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Russell Crowe's Gladiator performance was my reference: Shahid Kapoor

The actor believes his character in the film Padmavati would make people want to be 'better' in today's time.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images


Actor Shahid Kapoor, one of the three stars of the controversial Sanjay Leela Bhansali film Padmavati, hopes the audience understands his part as rawal Ratan Singh. He believes it is a character that would make people want to be "better" even in today's time.

The actor stressed the need for inspiring characters while discussing his role as queen Padmavati's husband, the warrior king Ratan Singh, with the Indian edition of GQ magazine, a statement said.

"I remember when Gladiator came out and Russell Crowe played Maximus, the character felt too good to be true," Kapoor said. "But it inspired me so much. That was a strong reference for me because I wondered how do you play a character who is so noble and good, and make him connect with people today.

"Sometimes cinema has the power to make us aspire to be something better. Of course, there is a lot of value in playing something that's real; I'm coming from Udta Punjab (2016), where I played a coked-out, crazy pop star — not at all the kind of guy you would want to be, not even the kind of guy you would want to be in a room with.

"With him, I wondered how to get people to understand someone so off-the-hook, this free radical jumping all over the place. But people got him. I hope they get rawal Ratan Singh as well. He is extremely powerful but always steady in all kinds of high-pressure situations.

"I've always admired people who can do that. We are living in a time where we need to be inspired by characters who make us want to be better, because there's a lot happening in the world."

Bhansali's attempt to bring alive the story of rani Padmini on the silver screen hasn't gone down too well with some Hindu extremist groups backed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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Padmavati, which also features Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh in pivotal roles, has been slammed for the alleged distortion of historical facts about the legendary Rajput queen. The film was scheduled to be released on 1 December, but it was deferred. 

Kapoor also spoke of how Ratan Singh protects his wife from Delhi sultan Alauddin Khilji, essayed by Singh. "The most difficult part was that he is the least known among the three characters," he said. "There are several gaps in our knowledge, and it was up to me to fill them appropriately. It was important to understand what type of king I was playing — we have had great kings, we have had terrible kings, we have had blunderers, kings who have become saints.

"Ratan Singh was a warrior king who falls in love with this exceptionally beautiful woman. They get married and are very happy together when another man [Khilji] enters the picture. It's a story about a husband and wife, but also about a king and a queen."

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