA, emphasising that “Padmaavat” doesn’t ‘endorse Jauhar.’ While Shahid said to PTI that “every practice happens for various reasons.” He further clarified it by claiming that the Jauhar should be seen keeping in mind that motives of the central character in it – Rani Padmavati, played by Deepika. Shahid plays the role of her husband Maharawal Ratan Singh.
Deepika Padukone said to DNA, “Let me put things in perspective. We are not endorsing Jauhar. You must see the scene/practice in context to the period in which it was shown. And when you do that, you will realise, it’s so powerful. You do not feel like she is doing anything wrong. You want her to embrace the flames because she is going to be united with the man she loves.”
Shahid Kapoor defended the film by saying, “What happened right before the jauhar scene? The king died. How can it be a celebration when the king has died? Every practice happens for various reasons. Within this film, Padmavati believed she would want to go into the fire as opposed to handing herself over to a man who is so evil, that he is ready to kill the entire kingdom to achieve one woman. Now you decide whether that’s a good thing or a bad.”
Swara Bhasker’s opinionated letter received positive and negative views. Several had criticised her for the use of the word ‘vagina’ in the title of her open letter where she explains how she felt “reduced to a vagina” after watching the film. Reacting to this, Bhaskar said to news agency ANI, “I didn’t expect so much chaos just because I used a word which starts with ‘V'”.
Though, neither Deepika Padukone, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali or actor Ranveer Singh commented directly on the open letter, Shahid Kapoor said to news agency IANS, “I haven’t read it yet. We have been busy with other things, but I think this isn’t the right time. It has been a tough battle for us to be able to bring forth the film to the audience. It feels great to receive support from the entire industry but it feels odd that someone said something on a personal level.”
“Padmaavat” which was released last week after amidst protests, is performing well at the box office, with Rs. 129 crore at last count.