'Padmaavat' is a surely valiant effort. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is ever-popular for magnificence his work carries. The aesthetic and glamour walk hand-in-hand with a charming love story which works with superb story-telling.
'Padmaavat' succeeds in this. The first half is especially an intriguing, effortless display of royalty and narrative strands pulled off. But at the end of the first half itself you start getting idea of what has to come in the second half. And the problems woth 'Padmaavat' just wrap your seat in the second half.
You know the story already: it has been penned variously, the more popular one belonging to Malik Muhammad Jaisi, the Awadhi version being the claimed source material to this one.
While I can't say how aunthetical is it as an an adaptation, I must say this Bhansali version is very contemporary. And that's good. The characters aren't delving into artificiality, and still their lives are flights of fancy. The film has blazing ideas about infidelity, homosexuality and feminism, and they are personified in the well etched out characters like Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji and Malik Kafur.
The performances are superb. Shahid Kapoor is more than a sensual king as Rana Ratan Singh, though he and Anupriya Goenka (as Ratan's first wife, the template Bhansali first love Maharani Nagmati) are given little screen work.
Deepika Padukone's role as Maharani Padmavati, although a little too less to be her story, gives the feminist identity of the glorious Rajput queen and totally nails everything from her style to her slick words, penned by Prakash Kapadia.
But the magical performance of the film has been delivered by Alauddin Khilji. As the Delhi Sultan who is treacherous and evil, he personifies an unlikeable likeability, like he will act in an indie film of sorts. His expressive passion to conquer the best of beauties is something so admirable, he is actually one of the best performers of the year. For sure.
But the film, especially in the second half, is a total drag. While it continues the majestic saga with conviction, its characters don't lift off as they could have. Raghav Chetan's character especially loses fizz. The combat scenes are clumsy and second-rate show.
But still, Ranveer's performance as Khilji is enough for you to root with the film in all its flaws. I'm going with 3 stars out of 5 and going as far to say that it's one of the better Hindi films of the year. I will recommend that you see it. It's an unusal Bhansali film.
Last couple of months had seen violence unleashed in various parts of the country over the release of "Padmaavat". So much so, it had to be postponed by a month & required the involvement of the Supreme Court to hit the screens. Even then there has been no dearth of atrocities with one incident being the stones pelted on a school bus in Gurugram. Incidentally, ever since the project was announced, it had run into rough weather with the Karni Sena who assumed (by their own figment of imagination) that Sanjay Leela's depiction of Rani Padmini wasnt accorded the honour it deserved. So were their arguments valid ???
The film unfolds in the 13th century where Jalaluddhin Khilji (Raza Murad) puts an end to the Mamluk dynasty& establishes himself as the first ruler of the Khilji dynasty. He was assisted in his endeavours by his nephew and son-in-law. Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh). After Alauddin thwarts the Mongol invasion on the Delhi Sultanate & conducts an unsanctioned raid on Devagiri, his uncle rewards him with a slave Malik Kafur (Jim Sarbh). But Alauddin had his eyes on a bigger prize & kills his uncle to usurp the throne. In another part of the land, Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor) married the Singala princess Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) & brought her to Mewar. The news of her beauty & intelligence, travelled far & wide and it also reached the ears of Alauddin. As he always craved for unique creations, he decided to acquire Rani Padmini by any means possible. But the Rajput valour & honour was something he had not fathomed.
Based on the epic poem "Padmavat" written in the 16th century by the Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi, the story is a concoction of fact & fiction. Even the historical authenticity of the events mentioned in the poem itself cant be verified as Jayasi himself had mentioned that he had made up the story and related it.Whatever might be the case, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has made an excellent movie in terms of richness, elegance & sheer scale. But the plot as such is rather thin & the pace is sluggish at times. However, it still keeps us engrossed courtesy of Sanjay's mastery over his craft & the build up as well as execution of jauhar in the climax deserves special praise.
On the technical side, it is top notch in pretty much all the departments be it the visuals by Sudeep Chatterjee, costumes by Harpreet, Maxima, Chandrakant & Ajay or the art direction by Subrata Chakraborthy & Amit Ray. The BGM by Sanchit Balhara was in sync with the mood of the movie while the music tracks by Sanjay Leela were also decent. When it comes to performance, Ranveer Singh was brilliant as the flamboyant nasty no holds barred Khilji. Deepika Padukone has done an impressive job as well along with Shahid Kapoor. As for the rest, each & everyone of them have done justice to their roles.
Verdict: Without a shadow of doubt, the film is a brilliant tribute to the valour & principles of the Rajput clan. I seriously fail to understand why Karni Sena is creating all this ruckus as the Rajputs & Rani Padmini are shown in the best way possible. Despite the restrictions, the film has fared decently at the box office & should continue to attract attention at the box office. In short, surely check it out!!!
Padmaavat is a craftsman's joy and depicts a lot of elements that currently dictate the world. It's a tragedy film that emphasizes on all the hate and crime that is around us, and concludes that there is only one solution. Watch Padmaavat for the grand production, Ranveer Singh and his character's wickedness, and for a reminder about this tragedy called life. TN.