Uncle Sam: How is the film Padmavati?
Me: a film that’ll be a strong reminder of illiteracy and tolerance rate of the Indians.
Uncle Sam: What’s the fuss around Padmavati? Is the film good?
Undoubtedly, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the master of cinematic canvas. He paints the shots like Raja Ravi Varma. The lavish sets, stylish costumes and stellar cast are often remarked in his films. Unfortunately, his historical drama Padmaavat (earlier titled Padmavati) got stuck amidst unnecessary controversies which put the actual film on backburner. Padmaavat suffers more misfires than the controversies and his passion for epic magnum opus lives within the film making it alive.
There’s a slight similarity with his previous historical drama Bajirao Mastani (2015) – the introductory sequence follows a same template for both. And there’s a hangover of the same film in terms of the visual and production design. Also, there’s subtle hint of his 2013 film Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela in a particular song sequence. Towards the climax, there’s a similar door sequence like Devdas. Even though such roadblocks marred the experience of Padmaavat, nevertheless, it’s an underwhelming and relentlessly predictable film.
Set in medieval Rajasthan, Queen Padmavati is married to a noble king and they live in a prosperous fortress with their subjects until an ambitious Sultan hears of Padmavati’s beauty and forms an obsessive love for the Queen of Mewar. The film slowly seeps but never gets the hold and attention until 10 minutes prior to the interval. And what follows is a thunderous conflict uplifted by stunning visual spectacle. The ideas of love and war are infused into the narrative as Alauddin Khilji exclaims, Husn Ki Jung. Hindi Cinema has always dwelled into such ideas with moral, immoral, etc. Bhansali only offers it with grand vision.
The valor, pride and valiant of the Rajputs is so intact that at one point I came to the terms that, they are taken aback and incur loss due to it. It becomes a tedious Rajput worshipping film and ultimately a snoozefest. I’m so done with the Rajputs and the name Padmavati, I demand peace for next few months. The curse of Padmaavat is that it has become bigger than it set to be. Though it’s a complete director-driven film but that doesn’t help while the only interest sparks up in the second half.
It’s a Ranveer Singh film, his electric and terrifying performance after a certain point frightened the critic within me. And for the first time in the Indian Cinema, we’ve an actress acting only through tears and who has doomed the character playing it bland. Deepika Padukone has two expressions throughout and moist eyes. Did Padmavati speculate that her husband will be dying so she shedded a bucket full of tears? And we’ve an actor with Vishal Bharadwaj hangover who got a sturdy road and who couldn’t properly deliver dialogues in one breath. Since these two actors failed, Aditi Rao Hydari and Jim Sarbh soared excellently. There’s a random Arijit song which is lipsynced by Jim, hilarious. While Anupriya Goenka should be awarded for pathetically acted scene in a Bhansali Film. Audience was literally laughing on the overacting abilities of Deepika, Shahid and Anupriya. Hail Ranveer!
Cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee visualizes and colors spectacular frames. The sheer audacity to build such grand vision is unimaginable and applaudable. The film immediately transferred me to the Chittorgarh and the authentic depiction is stunning. The IMAX 3D experience totally enhanced the viewing with its focal depth and grandiosity of the sets, it would be difficult for me to watch the film in 2D. To my surprise, there were a lot of glitches in the second half where the 3D effect was fuzzy. Indeed, it helped to submerge into the time period but wasn’t exceptional.
Jauhar Scene! I intended to shed few tears during the Jauhar Scene but it made me wonder about the practice which I found totally coward. Shot magnificently and beautifully, but is it? They’re celebrating Jauhar after centuries? And the people are fighting for the pride of their Queen, from a state whose literary rate is below average and where women hide their faces under long veils? Ironical.
And the constant paranoia of Muslim evil and courageous Rajputs is invoked deeply, that’s where the film failed for me. Wonder why is Rajasthan still Royal? Compliance.
It’s Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s epic disaster, had not the controversies occurred the film would’ve doomed easily. .
Release: 25 January, 2018
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Copyright ©2018 Ninad Kulkarni. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.