Rani Padmini, also known as Padmavati, was a legendary 13th-14th century Indian queen. The earliest source to mention her is Padmavat, an epic poem written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540 CE. The text, which features elements of fantasy, describes her story as follows: Padmavati was an exceptionally beautiful princess of the Singhal kingdom (Sri Lanka). Ratan Sen, the Rajput ruler of Chittor, heard about her beauty from a talking parrot named Hiraman. After an adventurous quest, he married her and brought her to Chittor. Alauddin Khalji, the Sultan of Delhi also heard about her beauty, and attacked Chittor to obtain her. Meanwhile, Ratan Sen was killed in a combat with Devpal, the king of Kumbhalner who was also enamoured with Padmavati’s beauty. Before Alauddin Khalji could capture Chittor, Padmavati and her companions committed Jauhar (self-immolation) to protect their honour.
Several subsequent adaption of the legend characterised her as a Hindu Rajput queen, who defended her honour against a Muslim invader. Over years, she came to be seen as a historical figure, and appeared in several novels, plays, television serials and movies. However, while Alauddin Khalji’s siege of Chittor in 1303 CE is a historical event, the legend of Padmini has little historical basis and modern historians have rejected its authenticity.
Padmavati is an upcoming Indian period drama film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali the film features Deepika Padukone in the title role as Rani Padmini, alongside Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, and Aditi Rao Hydari. The film was originally scheduled for release on 17 November 2017, but protests in Rajasthan impacted filming and the release was pushed to 1 December 2017
Pre-production on the film began in July 2016. That same month, playback singer Shreya Ghoshal tweeted about singing a song composed by Bhansali for the film. Aishwarya Rai and Salman Khan were Bhansali’s initial choice for the roles of Rani Padmini and Rawal Ratan Singh, however they refused to share the screen together. Many media outlets speculated that Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, who played the leads in Bhansali’s Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013) and Bajirao Mastani (2015), were finalized to play Alauddin Khalji and Rani Padmini in the film. Their co-star from the previous films, Priyanka Chopra was also in consideration for playing the titular part. In January 2017, it was reported that Bhansali had approached Chopra for a cameo appearance in the film. However, in April 2017, Chopra denied her involvement in the film.
In October 2016, it was announced that Bhansali would team up with Viacom 18 Motion Pictures to produce the film with Singh and Padukone along with Shahid Kapoor as Rawal Ratan Singh, playing the lead roles.
Media speculated that many leading Bollywood actors including Shahrukh Khan refused to act in the film because of its woman-centric title.