Shyam Benegal on Padmaavat: ‘Padmaavat an inevitable part of History’!

By Ankita Mohanty

Jan 25, 2018

Sanjay Leela Bhansali`s `Padmaavat` hit the theatres today and supporters/protesters are going berserk. Many Bollywood actors have come forward to express they regard for the director-actors, as well their stern support for Padmavati.

Prominent filmmaker Shyam Benegal has given his own views on the period drama saying  "`Padmaavat` is like Kalidasa`s Meghdoot, a great classic that people know. In that part of the country, it is sung as a ballad," said the veteran filmmaker who even used the `Ghoomar` song in his series without any objections being raised. "I got Ila Arun and a popular folk singer from Rajasthan to sing for me." As Ranveer plays Khilji, a true menace and barbarian, one cannot help but reminiscent of the late Om Puri, who had played the same role with equal ( maybe better) flair in Shyam Benegal`s ambitious 53-part TV series in the late `80s, `Bharat Ek Khoj`. Seema Kelkar played the legendary Queen, with Rajendra Gupta playing Raja Ratan Singh. Interestingly, Sanjay Leela Bhansali was a part of the TV series too!

"His sister, Bela Sehgal, was the chief editor on the series and Sanjay was assisting her. The brother-sister duo was working together and his name even featured in the credits as part of the team that edited this particular episode (along with Dilip Panda, Chakradhar Sahu, and Ashok Swami)," said a nostalgic Benegal.

The director who received Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Bollywood and regional film industry were asked about the necessity to include Padmavati in Indian history. "We know that Khilji laid siege on the Chittorgarh Fort and the popular belief is that he had wanted to possess Queen Padmini, known for her legendary beauty, even though he never met her. He only saw her reflection in a moat and a mirror, according to the poem," informs the veteran director. However, Benegal did not show the brave queen committing jauhar as is known, from the story. "It was difficult to depict it on screen but we did mention it. There is a reference to jauhar in the poem as well," the filmmaker said.

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