1. It doesn't have a single shot of Rani Padmavati showing any sign of affection or even empathy towards her adversary Allauddin Khilji. Throughout the film, as Ranveer's Khilji tries to break down the Rani's barriers she scoffs, mocks, sneers and darts red-hot hatred at him, Romancing the invader? No way. In fact so intense is Deepika's portrayal of animosity towards 'Rascal' Ranveer that the joke on the sets was no producer would dare to cast the two together as a couple again.
2. Deepika's dancing in the 'Ghoomar' song is just a small part of her presence in Padmavati. Throughout she is shown to be more a warrior than an artiste. Her battle scenes on top of a horse were all shot with Deepika. No double was used. She is all there, fighting in the battlefield with a ferocity that makes Mel Gibson's Braveheart look wimpy.
3. There was apprehension that Shahid Kapoor who plays Deepika's husband may not… errrr… match up to her, at least in his physical height. But Shahid turned out to be as tall as Deepika. Everybody breathed a sigh of relief. Shahid and Deepika who play a husband and wife barely exchanged hellos on the sets while Deepika and Ranveer who barely exchange pleasantries on screen in Padmavati were on anything but on 'hello' terms in real life.
4. To keep that political distance between Rani Padmavati and Allluddin Khilji which is part of their mutual presence in the film, Sanjay Leela Bhansali ordered Deepika and Ranveer to keep away from each other's company. However, the two would sneak a chat, snatch a moment when Bhansali was not looking until he came to know what's happening behind his back.
5. There's no homosexual angle to Ranveer's character, as reported in a section of the press. Says a source, "Bad enough that Ranveer is playing the baddie. To also play gay would have been a bit too much to take for his image. "
6. When Bhansali devised Padmavati ten years ago he wanted to cast Aishwarya Rai as Padmavati and Salman as Khilji. Weirdly that would have been another real-life couple playing sworn enemies on screen. But Aishwarya was busy playing another Royal Queen in Jodha Akbar. And she had fallen out with Salman.
7. In 2008 when Sanjay Bhansali performed the opera version of Padmavati in Paris he vowed to make the film the biggest of his career. He rang up Aishwarya from Paris to declare, "You will be my Padmavati. " He would stage the epic spectacle every night at the prestigious Theatre Chatlet and write the screenplay for the film version in the morning as he strolled by the Seine listening to Lata Mangeshkar's songs.
8. "Padmavati is inspired by Lataji's voice," SLB once confessed to me. The songs of Bhansali's Padmavati are dedicated Lataji. She inspired K Asif in Mughal-e-Azam and Raj Kapoor in Satyam Shivum Sunderam. Now it's Bhansali's turn.
9. At 3 hours and 2 minutes Padmavati is SLB's lengthiest film ever. Half an hour of the film will be cut for the international version of the film.
10. Padmavati will be the last historical by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Period.
(Subhash K Jha is a film critic and movie expert)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)