NOTE: This piece is written in a light-hearted manner and does not mean to offend anyone associated with the film Padmaavat. Neither does this mean to offend anyone who is protesting against the film. To each his own.
There’s finally a tiny streak of light at the end of the dark tunnel for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat. After months of threats, vandalism and protests, the film will hopefully release on January 25.
After a long life-threatening struggle, one usually comes out a wiser person on the other end. With whatever Mr Bhansali has been through for the past one year, he must have gathered a lot of lessons and we imagine what those lessons must be like. After all, it wasn’t just the audience that gave him feedback, there were hooligans who still can’t differentiate between a fictional film and a history book, who sat him down and shoved their ‘knowledge’ down his throat.
Firstly, Bhansali must not set his movies in a land that is even remotely close to anything that geographically exists in our country. Dystopian future is the new cool thing, thanks to all the international web shows, so why spend a ton of money on creating palaces and costumes that leave the audience stunned? Just set your story in a colourless room. It saves you money and doesn’t offend any community/region/religion/caste/gender as well.
Next, don’t call your characters by names. Padmavati turned to Padmaavat, and all its problems disappeared. No matter what name you give to your characters, there will be someone living who might take offence or someone who died a long time ago whose family or followers might feel offended. If a new born baby like Taimur Ali Khan had to bear the brunt, you are an adult trying to make a movie, there is no way anyone would spare you. Call your characters A, B, C, and so on, unless that makes you anti-national for not using the ‘rashtra-bhasha’.
This next lesson has to be the most important one, don’t cast actors. For the 100 years that Indian cinema has existed, actors have been an essential part of the movies but this needs to change for Mr Bhansali. If a bounty is announced on the head of your leading lady, who is nothing but a vessel for your story, you might as well avoid putting others life in danger. Movie making is no less than Khatron Ke Khiladi after all and even that has stunt masters.
Mr Bhansali must have been so proud when he released the first trailer of the movie months ago, back when it was still called Padmavati. He must have imagined Twitterati going gaga over the grandeur, the music and the look of the actors, but now he has learnt his lesson. Moving forward, why release trailers or worse, song promos (Ghoomar was a bad move)? Just put the film out on a streaming service and chill.
With all these lessons in place, there is only one way for Mr Bhansali, stop making films altogether. When your audience enters the theater, hand them state approved history books and let them imagine the visuals. If all the history teachers from our schools knew of this loophole, they too would have won four National Film Awards.