Deepika Padukone in a still from the film 'Padmaavat.' Photograph:( Others )
A lot of reactions around Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Padmaavat has been coming ever since the magnum opus hit the big screens on January 25th. While most have appreciated the performances and the scale of the film, many have raised objections on how Bhansali has glamorized the Jauhar scene.
Among the many voices, actress Swara Bhaskar's open letter for Bhansali has made the most impact. Swara wrote that how the Jauhar scene glorified a medieval practice that should be condemned at all cost.
Padmaavat's leading man Shahid, on Wednesday, had reacted on the letter. Shahid said she was entitled to her opinion but added that it felt odd to him that she had taken it personally.
Now the film's leading lady, Deepika Padukone, who features in the said scene, has spoken about the scene. While speaking to DNA, Deepika said neither does she or the film's director endorse the practice of Jauhar and that the scene should be seen in the context of the period it is set in.
"You must see the scene/practice in context to the period in which it was shown. And when you do that, you will realise, it’s so powerful. You do not feel like she is doing anything wrong. You want her to embrace the flames because she is going to be united with the man she loves, " DNA quoted her as saying.
The actress also mentioned that how it was a difficult scene to enact as it was shot in the summers and she was wearing heavy jewellery and costume. " We shot it in peak summer at Film City in Mumbai. I cannot tell you how challenging it was. After every single take, I would go up to my van, have a shower, get ready for my scene and go back. With my heavy costume and jewellery, the heat was oppressive. It was such a difficult thing to execute."
The actress also mentioned that while there has been criticism, the scene has also been receiving standing ovation in theatres.
" When I saw the scene during the cast and crew screening, Sanjay sir, Ranveer (Singh) and I, who were sitting together, started bawling. Everyone stood up and clapped. We are part of this film, we know the story, we have been through the journey, yet it moved us. Then, Janhvi (Sridevi’s daughter), who had gone for a screening, told me that people there were standing and clapping, " Deepika said.
The actress has earned praise for her portrayal and she is clear that she doesn't want to play any more historical characters. "I do not think you can ever move on from a character like Padmavati. You feel a sense of relief and when you start moving on to other films, it takes a long time. Next week, I start preparing for my new movie, so I do not have the luxury of letting Padmavati possess me completely, but I know she is someone who will always be within me," the actress said.