Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji in Padmavati: Communal Construction of the Past

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Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji. Seen yet?

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film, Padmavati was attacked recently over the pretext that there is a dream sequence in the film which depicts Alauddin Khilji, the Muslim King and the Rajput Princess Padmavati. The trailer left the viewers asking for more. Ranveer Singh (as Alauddin khilji) unveiled two looks in Twitter it became the top trends on the Internet. In both the looks, he sports long hair and beard, along with an intense gaze.

In the first one, he is bare-chested and stares straight into the viewers’ eyes as a war backdrop looms large. While in the second one, he is dressed up in a traditional royal attire. In both the looks the richness is flaunted along with Kohl’s eyes, long hair and a scar make his look deadly as a result of hard-fought battles.

Alauddin Khilji was the most powerful ruler of the Khalji dynasty. The story is from the annals of fiction, while some unauthenticated sources claim that since Alauddin Khilji was for real so, the tale about him must also be true.

Padmavati is slated to release on 1 December and the characters knock it out of the park.  It also stars Shahid Kapoor. Soon after Deepika and Shahid’s looks have been revealed, the controversies started. It could add a new facet to Bollywood’s anti-hero as anti-hero has lured every actor ever since films existed. Ranveer Singh as Alauddin khilji, finally gets his chance at doing away with the shackles of morality. The tenacity and near-chameleon kind of ability to physically become the character of Ranveer promise his Khilji to be this generation’s definition of the anti-hero. Padmavati seems poised to add a new facet to the manner in which present-day Bollywood interprets things. The three-minute trailer is enough to give the iceberg feeling. Not only long shots of forts, retinues, caravans, and battles but there’s also some fantastic shot of a horse rider riding into a dust storm.

 

A Rajput Karni Sena burnt posters of the film in Jaipur in protest. Karni Sena president told news agency IANS said that “While shooting in Jaipur, Mr Bhansali had promised to show the film to us and historians before releasing it. But since then no one has contacted us, nor has the film been shown to us.” Not only this but the Union Minister for Information and Broadcast had to go so far as to assure the industry that law and order would be under control. The vigilantes of community honour have attacked merely on the basis of a rumour.

Ranveer as Alauddin khilji has a chance to play a character for whom making bad choices are the only interesting thing and yet being the ‘hero’ in terms of box office. It would push the narrative to explore the good that his villainous Khilji believes he is doing. This is not a surprise but it could also be a foregone conclusion considering the manner in which Sanjay Leela Bhansali models his characters even when they are on real figures specifically the bad ones.

But could a small part of this also be because the narrative appears to play on the very element that makes any anti-hero drama more potent? What do you think about it? The inverse morality?

 

 

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