Deepika Padukone has responded to Swara Bhasker's criticism of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat.
While the film managed to secure a January 25 release after months of struggle, it wasn't spared by critics, most of who called it out for the glorification of Jauhar, or mass self-immolation.
Bhasker's letter, published by The Wire, went viral, largely because it's extremely rare for an actor to publicly criticise another movie.
Responding to her criticism that Bhansali reduced women to 'a vagina,' Padukone told India Today, "She (Swara) probably missed the disclaimer at the beginning of the film. You probably went out to buy some popcorn and missed the initial disclaimers that come out. I think, secondly, the fact that it is important to view a film in totality and to see in which period it was set in. Third of all, I think for me this film is not just about the act (Jauhar) that they all committed, but it stood for so much more. For me, it's a celebration of women and their strength, power, and dignity."
Shahid Kapoor, in an interview, said, "What happened right before the 'Jauhar' scene? The king died. How can it be a celebration when the king has died? Every practice happens for various reasons. Within this film, Padmavati believed she would want to go into the fire as opposed to handing herself over to a man who is so evil, that he is ready to kill the entire kingdom to achieve one woman. Now you decide whether that's a good thing or a bad."
In her letter, Bhasker wrote, "I understand that Jauhar and Sati are a part of our social history. These happened. I understand that they are sensational, shocking dramatic occurrences that lend themselves to splendid, stark and stunning visual representation; especially in the hands of a consummate maker like yourself — but then so were the lynchings of blacks by murderous white mobs in the 19th century in the US – sensational, shocking dramatic social occurrences. Does that mean one should make a film about it with no perspective on racism? Or, without a comment on racial hatred? Worse, should one make a film glorifying lynchings as a sign of some warped notion of hot-bloodedness, purity, bravery – I don't know, I have no idea how possibly one could glorify such a heinous hate crime."
Also see on HuffPost: