Recently, I saw an article on Zee News website titled “Sanjay Leela Bhansali to make a movie on Allauddin Khilji: time for yet another secular ‘love story’s? “. Every time I read something like this, my heart pounds with a strange uncomfortable fear. What will the next historical movie contain that will glorify the intruder? Would it contain anything that mocks my religion? Would it alter history to sound politically correct?(read: anti-Hindu)
Well, skeptics might ask why should I create unnecessary controversy by assuming things about a movie that is still the casting stage. I beg to differ. Bollywood movies are made for a certain set of people.
NRI, Muslims, Punjabi, Middle Eastern people and the urban elite are their target audience. Count the number of movies starring A-listers that do not cater to the above demographics.
You can hardly find any.
With all due respect, these groups haven’t shown in the past that they care for historical accuracies or respectful depiction of our culture and pride.
Any movie about a Muslim ruler if going to evoke huge interest among the Muslims of the subcontinent and their diaspora. Now Mr.Bhansali and the producers will ensure that the script and the narrative will fit into the agenda of pleasing the community. Any adverse depiction will obviously result in banning the movie and issuing threats to the directors, producers and the actors.
Nobody wants to take a chance in such a scenario.
Let me give you the two options Bhansali has at the moment.
Option 1: One would be the actual true account. Allauddin Khilji, being a Muslim invader wanted to usurp territories and expand his kingdom. He wanted to achieve this by hook or crook. He killed the Rajputs and took their women as spoilings from the war.
Rani Padmavati and the other women killed themselves by jumping into the fire.
The result: The movie would definitely anger the liberal, secular media and the leftist intellectuals.Since they hold a lot of clouts, the movie will be reduced to a small movie with little media coverage and no proper marketing. Bhansali will lose his credibility and will not be able to resurrect his career post the debacle of the movie. On the other hand, the movie will do terrible business in the core market(read the list above). If at all it still manages to make money in India, it will be stuck down as an opinionated movie by a pseudo-nationalist in a country that is being run by Hindu mafia. One minority community will feel offended and tear down the posters and threaten to burn theaters. None of the hundred award shows in the following year will give any award to the movie. The lead actors will also be ostracized to an extent by not giving them projects with the top Directors and Khans.
Option 2: Show that Allauddin and Padmavati met and fell in love. But her communal father got her married to the Rajput King after he was given a thousand gold coins. Living in the palace, yet feeling like a prisoner, Padmavati s heart yearns for Allauddin, the strongest and greatest warrior hero in all land. Having been subject to humiliation by the Rajput kings in the past, he prepares an army and defeats the king and finally takes Padmavati with him, showering her with love.
Now, this is a movie that will fetch bucket loads of awards, recognition, more money from the D gang, appreciation from the liberal-left intellectual academia, box office returns from Dubai, Rawalpindi, London and Delhi.
I guess the choice would be fairly simple.