Padmavati by Sanjay Leela Bhansali has been said to be his next Magnum Opus. People already have curiosity circling their mind and they are waiting for it to unveil as soon as possible for many reasons. The Trio – Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, And Sanjay Leela Bhansali are making to the screens for the third time and people are hoping another grand movie similar to previous two, Ram Leela and Bajirao Mastani.
Now, everyone knows that Deepika Padukone is playing the Hindu Queen Padmavati in the movie, but how many of you know the story of real Padmavati?
You can’t. We too are perplexed by the fact that there are 4 different stories of Padmavati and there are a number of people who denied her whole existence. Surprising?
The Popular Story In A Nutshell!
Those who know about Padmavati, have the popular story version embedded in their minds. Padmavati, the beautiful princess of the Singhal kingdom (Sri Lanka) was exceptionally beautiful and had a talking parrot named Hiraman. After her father got furious over Padmavati and Hiraman’s friendship, the parrot flew away. The Rajput ruler of Chittor, Ratan Sen heard about the beauty of Padmavati from Hiraman and decided to make her the Queen of Chittor. He married Padmavati after an adventurous quest, and brought her to Chittor.
Now, Padmavati was a god’s own creation, thus the popularity of the Queen was unable to stay under the walls of Chittor. The Sultan of Delhi, Alauddin Khilji, and the king of Kumbhalner, Devpal both heard about the priceless beauty of Padmavati and attacked Chittor to obtain her.
The king Ratan Sen was killed in a combat with Devpal but before Alauddin Khilji or Devpal can get their hands on Padmavati, she committed self-immolation with her other companions to save her honor.
That’s the popular version. Now there are four major categories which denote the story of Padmavati. The Persian or Urdu Adaptations, The Rajput Ballads, The James Tod Version and The Bengali Adaptations.
All of them have a single thing in common, the narration of Padmavati’s beauty. They all declare her almost like a blooming rose or a poet’s dream. Out of these four adaptations, the first two are the most Fascinating ones.
1. The Persian or Urdu Adaptation
Gandharv Sen, the king of the Singhal kingdom has a daughter Padmavati who was fond of her talking parrot Hiraman. King Sen resented the closeness of his daughter and parrot and ordered the bird to be killed. Padmavati helped Hiraman to fly away. The parrot was trapped by a bird catcher and sold to a Brahmin who later sold it to the King of Chittor.
King Ratan Sen was mesmerized after listening to the praises of Padmavati’s beauty and decided to marry her. He with his 16,000 followers reached Singhal. He was to meet the Padma in a temple but both Ratan and Padma couldn’t meet. They both started longing for each other. Ratan was to immolate himself, but deities Shiva and Parvati advised him to attack the royal fortress of Singhal kingdom. Ratan was defeated and imprisoned until the King of Singhal learned that Ratan is the King of Chittor. Ratan and Padma got married and after spending enough time in Singhal, he was informed that Ratan’s first wife Nagmati, is missing him and he with the Padma and 16,000 Padmini (companions of Padma) returned to Chittor.
It is said that during their return both Ratan and Padmavati were punished by the Ocean gods. To thrash the arrogance of Ratan, Padma was killed and marooned on the island of Lacchmi (the daughter of the Ocean deity). Ratan was tested for his love by Lacchmi and after learning that Ratan Sen truly loves her, the Ocean god and Lacchmi then reunited both lovers.
Sometimes later to their return Ratan banished Raghav Chetan, a Brahmin courtier for fraud. Who went to the court of Alauddin Khilji and told him about the heavenly beauty of Padmavati. Khilji tried to besiege Chittor but failed. Ratan and Khilji feigned a peace treaty where Khilji took Ratan to Delhi.
Padmavati sought the help of two of the most loyal feudatories, Gora and Badal who went to Delhi disguised as Padma and her female companions and rescued Ratan Sen. The king of Chittor’s neighbor Kumbhalner, Devpal also had his eyes on Padmavati and after listening to the news of Ratan being captured in Delhi, proposed marriage to Padmavati.
Ratan Sen on arriving back at Chittor heard about the proposal and decided to punish Devpal. Ratan and Devpal both fought a single combat in which they killed each other. Alauddin got another chance to invade Chittor and win Padmavati but before he could fulfill his dreams, both the Queens Nagmati and Padmavati committed self-immolation.
Quite Dramatic Isn’t It? Wait Till You Read The Next One.
2. The Rajput Ballads
The Rajput king of Chittor, Ratan Sen had a wife who was an exceptional cook, Prabhavati. One day the king insulted Prabhavati for cooking unsatisfactory food and made her furious. Prabhavati challenged the king to find a woman better than her and the King announced the news that he is looking for a new Queen. A Nath Yogi who was visiting Chittor learned this news and advised Ratan Sen to visit Singhal island. The YOgi told him that there are many beautiful women on the island and the King’s sister is the most beautiful girl in the world.
Ratan Sen crossed the sea and reached Singhal, defeated the King of Singhal in a game of chess and demanded to marry his sister.The king of Singhal agreed and gave Ratan Sen a half of the Singhal kingdom, 4000 horses, 2000 elephants and 2000 companions for Padmavati. They came back to Chittor.
One day when Padmavati and Ratan were busy in getting intimate Raghav Vyas, a Brahmin accidentally interrupted them, in result Ratan got angry. Raghav Vyas escaped Chittor and reached Delhi, where he was welcomed with prestige at the court of Alauddin Khilji. Raghav Vyas narrated the beauty of Padmavati comparing her to the moonlight and Khilji decided to marry a Padmini himself. He took his soldiers and left for Singhal but on his way to the island, the soldiers drowned and only Khilji managed to survive. He failed to obtain any Padmini women, hence decided to besiege Chittor to Marry Padmavati (as he was the only Padmini on the mainlands).
Khilji with his 2.7 million soldiers besieged Chittor, and captured Ratan Sen. The frightened soldiers and people of Chittor decided surrendering Padmini to Khilji but two brave royal soldiers, Goru and Badil took charge of defending her and rescuing the king. Goru, lost his life in the fighting but Badil escorted the king back to the Chittor fort.
And This Version Ends Just There!
Strange Isn’t It? No wonder it has been a controversial topic since the beginning of the shooting. Obviously, the history does not justify if there was a Padmavati, the Queen of Chittor or she was merely a sweet imagination of a poet who wanted to pen down the description of the most beautiful woman in the world.
The truth is breathing somewhere in the sands of times but we are excited to watch how Sanjay Leela Bhansali will present it.
21 September 2017
Avni S. Singh