To be honest, I had no clue about Rani Padmavati until Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, the much-talked movie released. I might have sometime heard about this name, but I’m not sure of it too. So, of course, after the tzimmes on the movie, I read about this woman and I till date don’t understand why the chaos happened over it.
Though I wanted to watch the movie specifically on the silver screen solely to feel and experience the climax, I couldn’t until today. Despite the air being heavily dipped in talks regarding Padmavati it hardly affected me. My TL every now and then cropped with tweets on it but I brushed it aside including the one from a dear blogger friend on Anuja Chandramouli’s book on Padmavati.
Then I attended a creative writing workshop by Juggernaut at the end of which I got two books. Any guesses on one of them? Well, it was Anuja Chandramouli’s The Burning Queen- Padmavati.
And I was sure that I need to know about this woman deeply. There is no more pushing it aside.
I am not a historical fiction person and despite the topic being raw it required a great deal from me to dig in this book.
I won’t indulge much in the plot other than the basics as we all know it thoroughly by now.
Padmavati is the extremely beautiful wife of Rawal Ratan Singh and the queen of Chittor. The book deals with the Rajput era when the Rajput and other kingdoms were under the terror of being usurped by Alauddin Khalji, a Mughal Ruler.
Alauddin Khalji is hungry for power and wants to rule over the entire nation. Soon he picks up Chittor to be added to his empire. Surely, the news of the beauty of Rani Padmavati had reached his ears.
The story hence talks about the three main characters- Rani Padmavati, Rawal Ratan Singh, and Alauddin Khalji and how their lives intertwine.
When I picked this book I had nothing in mind or rather didn’t know what exactly to expect from a historical fiction. But, of course, I knew about Rani Padmavati’s Jauhar and wanted to read about it in detail. So, I flowed with the plot and waited patiently for the climax and what led to it.
Considering that historical fiction is not my cup of tea I had to push myself to finish the book. Nevertheless, I did.
I would not say that I found the book wow, but I would say that it was a good read because the take away for me was completely unexpected and out of the box.
Honestly, I did not quite connect with the story or the writing style maybe because as this was my first historical fiction. Plus, usage of heavy words ended up making me refer to a dictionary which broke my reading flow. But, again this has nothing to do with the story, but me. 🙂
Although I wish I could visualize the story easily which was difficult for me, the reason again can be as this is my first pick from the genre. Moreover, I kept imagining the story and the scenes on the basis of the historical fiction/non-fiction movies I have seen, including the trailers of the recent Padmaavat movie.
Nevertheless, Anuja Chandramouli’s Rani Padmavati gave an extremely different takeaway compelling me to ponder over many aspects associated with the story I never gave a thought.
- Since the release of Padmaavat movie, I have been hearing and reading that Alauddin was besotted with Rani Padmavati’s beauty which was the sole reason he wanted to conquer Chittor. But nowhere in the book for once did I feel so. Of what I understood about Alauddin his reason to usurp kingdoms was to rule over the entire nation and the Queens who came with the conquered kingdom were always treated with respect.
- I initially thought Padmavati committed Jauhar because of Alauddin Khalji and his devil lust. But, the book threw light on a different front completely. I will not spill the beans here but just say the known that Rani Padmavati preferred dying than being held captive.
- Another very essential aspect which unfolded for me was in the very end. The image I had made of Alauddin Khalji and which I was trying to hunt through the book too was of a cruel, sexual, and gruesome emperor for whom human life held no importance, who did not respect women, who was hungry for power and lust. But, the end left me thinking. Could a heartless man ever repent or feel guilty even for a moment? Well, this is what I was left in the end.
To know why Rani Padmavati committed Jauhar, whether because of Alauddin or something else and did Alauddin really repent or was that just another game plan, you must read the book.
About The Author
Anuja Chandramouli is not just an author but a mother and an acclaimed Bharatnatyam dancer. She has penned down five more books apart from Rani Padmavati of which Kartikeya, Prithviraj Chauhan, and Rani Padmavati are recent releases.
Anuja regularly conducts workshops on mythology and creative writing. Anuja believes in – when you love what you do and are ambitious for it, you will get everything you have ever wanted.
You can read her full interview here by a fellow blogger friend.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Buy the Book here
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