The film has finally seen the light of the day. And what a bang it has come out with! With magnificent cinematic grandeur, production design at its best, and supreme characterisation, Padmaavat is one addition to the landmark films in Hindi cinema.
Based on Malik Mohd Jayasi’s poem of the same name, Padmaavat tells the story of the queen of Mewar Padmavati (Deepika) in 13th century India where the then Sultan of Delhi Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer) wages a war against Mewar king Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid) just in order to acquire the queen. Its a battle beyond victory and loss. Its a battle for Rajputs to safeguard their name, dignity, and honour.
Although the film stands lengthy at a good 167mins, you are invested in it right from the word ‘go’. While the maker takes good time to establish the characters and their nature, the main plot takes forefront at its leisurely pace. However, it must be said here that the love story between Ratan Singh and Padmavati is told in haste. Before you feel the romance, they end up marrying. The entire story has already been widely known and there hasn’t been any change made in the traditional narrative whatsoever. What makes the film engaging to an all new level is the screenplay that parallely keeps telling you stories of Rawal Ratan Singh and Khijli, both with adequate screen time.
However what makes the film soar to new heights is the presentation. Rightly so, its one of the best in Hindi cinema so far. Right from lighting to sets and production design, the mise-en-scene is worth all the applauds. The canvas is vibrant and grand, and Bhansali has undoubtedly outdone himself in terms of the canvas he has portrayed. He’s been a true auteur, and he proves this once again, wherein he leaves a mark in each and every frame of his. Be it Khilji’s kingdom, or Mewar’s palaces and forts, or even the battlefield for that matter, they are so beautifully shown that you can’t stop praising the director for his extraordinary vision.
The film is filled with moments of gold- scenes between Khilji and his confidante Malik Kafur (Jim Sarbh), the conversations between Ratan and Khilji, or even the portrayal of Khilji’s wife Mehrunisa (Aditi Rao Hydari) and Ratan Singh’s first wife Nagmati (Anupriya Goenka)- that make you want more of them. To add to everything, the climax will surely give you goosebumps. The same moments touch your heart at times or wrench you.
The show is stolen by Ranveer in his portrayal of barbaric emperor Alauddin Khilji. He gives once-in-a-lifetime performance making you wonder if this was the same flamboyant guy of Band Baaja Baarat or Befikre. Had it not been a performance so compelling, the film would have scored something else. Its a character worth all the adulation deserving as many awards possible. You fear him, hate him, and want him to suffer in the film- thanks to Ranveer for giving us a character not seen in a very long time. Shahid Kapoor shines in his portrayal of Mewar king. He has some iconic scenes and dialogues and he blows life in them. He rightly shuts all critics who questioned his casting in a film of such scale. He suits the role and acts perfectly. Deepika on the other hand is good, not extraordinary. Yes she looks extremely beautiful and her genius in acting is well known, but she doesn’t come across as vigorously as the character demanded. Aditi Rao Hydari and Anupriya Goenka too make a mark. Jim Sarbh has an interesting and elaborate role and he is just too good. Carving a niche for himself, he shines remarkably. Aayam Mehta as Raghav Chetan, the traitor also has some fine moments and he will be remembered for this one.
While Bhansali’s films are also known their music, this one is a big let down. Ghoomar and Ek Dil Hai are the only ones that keep you hooked. There are a couple of more songs in the film which serve as nothing but a filler where you can relax. The background score however is very good.
Bhansali once again gives us his signature, in the most impeccable way possible. It is actually ironical that it stands exactly opposite to what it has been opposed for months now. It maintains the dignity of Rajputs and salutes their valour in the best possible spirit.
Thanks to all the opposition, the pirated copies are out even before the general time for other films. But the film this is, deserves viewing on a big screen. In the end, Ranveer- take a bow.