Shooting the most iconic sequence in Padmaavat was no bed of roses. The stunning Jauhar sequence was shot in outdoors of Film City at the outskirts of Mumbai. “It was scorching hot and we shot with 350 junior artistes. The physical discomforts were somehow bearable. But the challenge was more emotional than physical. By the end of the shooting of the Jauhar sequence there were frayed nerves and rising tempers”, recalls Sanjay Leela Bhansali with a shudder.
The shooting of the Jauhar scene went on for a week. And the junior artistes got restless. They would meander off in groups in-between shoots and doze off due to exhaustion. Then when the shot was ready, there would be a head count.
Invariably Sanjay Leela Bhansali would find some artistes missing. There would be frantic search and they would be herded back and each one’s hair and costume would be personally supervised by the filmmaker.
The Jauhar scene was especially tough on Deepika Padukone who was emotionally drained by the end of it.
Ranveer Singh was physically ill. Recalls Sanjay Leela Bhansali, “In the shot where the women throw hot coal on Ranveer we used burning rubber tyres to look like burning coals. Burning rubber sends off a very strong stench. Every time Ranveer would go into a corner to puke before doing the shot….We were all physically and emotionally exhausted by the time the sequence was shot. To then have some cynics dismiss the Jauhar sequence as regressive and socio-politically incorrect is a huge blow to all the hard work that we all did.”