The highly anticipated (possibly most awaited) period drama Padmaavat seems well on its way. The first trailer had left the film fraternity in a frenzy – trying to put forth their appreciation and praise for the polished-looking product.

But no re-created saga comes without its fair share of criticism and unwarranted intrusions. And Padmaavat is no different. Even before seeing the film, some fringe groups have stifled questions about its disregard for facts – and depiction of fiction.

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Whatever happened to the freedom of art and expression in our country? Well, apparently, when it comes to certain sensitive topics, it has to be done in tandem with history, religion, culture, sentiments et al. And this seems to lead into a never-ending debate.

Undeterred by detractors, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has stayed his course and done what he’s always done – build a movie of epic scale and proportion. In keeping with tradition, he has promptly carried out CBFC recommended changes and fully abided by the law. There is no scope for argumentative essay here! But for Bhansali, there is also a lesson to be learnt – depicting and ‘peacefully releasing’ our portrayed history persists to be a tall order – perhaps more so than making the film itself.

Joining the film’s retinue are his lead actors Ranveer Singh (Sultan Alauddin Khilji), Deepika Padukone (Rani Padmini) and Shahid Kapoor (King of Chittor/Rawal Ratan Singh). The saga also stars Jim Sarbh and Aditi Rao Hydari in special roles.

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Padmaavat will be the director’s next outing after Bajirao Mastani (2015), which also starred Ranveer and Deepika. Riding high on confidence from Bajirao’s immeasurable success, Ranveer Singh will look to unleash his all-new avatar. Deepika Padukone too will pick up from where she left off, poise and performance intact – and step straight out of a regal timebox. All eyes will most likely rest on them. Whereas this will be Shahid Kapoor’s first collaboration with the said director, and he will be looking to score an impression. He may as well emerge as the dark horse!

Aided by ancient and artistic display of visuals, Padmaavat holds all the promise and prowess to be one top-notch spectacle. But along with a highly ambitious, and extravagantly expensive product, so also rises its risk factor.

Bhansali will be counting on his conviction, tenacity and passion to leap this magnanimous project over the budget line and into box-office success. And if history repeats itself, he will emerge victorious!

– Varun Kumar | Enterapped