|Critic - No.147|
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Casts: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor
Genre: Drama / History / Romance
Based on the true events set in medieval Rajasthan, Queen Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) is married to a noble king Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor) and they live in a prosperous fortress with their subjects until an ambitious Sultan (Ranveer Singh) hears of Padmavati's beauty and forms an obsessive love for the Queen of Mewar.
After recreating many historical moments and classic adaptations in Bollywood cinema, ace director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has taken a poem titled ‘Padmaavat’ written in 1540 by Malik Muhammad Jayasi and added his own visual mastery and melodramatic interpretation. Based on the theme of obsession, war integrity and honour, Bhansali has crafted an engaging epic drama with a team of solid actors.
Deepika as Padamaavati is an epitome of grace and beauty who delivers a knockout performance as the majestic Queen who goes any extent to fight for her love and honour. With minimal dialogue, she conveys with her powerful eyes most of the times. Her performance during the climax scene will be remembered for decades. But if only we knew her more (with more character establishment), her character would have been even more powerful.
Shahid as the righteous king impresses with his toned physique and controlled acting. As a man of integrity, he earns our respect throughout as he clinches his principles firmly till the end. Aditi Rao and Jim Sarbh have their moments in their limited screen space.
However, Ranveer Singh undoubtedly steals the show with his eccentric performance who gets deep in the skin of the character. As a menacing ruler, who is atrociously self-consumed with the idea of victory, power and gaining possession of all things exquisite, Khilji’s depiction might raise some eyebrows on accuracy stand. But no one can ever complain on the captivating performance of Singh.
In Bhansali’s films, grandeur in form of songs, art direction and costumes usually distract us from any glitches in the film but in ‘Padmaavat’ all of these just act as foreshadows and the story takes a central place in here. Not that the technical elements are neglected here but all of technical finesse enhances than overshadows this time, which is definitely a relieving sign. The first half is extremely engaging that quickly transports us to the conventions of the 13th century.
On the flip side, for a film that pays off with the root of Padamaavati and Ratan Singh’s love, it just spends 10-15 minutes establishing their pre-marriage encounter which doesn’t give a strong emotional backing to their love that almost shakes the climax. Bhansali’s ambitious vision slowly starts to lag after the interval and makes us wait for the final showdown as it graces through several nicely choreographed songs that doesn’t advance the story.
However, when it sets off towards the pre-climax, it finishes off in a high note that will emotionally stir your for sure and definitely gain the respect of the Indian ancestry. Sudeep Chatterjee arresting visual further accentuates the majestically perfect production design. Bhansali’s songs might not be enchanting as his previous flicks but the empowering score by Sanchit Balhara pushes the cinematic experience a notch higher. His various versions of the theme music taps your senses sharply and will ring in your ears even after you leave the cinema halls.
Elevated by the magnetic performances, Sanjay Leela Bhansali presents another emotionally stirring historical epic that can be enjoyed thoroughly if you overlook a few historical inaccuracies or occasional lags.
CELLULOID METER- 3.75/5: