Spoiler alert: Karni Sena bigger fools than we originally thought them to be

Exclusive, no-nonsense, all-stupid review of Padmaavat

Chennai, Jan 24: With a huge storm stationed over Padmaavat (nee Padmaavati), Crank’s News, as a responsible journalistic outlet, decided to check out the movie despite the real danger that we would have to sit through a film that has Ranveer Singh in it. Mind you, we have nothing against Ranveer Singh.  It is just that we can’t stand the fact that all girls and women we know of seem to think that Ranveer Singh is hot.

Before going to watch the film, we tried to catch up on the controversies surrounding the film. After reading copious amount on the matter, we got a clear understanding of the whole subject except that small part about what the outrage was actually over. We could not figure out what the Karni guys were upset against especially since they had not seen the film. Probably they were upset that the role of Rani Padmaavati was played by Deepika Padukone, whose character in one of her previous films (Piku), was not exactly coy about pre-marital sex? If this was the case, it made sense more than the ones that the esteemed gents at Karni Sena actually trotted out. (Padmavati’s midriff was apparently a bone of contention. It is indeed a historical fact that Rajput queens and princess’ midriff was never visible to others. They usually hid it in a large vault in the royal palace).

We caught Padmaavat in a popular cinema hall in Chennai where the airconditioner seemed to have been set to ‘mode: Antarctica’  or it was an extremely devious trick by the Karni Seva guys to freeze to death all people who turn to watch the film. Either way, it was disconcerting to watch a film set in the heat of Rajasthan desert while you personally were closer to suffering frostbite.

Right off the bat, the filmmakers run a disclaimer that the film is a work of fiction and does not amount to retelling of any history. Which was kind of surprising for us because much what we know as history in these parts is mostly fiction.

Anyway, the film is in short about Allauddin Khilji who is totally besotted by the beauty of Rani Padmavati of Chittor after seeing her in close quarters. Ha. Ha. Ha. That would have been logical. He is head-over-heels for her based on the words of Chittor’s Rajaguru. Falling in love without having seen her, in that sense Padmaavat is Kaadhal Koattai redux. We should also be not overtly too critical of love affairs in the past especially when we are living in times where people are proposing based on thumbnail profile picture on Twitter.

Allauddin Khilji, the sultan of Delhi, lands up on the outskirts of Chittor to fight Ratan Singh’s (Padmavati’s husband) army. With the enemy at the gates, the valorous Rajputs of Chittor do what is most logical in the circumstance of a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, which is to celebrate Deepavali in a grand manner that allow for gritty visuals. But Deepavali over, the Rajputs get all serious and, well, celebrate Holi in riotous colour. Seriously. This is how things transpire. But luckily before the Rajputs get ready for, we don’t know, Vasanth Panchami celebrations, Ratan Singh (played with supreme constipated stiffness by Shahid Kapoor) is captured and taken to Delhi by Allauddin.

To release Ratan Singh, Allaudin asks Padmavati to come over to Delhi. Padmavati agrees but lays down a few conditions. One of them being that she be allowed to be accompanied by 200 servants, which is still a reasonable number when you consider that top actors and actresses travel with a bigger entourage these days.

Padmavati, however, manages to free her husband Ratan Singh and takes him back to Chittor with the help of Allauddin’s wife (played by Aditi Rao Hydari). After Katru Veliyidai, this is another important outing for her. And we hope Aditi soon manages to land a film in which she is paired with a screen character who is basically not a scoundrel.

Allauddin once again comes back to Chittor. Luckily for us, it seems it was in peak June as the Rajputs have no festival around, and Ratan Singh has no other go but to fight Allaudin. Ratan Singh and Allauddi take each other on in a historical fight, historical for the fact that Ratan is in full metal regalia and Alauddin under a thick fur cap. If one of them had not taken out the other, peak desert sun would have combusted both.

After her husband’s death in the fight, Padmavati and all the other Rajput women in collective defiance, gather together, and in a show of great discipline (strict dress code: red) walk into a large fire (Jauhar) in a rivetting climax, thereby leaving Allauddin with not even a glimpse of Padmavati. In that sense, Padmaavat is Mella Thiranthathu Kathavu redux.

In terms of acting, Ranveer Singh brings to his role of the evil Allauddin Khilji a raw energy and passion that he has shown before, especially off-screen. Which is kind of discomfitting. For us. We can’t tell apart his on-screen and off-screen persona. And, at both, he is seen wearing some of the weirdest attires known to mankind. His kind of outfits, we have to suspect, is impossible to choose without mainlining heroin into your system.

Deepika Padukone as the eponymous Padmavati is the major attraction, and she stands tall in her performance, and when near Shahid Kapoor, very literally too. With that we end the quota of tasteless jokes for this piece.

As a film, Padmaavat is mostly a grand spectacle, which all Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films are, as his idea of a middle-class house is: Scottish castle. Padmaavat doesn’t quite come together as a film.  Which is sad when you realise that  Karni Sena, on the other hand, has managed to come together against the film.

But it is its protests that have brought extra interest on the film. That makes us to ask the question: Is Karni Sena a trojan horse?

We don’t know. But ‘Karni Sena’, by the way, anagrams to ‘Sneak Rani’.

(Disclaimer: This piece is just for fun. But, in all seriousness, we have to say that there is nothing even remotely offensive to anyone in this film. Even if there had been anything offensive, violent protests and pointless bans are never the solution. Offence, like beauty, always lies in the mind of the beholder. Filmmakers, and of course all artists, even if they have some vested interests or a hidden axe to grind, should never be stopped from saying what they wish to. Bhansali or Vairamuthu, whether you agree with what they say is immaterial. If you have something to say in response to them, make a film or write a piece. Or else, just shut up).