Padmaavat is a 2018 Indian epic period drama film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Loosely based on the epic poem Padmavat by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, it stars Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati, a Rajput queen known for her beauty, wife of Maharawal Ratan Singh, played by Shahid Kapoor. Sultan Alauddin Khilji, played by Ranveer Singh, hears of her beauty and attacks her kingdom to claim her. Aditi Rao Hydari, Jim Sarbh, Raza Murad, and Anupriya Goenka featured in supporting roles
In 13th-century Afghanistan, Jalaluddin Khilji of the Khilji dynasty plans to take over the throne of Delhi. His nephew Alauddin Khilji at the same time brings him a whole ostrich though he was asked only to bring ostrich feather. In return, he ask for Jalaluddin's daughter Mehrunisa's hand in marriage. Their wedding is organised, but on the night of the event, Alauddin engages in adultery with another woman. A courtier witnesses the act and is killed by Alauddin. Mehrunisa is informed of this during the wedding, leaving her horrified.
Meanwhile, the Sinhala (modern-day Sri Lanka) princess Padmavati mistaking the Rajput ruler Maharawal Ratan Singh for a deer, accidentally wounds him while hunting in a forest. She takes him along with her and treats him, upon which he divulges his identity, who has traveled to Sinhala to acquire rare pearls for his first wife Nagmati. Over a course of events, the two fall in love. Ratan Singh asks for Padmavati's hand in marriage, she agrees and with permission from her father, they get married.
Jalaluddin takes over the throne of Delhi and sends Alauddin to repel a Mongol invasion. Alauddin is successful in doing so, but undertakes an unsanctioned raid on Devagiri. He captures the princess there after successfully assassinating her husband and makes her his concubine. Jalaluddin's wife and nephew warns him against Alauddin's ambition to take over the throne. He journeys to Kara to meet Alauddin and gifts him the slave Malik Kafur. Alauddin has Jalaluddin and his ministers assassinated and declares himself the new Sultan.
Padmavati journeys to Mewar with Ratan Singh and is blessed by his royal priest, Raghav Chetan. Chetan is caught watching Ratan Singh and Padmavati sharing an intimate moment and is banished from the kingdom. He travels to Delhi and informs Alauddin of Padmavati's beauty. Alauddin, who is fixated with having anything that is exceptional, invites the Rajputs to Delhi. His invitation is rejected. Enraged, he lays siege to Ratan Singh's capital Chittor. After waiting for six months and yet unsuccessful in his attempts to conquer the kingdom, Alauddin feigns peace on account of Holi and is allowed to enter Chittor where he meets Ratan Singh. He asks to see Padmavati. The Rajputs, knowing his intentions, threaten him. Ratan Singh grants Alauddin's request to see Padmavati, but does so only for a moment while preventing Alauddin from seeing her face.
Ratan Singh is taken prisoner by Alauddin, who demands to see Padmavati. Upon being insisted by Queen Nagmati, Padmavati agrees. She however puts forth some conditions including that she will first meet her husband when she arrives as well as the death of Chetan, to which Alauddin agrees. She then travels to Delhi to meet Khilji. Meanwhile, Alaluddin's nephew attempts to assassinate him. Alauddin is wounded but survives and later kills him.
While on the Sultanante's frontiers, the Rajputs plan to ambush the Khilji soldiers in the morning which is the time for namāz. Padmavati, along with Chittor's generals, Gora and Badal, free Ratan Singh, and escapes with Mehrunisa's help. Ratan confronts Alauddin who warns him to kill him now or he will regret it, but Ratan denies stating Rajputs don't attack the wounded. The Khilji soldiers are alerted, but are ambushed by the Rajputs disguised as women. The Rajput attack is repulsed, with the ambushing Rajputs killed. In Chittor, Padmavati receives praise for saving Ratan Singh.
Alauddin imprisons Mehrunisa for helping the Rajputs and marches to Chittor. He and Ratan Singh engage in a single duel; Alauddin is nearly defeated by Ratan Singh, but Singh is shot by Kafur from behind with arrows, and berates Alauddin for fighting dishonourably before dying. The Khilji army succeeds in defeating the Rajputs and capturing Chittor, but are unable to capture the Rajput women who perform jauhar with Padmavati.
Padmaavat opened to mixed critical reviews upon release. Critics praised the visuals, and the performance of Singh, but criticised its storyline, execution, running time and the "unwanted" 3D conversion.
Following its controversies, the makers held a pre-screening of Padmaavat in November 2017 for some journalists, including Arnab Goswami and Rajat Sharma, who praised the film and described it as "the greatest tribute to Rajput pride." Rajat Sharma particularly praised Singh's performance as Khilji.
Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave 4.5 stars and said, "On the whole, Padmaavat is a remarkable motion picture experience that's backed by proficient direction, spellbinding screenwriting and superlative acting. For Bhansali, it's the best title on an impressive filmography." Neil Soans of The Times of India gave 4 stars and said, "The director's expertise in heightening opulence and grandeur is well-known, further distinguishable in 3D. Cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee compliments him by beautifully capturing some jaw-dropping scenery." Rachit Gupta of Filmfare gave 3.5 stars and said, "the real wonder of Padmaavat comes from its production and presentation. This film has phenomenal production design, costumes and camera work. The technical finesse on display is just mind boggling." Rajeev Masand of CNN-News18 gave 3.5 stars, praising Singh's performance.
Kunal Guha of Mumbai Mirror gave 3.5 stars but criticised Padukone's and Kapoor 's performances. Giving 3.5 stars, Sushant Mehta of India Today panned Padukone's and Kapoor's performances calling them "mediocre" while terming Singh's "unconvincing".
Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave 2.5 stars and said, "Padmaavat is spectacular [to look]: no one can do spectacle like Bhansali. You can easily delight in it while the going is good. But nearly three hours of it, and looping rhetoric around what constitutes Rajput valour can and does become tiresome." Mayur Sanap of Deccan Chronicle criticised the execution and the length and gave 2.5 stars. Suparna Sharma, also of Deccan Chronicle gave 2.5 stars and said, "Padmaavat is offensively chauvinistic, blatantly right-wing, and quite unabashedly anti-Muslim.
Raja Sen of NDTV India gave 1.5 stars and said, "Bhansali takes an unbearable length of time to spark the flame. Things go on and on and on, with characters it is impossible to care about. They may appear attractive from time to time, certainly, but these protagonists are inconsistent, infuriating and test the patience."
Rediff.com also gave 1.5 stars calling it "superficial" and wrote "Deepika Padukone gets an absolute raw deal as the Queen; her performance is submissively overwrought, blandly weighted, and her speeches combined with the leisureliness of the narrative's pacing, can put you in a stupor. Worst of all, you will be driven by the suspicion if Padukone even does enough to deserve the movie's title. Namrata Joshi of The Hindu gave a negative review noting the film is "a yawn fest" and "an interminable expanse of unadulterated dullness." She also criticised the 3D conversion writing "The opulence doesn't seem as awe-inspiring, the special effects, especially in some of the battle scenes, are plain tacky and the actors seem like cardboard dolls of themselves in the long shots, acquiring a human visage only in extreme". Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost criticised the film giving 1 star out of 5 writing "Padmaavat is a perfect example of a Hindi film couching its extreme prejudices in grandiloquence and tacky clichés, with those clichés embedded in resplendent frames."