Bhubaneswar: Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmaavat which portrays the epic love story of Maharawal Ratan Singh and Rani Padmini would have remained incomplete without the help of Gajapati of the erstwhile Kalinga (Odisha).
According to Bhansali, the film is based on Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s poem ‘Padmaavat’ penned in 1540 in Awadhi. After having a quick read of its original version it could be recognized that Odisha plays an important role in taking their story forward.
The English translation of the poem by AG Shirreff, published by the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1944, clearly mentions the words Orissa and Gajapati (referring to the king of Kalinga).
The original version of the poem mentions the talkative parrot of Singhal Kingdom who narrates the story of Chittor ruler Maharawal Ratan Singh and the charming beauty of Rani Padmini. The parrot also guides him in finding the route to Singhal in pursuit of Padmini.
Ratan Singh then meets the Gajapati and requests him for help to reach the island of Singhal. The Gajapati agrees to help but cautions the king of Chittor, who is too consumed by love to pay heed to the lurking dangers on the road to Singhal.
Thus, the Gajapati played his part in uniting the two lovers.