The team of Padmaavat is probably enjoying the last laugh. The controversy that we saw playing out on our television screens for several months, finally saw its climax on January 25, as vehicles went up in flames and parts of the country came to a standstill. But Padmaavat emerged victorious at the box office. And that served as a loud and ringing answer to the groups who wanted Padmaavat to not see the light of day.
The Sanjay Leela Bhansali film finally hit the screens. And even with its limited release, with several states backing out from screening Padmaavat, the film managed to see a fabulous opening at the box office in India. As of now, despite the release of Akshay Kumar's Pad Man last Friday (February 9), Padmaavat has zoomed past the Rs 250-crore mark in India.
So what made Padmaavat the blockbuster that it has become?
SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI
Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was attacked by the Karni Sena, the set of his film was torched, and there were bounties placed on his head. But that did not make him shy away from releasing Padmaavat, albeit with a change of name and several disclaimers.
The film was initially scheduled for a release on December 1, 2017. It could not manage a censor certificate before the release date. Special panels were set up to review Padmaavat, and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) finally gave a U/A certificate to the film.
Along with the certificate came a changed title. From Padmavati, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film was re-baptised Padmaavat.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who is known for his grand films and exquisitely crafted stories, kept his signature in Padmaavat too. The film was appreciated for its scale and execution. But the film lacked a solid story.
RANVEER SINGH'S PERFORMANCE
That's where Ranveer Singh stepped in and elevated Padmaavat to a level above the ordinary. He sank his teeth into the character of Sultan Alauddin Khilji, the Turkish invader who ruled over Delhi and lusted after Rajput queen Padmavati.
Ranveer received appreciation from all quarters for his portrayal of Khilji. The mad, lustful emperor left a mark on his audience's minds.
Add to that the raw sexual tension that Ranveer infused his Khilji act with. It was a throwback to Bhansali's 2013 film Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela and 2015's Bajirao Mastani. In Padmaavat, it was a sexual tension that was simmering just beneath the surface. Khilji's obsession for Rani Padmavati made Padmaavat a watchable fare.
DEEPIKA AND RANVEER'S RELATIONSHIP
The fact that Ranveer had his rumoured girlfriend Deepika Padukone playing the role of Rani Padmavati in the film, only added to the excitement. Ranveer and Deepika do not share one single scene together in the film. But it was a delight to watch Ranveer's character pining for Deepika's Padmavati, waiting for a glimpse of her, and finally getting to Maharawal Ratan Singh (played by Shahid Kapoor) by treachery.
Deepika and Ranveer have gifted their viewers some crackling chemistry in their last few films together. Ram-Leela and Bajirao Mastani are both examples of what the couple can do on screen.
THE RAGING CONTROVERSY
And above all else, Padmaavat became a blockbuster because of the raging controversy that it was the centre of. The Karni Sena ensured that people went and saw Padmaavat in a theatre: people, who might not even have been willing to see the film in the first place. But after Padmaavat made it to every news channel, the scenario changed.
Curiosity took over, and made people throng to the theatres to catch a show of Padmaavat.
The battle was won. The box office is raising a toast to that.
(The writer tweets as @ananya116)
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