Eminent historian Prof Irfan Habib said Padmavati was a character in the book Padmawat written by Malik Mohammad Jaisi in Bhaktikal, which has no connection with history at all.
“Jaisi had penned it (the book) during Akbar’s reign around 1550 AD, wherein he had mentioned Alauddin Khilji. But Khilji existed from 1296 to 1316,” he said.
Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali cancelled the shooting of his film Padmavati after a fringe group vandalised the movie’s set in Jaipur on Friday, accusing the filmmaker of “distorting history” about queen Padmavati and Khilji.
“Before any serial or film, the producer always gives a disclaimer announcing that the story bears no resemblance with anyone living or dead and in that way he tampers with history,” Habib said.
“King of Mewar Raja Ratan Singh fell in love with princess of Lanka Padmawati and he took her to Mewar after marrying her. After a battle, Alauddin Khilji captured Raja Ratan Singh and kept him in Delhi. But Padmawati got Ratan Singh released by her tact. Later, Raja Ratan Singh died in a battle in his old age. After that, Khilji fell in love with Padmavati and embarked upon getting her but before he could reach Mewar, Padmawati committed suicide,” said Habib on Queen Padmavati’s story.
Commenting on the need to de-link works of fiction from history, Habib said, “There are stories in every country, but they cannot be accepted as part of history. England has a story of Robinhood, but it was never treated as history. But in our country, myths and stories are given a status of history.”
Defending the movie, actor Deepika Padukone, who plays the role of Padmavati in Bansali’s film, said: “I am sure that we have not tampered with history. We are bringing the story of a brave woman on the silver screen”.
Terming the assault on the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati as “shocking”, production house Viacom18 Motion Pictures said it stands by their director and the film.
“We stand by him (Bhansali) and our film which is a celebration of the Rani… We don’t wish to hurt the sentiments of any person or community,” Ajit Andhare, Viacom18 Motion Pictures, COO, said in a statement.