Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and Tanvi Azmi
If there’s one thing you can’t take away from a Bansali film, it’s the breath taking visuals and the larger than life demenour in which his films have been shot – on both counts Bajirao Mastani is superior. Though over the top, kudos to the art team for getting into the tiniest of details. Bhansali’s eternal love for tragedy is not a surprise anymore. Amongst many protests and court notices, the movie whether factual or not, really wows you in some scenes, case in point – the opening battle sequence.
But this historic piece that focuses on the infamous love between the Peshwa (Ranveer Singh) who has the reputation of winning every one of the battles he fought for the Maratha Empire and Mastani (Deepika Padukone), the very brave daughter of Bundelkhand Maharaja lacks in depth and is unbearably long. We see Peshwa’s bullheadedness and bravery not just on the battlefield, but in the Shaniwarwada (his abode) where he fights for Mastani going against his entire family, his wife Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra), mother (Tanvi Azmi) and brother Chimaji (Vaibhav Tatwawdi).
Ranveer as Bajirao hits the right chord with his perfect Marathi-Hindi accent and his passionate performance. There is no other actor in this generation who could’ve been more perfect for the role. Deepika as Mastani delivers in terms of undulating beauty and she has one expression throughout the film, but we can’t really blame her as her role is one dimensional. But the real hero of the film is Priyanka – as the bereft wife who has no hope that she’ll be the only love of her husband’s life, she is spectacular.
But the powerful cast and the aesthetically appealing visuals are the only things going for the film. The scenes are very disconnected; they are not tied together seamlessly. The story as usual is disturbed by too many song sequences, which don’t fit into the narrative organically. What could’ve been an epic love saga turns into an excruciatingly painful ballad of tragedy, especially in the second half. When you are watching the climax, you can’t help yourself from getting restless, wanting the film to end at once.
The sketchy script is saved by the talented actors and stunning visuals. The historic film is shot beautifully by Sudeep Chatterjee. Bansali might’ve pulled all stops with this one, but he does tire us with his rather exuberant albeit overlong saga of love.
Verdict — Just go and watch for the sake of good cinematography and power packed performances.
Rating — ***1/2