The whole country is going crazy over Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s new release “Padmaavati “or should I say “Padmaavat”. From name changes to numerous CBFC cuts to open protests to multiple release date changes even as far as to people threatening to cut Deepika Padukone’s nose, Padmaavat has had a long bumpy road to the theatres. Heck, the protesters have even thrown stones at a school bus in an attempt to show their beef against the film and filmmakers. All of this in the name of a movie surely makes me question the literacy rate of the country.
Regardless, let’s take a look at how the Ranveer Singh – Deepika Padukone – Shahid Kapoor starer movie does on screen.
Padmavaat tells the story of the Rani Padmaavati (played by Deepika Padukone), a legendary Rajput Queen who was the wife of Rajput king Ratan Singh (played by Shahid Kapoor), the ruler of Mewar. Sanjay Leela Bhansali takes inspiration from Padmavat, an Awadhi language epic poem written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540. The movie tells the story of Alauddin Khilji (played by Ranveer Singh), the Turko-Afghan ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, leading a siege to Rajput in his desire to capture Padmaavati and make her his own. Without going into spoilers, the plot stays strong throughout the movie, however, is not accurate enough to history as it has been altered by Bhansali to make it crispy enough for a Bollywood movie
Cinematography and Performances
Ranveer Singh does his career-best performance as Alauddin Khilji. He nails the role and has charisma oozing over in every frame. His physical appearance though is a desi version of Khal Drogo (portrayed by Jason Mamoa ) from Game of Thrones.
Deepika Padukone does good enough as Rani Padmaavati, but for some reason, the filmmakers have her all teary-eyed in almost every scene whether it’s a happy moment or a sad one. If it was an attempt to show her intensity, it is very poorly executed.
Aditi Rao Hydari impresses in her short cameo.
Shahid Kapoor however who is a stunning actor (which you’ll know if you have seen Udta Punjab or Haider), appears unenergetic and seem to lack the intensity to play the role of a Rajput Ruler. Barring the final fight sequence, his performance comes off rather dry when compared to Ranveer Singh’s Khilji. Also, Shahid and Deepika seem to lack that chemistry which Ranveer and Deepika shared in Ram Leela or Baji Rao Mastani.
The movie’s Cinematography is stunning which is kind of a no-brainer because after all, it is a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film. The sets, the costumes, the battle scenes are all spectacular and make the movie a visual treat.
Historical Accuracy and Mistimings
The overall plot of the movie is strong but leaves certain aspects of the story unexplored. Khilji was obsessed with Padmaavati but that wasn’t his only reason to go after Mewar. Mewar was a fortress to be reckoned with and offered a lot of tactical advantage to its ruler. Khilji wanted to become the second Alexander and capturing Mewar was the next step in his plan. There is a scene in the movie were Khilji was attacked by his own brother-in-law, this is added just for drama sake and is never said to have happened. The songs fail miserably to hit the mark, they all feel forced and inserted just for promotion purposes. Moreover, they halt the momentum of the movie and makes it feel horribly long. Besides, seeing how the country reacts to such movies, I’m not surprised why the movie avoids certain parts of the history.