Padmaavat Public Review :
Padmavat (or Padmawat) is an epic poem written in 1540 by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi, who wrote it in the Hindustani language of Awadhi, and originally in the Persian Nastaʿlīq script. It is the oldest extant text among the important works in Awadhi. A famous piece of Sufi literature from the period, it relates an allegorical fictional story about the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji‘s desire for the titular Rani Padmini, the Queen of Chittor. Alauddin Khalji and Padmini’s husband Ratan Sen are historical figures, whereas Padmini is a fictional character, though this is disputed.
Rani Padmini, the princess of the Singhal kingdom, is close friends with the talking parrot Hiraman. Her father disapproves of their closeness, and orders the parrot to be killed. The parrot flies away to escape the punishment, but is captured by a bird catcher, and ultimately ends up as a pet of the Chittor ruler Ratansen.
Inspired by the parrot’s description of Padmini’s beauty, Ratansen decides to visit the Singhal kingdom. Joined by his 16,000 vassals and princes, and with the parrot as his guide, he reaches Singhal after crossing the seven seas. There, he tries to win Padmini by performing austerities in a temple. Informed by the parrot, Padmini visits the temple and returns without meeting Ratansen, although she begins to long for him. Meanwhile, at the temple, Ratansen decides to commit suicide for having missed her. The deities Shiva and Parvati intervene, and Shiva advises him to attack the fortress of Singhal.
Disguised as ascetics, Ratansen and his followers attack the fortress, but are captured by Gandharvsen. As Ratansen is about to be executed, his bard reveals his identity. Gandharvsen then marries Padmini to Ratansen, and also arranges 16,000 padmini women for his companions.(Padmini is best among the four types of women, typically found only in Singhal.)
As Padmini and Ratansen consummate their marriage in Singhal, Ratansen’s first wife Nagmati longs for him in Chittor. She uses a bird to send a message to Singhal, following which Ratansen decides to return to Chittor. Ratansen has excessive pride in being married to the most beautiful woman on the earth, for which he is punished by a sea storm during the return journey. He and Padmini are rescued by the Ocean, but all their followers die in the storm. Lakshmi, the daughter of the Ocean, tests Ratansen’s love for Padmini by appearing before him disguised as Padmini. Ratansen passes the test, and is rewarded with gifts by the Ocean and Lakshmi. With these gifts, he recruits a new entourage at Puri, and returns to Chittor.
In Chittor, Padmini and Nagmati rival for Ratansen’s attention. Initially, he placates them by spending nights with them alternately, but then establishes peace by reprimanding them. Meanwhile, he banishes the Brahmin courtier Raghav Chetan for fraudulently winning a contest. Padmini gifts Raghav her bangle in order to placate him.
Raghav goes to the court of Alauddin Khalji in Delhi. When asked about the bangle, he describes the unmatched beauty of Padmini. Alauddin then besieges Chittor, and demands Padmini for himself. Ratansen rejects the demand, offering to pay a tribute instead. Alauddin rejects the offer, and the siege continues. Finally, as part of fresh terms of peace, Ratansen invites Alauddin as a guest inside the fort, against the advice of his vassals Gora and Badal. Alauddin deceitfully catches a glimpse of Padmini, captures Ratansen, and returns to Delhi.