Padmaavat: Deepika Padukone speaks out on controversial movie’s name change from Padmavati

Padukone, who will be familiar with Western audiences for her role in last year’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage, stars in the new film; which has sparked fierce protests – and last year a politician even put a bounty on her head.

Hardline Hindus took severe issue with the film, with reports suggesting cinemas have been targeted with protests and attacks.

The Supreme Court even rejected a bid for it to be banned altogether, amid rumours that the film depicts a scene in which a Muslim king dreams of being intimate with a Hindu queen. The existence of such a scene was denied.

Taking to Twitter, Padukone said she stands by the film despite its controversy – and still refers to it as Padmavati, from when it was named after her own character.

She was responding to a follower who said: “Just watchd @filmpadmaavat I’d still call it Padmavati as its strength lies in the character so beautifully portrayed by @deepikapadukone.

“To me, this was neither history, nor distorted history nor Jayasi’s ‘Padmavat’. It was just a spectacle u expect from Bhansali. #Padmaavat.”

Padukone replied: “Thank You for your very kind words @radhikabhirani !For me too it will always be ‘Padmavati’ & the most significant film of my career in many many ways!”

Reviews for the film have been mixed to positive, with a write-up from The Guardian awarding four stars.

Critics overseas have been more apprehensive: Padukone was called “underwhelming” by the Mumbai Mirror, while others ripped apart the gender dynamics.

It’s an adaptation of the epic poem Padmavat, and controversially includes a portrayal of “jauhar”, in which Padmavati and other women take their own lives by jumping into a fire to escape being captured by the Muslim king.

Padmaavat is out now in India and is showing in select cinemas in the UK.