Padmavati — now Padmavat — seems to have finally (let’s add “hopefully”) secured its spot at the much-awaited silver screen outing. It took five cuts, a disclaimer, and a change of the very title of the film to be queued up to release the film on 25th January 2017.

The film is based on ‘Padmavat’, a 16th-century poem, written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi, who gives an account of a Rajput queen of Chittor who chooses to kill herself rather than be captured by Delhi ruler Alauddin Khilji. Historians are divided about whether the queen existed, but many Rajputs believe she did and accuse Bhansali of portraying her in a bad light. Rajput groups were angry that the movie allegedly contained a romantic scene between the queen and Khilji, who had attacked Mewar the capital of Chittorgarh.

While the entire nation might shy away from talking on various pressing issues, the Padmavati controversy was seen blaring across television channels. The CBFC has suggested various cuts and the change of the title. The entire nation knows that it is “Padmavati” and there is no hiding away from this fact.

This change is rather significant of an exasperating farrago of wastage of time and useless thoughts put across by people whose sentiments get hurt for everything that happens in the world.

For obvious reasons none of us knows the different cuts but the significant title change has drawn quite a lot of attention everywhere. The movie apparently looks like a strong women-oriented subject with Deepika’s avatar as queen Padmini being the face of the film. Is this the reason for the real problem? Glorifying women? Padmavati in a conventional sense is feminine.

Does changing the title to Padmavat sate the famished male-ego?

Researching for my piece led me to realise there are hardly any films that take up a feminine name. Queen, Mardaani, Revolver Rani, Mary Kom, Damini, Angry Indian goddess, Sabarjit, Neerja and Akira are some of the recent popular movies with a feminine title. Though the very basis of feminine and masculine is an altogether different debate. There are few films that take up names which defines a women-oriented subject.

I’m sure if three men swapped the position of the women in Pink, the movie wouldn’t be titled Blue. While the change of the title is done to douse the controversy, the very premise of the movie wouldn’t change.

If the queen is the star of the film, then I’m pretty sure it’s going to remain the same even after the cuts. A few decades earlier, we were much more embracing of female narratives than now. Representation of female names/characters in the past: Mother India, Sujata, Godmother, Bandini and Bandit Queen reflect the depiction of such strong roles in the society then.

Then what’s the problem now?

Every issue that we come across, the primary problem is the mindset. People need to change. Change cannot be forced down upon. We are a part of the most advanced society that the Earth has seen. We are creating things that were once beyond one’s wildest imagination. While the nature of our existence has no concrete answer but we have concrete answers for making life possible on Mars. We will be a part of the history that might have laid the foundation for making everything possible except one thing. Changing the existing patriarchal mindset is a challenge that we all need to collectively recognize and solve. It can be done if one looks at maybe this article with an open mind as to what the other party is trying to convey. Don’t you all think that might possibly solve the question?

Pic Credit: Times Now

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Reshma is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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