Are You Padmaavat-Ready?


Are You Padmaavat-Ready?

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

When I first saw the Padmaavat teaser on YouTube, it was still called Padmavati. It has been only three months since, and yet, a lot has changed. I am now an expert on Sufi poetry, Mughal history, Rajput history, computer-generated imagery (CGI), and how half a syllable can change the course of contemporary politics. Bhenchod all I wanted to do was see a goddamn film.  

The hype around the Padmaavat teaser was unreal, it had more views than the Mia Malkova trailer that released last week. Even my mind was blown with all of Bhansali’s grandeur and Ranveer Singh’s Khal Drogo act. But that was only the teaser, picture abhi baaki thi mere dost.  

Before the movie could play out on screen, the drama started unfolding on the streets. The director was slapped, actors threatened, rangolis destroyed, and vehicles burnt. The Karni Sena’s behaviour was ridonk, and awakened the freedom-of-speech fighter within me. I made up my mind to spend a lot of money to watch Bhansali spend a lot of money. All long-weekend plans were shelved, as I prepared myself to endure three long hours of watching Deepika dressing up Shahid, Ranveer walking around in fur, and a few battle scenes.

All of this with a frisson of edge-of-seat daredevilry. But you know what they say about adrenaline – it makes you blind to every danger.  

And with that headrush, I googled “Padmaavat” to find theatres around my house showing the movie. Google suggested, “Did you mean Padmavati?” Calm the fuck down Google, I am charged, but I don’t want to be lynched. I had to immediately clear my internet history before anyone from the Karni Sena found out. The choice of the theatre had to be a wise one, so I started listing down options and analysing how riot-proof the multiplex was.

I don’t think I am emotionally ready to let all my study of graphics, history, disaster management, and guerilla warfare go to waste.

With courage in my heart, I booked a ticket. It cost me ₹400, but let’s face it, the cost of the ticket isn’t only monetary. I could even pay with my life if the risk calculation was wrong and if I ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Pro-tip: Pick a theatre in SoBo. Nothing ever goes wrong in that part of town, be it floods or power outages.)

Republic Day is around the corner and patriotism is the flavour of the week. So I decided I should show up at the cinema hall in army gear, wearing a helmet, and carrying a shield. Standing up for the national anthem finally has some purpose. It’ll help you spot fire exit and make a quick escape, in case vandals strike.

After much deliberation, I decided it’s best not to go for the 3D show. 3D can almost make anything seem real, but was I truly ready for that level of realism? I feared I would have to keep removing the glasses and confirming every few minutes that it’s Deepika walking into a fire and not the Karni Sena setting fire to the theatre.

But the question that is worrying me the most is this: After all the hype, what if I were risking my life to watch a movie that turned out to be a three-hour snooze fest? I am going to be disappointed and heartbroken. I don’t think I am emotionally ready to let all my study of graphics, history, disaster management, and guerilla warfare go to waste.

Maybe I should turn my attention to the other Republic Day release, RGV’s God, Sex and Truth. It could also be a terrible film, but at least there will be some pleasure involved.