Making films have become much easier today thanks to technological advancements. This especially holds true for period films. With VFX, it’s much better to show grand palaces, lakhs of soldiers fighting in a war even though you might have only thousand people during the shoot etc. However, in the era gone by, getting to achieve these things was a challenge in the absence of CGI. Veteran actress Hema Malini did two period dramas – Gulzar’s Meera and Kamal Amrohi’s Razia Sultan. At the launch of her autobiography ‘Beyond The Dream Girl’ written by Ram Kamal Mukherjee, Hema Malini shocked everyone as she said that budget was a very big problem during the shooting of Meera. She exclaimed that she used to be offered little amount of money from time to time which she used to accept as if accepting alms. Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya made just one ghagra for her and she used to modify it a bit so it would seem like she’s wearing multiple costumes! On the other hand, Razia Sultan also took a while to be completed due to funding problems and it took almost 7-8 years for it to be complete.
Deepika Padukone, who was also present at the launch, then talked about her experiences of doing period films and obviously confirmed that today’s it is much better. Her upcoming film Padmavati is a period action film and is very keenly awaited. It’s directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali with whom she has worked twice before – in Bajirao Mastani, also a period film, and Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela. She said, “I feel extremely fortunate to have worked repeatedly with someone like Sanjay Leela Bhansali. We have worked for over five years in three consecutive films in extremely challenging but empowering powerful roles. Padmavati was a very exhausting experience.”
She however made it clear that despite huge budget, it’s still short of what the makers at times want for the betterment of the film. Deepika Padukone stated, “Budget is definitely an issue today. As compared to the budget of Meera, it’s more than a hundred fold. But would we like a much larger budget to make Padmavati? Of course! This is because that’s where cinema has gone today in terms of the audiences’ expectations and demands. Also, globally and not just in India, we have grown. However, the work environment has got better. My cheques come in on time too!”