It was worth the wait! Sanjay Leela Bhansali, take a bow. The filmmaker’s poster of actor Ranveer Singh as Allaudin Khilji, the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate in his period drama Padmavati, is one designed to turn any woman weak in the knees. There’s a raw sexuality in Ranveer’s silently blazing malevolent eyes that sets the heart thumping, the blood soaring. But it’s also the mad, foreboding look of a brutal conqueror who would not take ‘No’ for an answer. It’s another matter that Rani Padmini did not yield to Khilji’s charm and preferred death by self-immolation rather than surrender to the warrior ruler’s all-consuming lust. That’s history. If Khilji really looked like Ranveer does in Padmavati’s poster that’s releasing this morning, he would have swept all the mythological queens off their feet
Take a look at Khilji. There’s animal grace in him as he emerges from a dark pond on which lotuses float. His long, tangled mane trailing down broad shoulders to a chest that is erotically hirsute. The expression is arrogant. Terrifying even because of a battle scar beneath his left eye. The kohl-lined grey eyes ominously full of unspoken promise; depending on what Bhansali has him rising from the waters for – to wage a war or make love. The raw sexuality in Ranveer’s poster complements the statuesque beauty in Deepika’s poster that was first released by the filmmaker. It’s heart-breaking and almost unfair that this historical couple never met or was in love. With the looks of all three main characters inPadmavati now out, the anticipation for Bhansali’s film that releases on December 1 has shot through the roof.
Meanwhile, in a bonus to Ranveer Singh’s fans, Bhansali releases a second poster of the actor’s from Padmavati this morning. And it’s a bejeweled and crowned reflection of Allaudin Khilji. The Sultan of Delhi seems to be saying, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most powerful ruler of all?” Is there a hint of vanity of the bisexual in his expression? Perhaps momentarily, but it’s overridden by the coldness in the battle-scarred face. It’s a pity, but without waiting forPadmavati’s release, people are comparing Ranveer Singh’s Allaudin Khilji look with that of the Hollywood actor Jason Momoa’s as the undefeated tribal warlord Khal Drogo in the American fantasy drama TV series Game of Thrones. There’s no competition, really.