Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Perplexing Paradox of Padmaavat

Perplexing Paradox of Padmaavat - Kartik Dayanand Boddapati - Mind u Read

"Oh no…one more Padmaavat article. That too so many days after the movie’s release" - I can practically hear you say that aloud.

Maybe I am crazy, but I have no option other than to share my story with you before I go completely mad. I might also end up driving you crazy in the last section of this post. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

My story involves a bizarre paradox - a moral dilemma of sorts. It all started when I watched the film Padmaavat on the second day of its release.

I loved the film. The climax choked me emotionally and this was the only time in my life where I wished I had seen a movie in 3D because those glasses could’ve hidden my tears at the end. That’s how much I loved the film.

Putting aside the discussions about gender politics, Jauhar or the Hindu VS Muslim trope that’s been doing the rounds, the film and the climax appealed to me at a very basic level as a triumph in tragedy – where you feel sad that the good guys die at the end but also feel happy because they somehow end up looking heroic and victorious – like Jack in Titanic.

The film would have worked for me even if it wasn’t about Rajputs and a crazy Muslim ruler, because...
At the core Padmaavat is a story about a clash of values!
Maharawal Ratan Singh’s culture dictates his values. He is bound by its rules, like Kattappa from Baahubali. His decisions might look stupid and impractical at times, but that is how he functions.
Rani Padmavati isn’t as rigid as Ratan and doesn’t mind bending some of those values as the situation demands. We are shown ample instances in the film where she displays these traits. She is sorted in her mind.
Sultan Alauddin Khilji on the other hand has a calculative and cunning mind along with a heart that is passionate and relentless. A deadly concoction forming his value system – a non-existent one at that. There is only one rule of war for him and that is victory (at any cost).
Throw all of them together and that’s the story of Padmaavat.
Ratan lives and dies sticking to his values – no compromise, no matter what, Khilji should never see Padmavati.
Padmavati lives and dies sticking to her values - her victory lies in denying what Khilji’s heart desires. It’s her choice of what I call a triumph in tragedy.
That’s where the high point, the vindication and moral victory lies for the audience too by upholding a value system we think is right - by denying what Khilji seeks so desperately throughout the movie.
Justice we believe is served. That’s when the tears happen. And the ensuing stupendous box office collections are nothing but a validation of that sentiment.
If even one of them skewed a little bit in a different direction the outcome of the story would’ve been very different.
All sounds good. What’s my issue then?