Rajasthan: Show On Rani Padmini Halted After Row Over Scene With Alauddin Khilji

Show On Rani Padmini
Tensions brewed at Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan where a show on Rani Padmini (or Padmavati) was halted this week after locals objected to a particular scene involving the legendary princess and emperor Alauddin Khilji. The light-and-sound show was stopped mere hours after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated it. Local authorities have reportedly agreed to remove the contentious bits in the show that has allegedly hurt public sentiments.

The scene in question has to do with the famous ‘mirror scene’ between Padmini and Khilji, in which the latter admires the princess through a mirror reflection.

While Khilji has been documented as part of history during the 13th century as a Delhi Sultanate ruler, the existence of Padmini has been under debate for years. The most famous reference to her, also considered the earliest, is in Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s epic poem Padmavat from the 16th century.

A 2018 film of the same name starring Deepika Padukone as Padmini, Shahid Kapoor as her husband and Chittor ruler Ratan Sen and Ranveer Singh as Khilji had faced similar months-long controversy with Rajput communities raising objections to various depictions in it. Read more here.

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As per reports, Rajputs in Chittor have raised a complaint against the ‘mirror scene’ in the light-and-sound show, saying there is no truth to that sequence. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader CP Joshi is also among those protesting, as per Indian Expressand allegedly asked officials to remove the ‘mirror scene’ even before the show premiered this week.

“We immediately stopped the show and said that as long as the disputed dialogues are not removed, the show should not be run,” he was quoted saying.

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Those agitating against the show on Rani Padmini have called Jayasi’s Padmavat a fictional account where the ‘mirror scene’ stems from and hence have cast doubt on its historical authenticity. District authorities in Chittor have said they will review the show and make necessary changes, according to reports.

The ‘mirror scene’ is a part of royal legend in Rajasthan, despite the differentiating opinions on its veracity. An Economic Times report from 2017 pointed out that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) too, in fact, makes mention of the scene near the site at Padmini Mahal. The ‘mirror room’ in the palace was shut for visitors at the time when backlash against Padukone’s Padmaavat was growing manifold and Karni Sena members reportedly vandalised the space.