Sunday, December 27, 2015

Movie Review: Bajirao Mastani

Image Courtesy:
The Story Frame:

Bajirao Mastani is the story of the 18th-century Maratha Peshwa Bajira Ballal Bhat, who fought valiantly to matrialize his dream of a unified Hindu Kingdom. It is the return of Sanjay Leela Bhansali with yet another intriguing epic story with all its cinematic extravaganza. The film doesn't claim to be historically accurate and it depicts a disclaimer saying that it has taken creative liberties in portraying the life and times of the warrior.  Based on the Marathi novel 'Rauu' written by Nagnath S. Inamdar, the movie narrates the love between Bajirao and his second marriage with a half Rajput and half Muslim princess Mastani.

Cast: Ranveer Singh (Bajirao), Priyanka Chopra (Kashibai), Deepika Padukone (Mastani), Tanvi Azmi (Radhabai), Aditya Pancholi (Shilpat Rao), Milind Soman (Advisor and Friend), Vaibhav Tatwawdi (Chimaji Appa), Ayush Tandon (Nana Saheb, son of Bajirao), Mahesh Manjrekar (Chhatrapathi Shahu Maharaj), Raza Murad (Nizam of Deccan),

Genre: Period Drama

Direction: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Produced by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Kishore Lulla

Production Company: SLB Films

Distributor: Eros International

Written by: Prakash Papadia

Screenplay by: Prakash Kapadia

Story based on: 'Rauu' written by Nagnath S. Inamdar

Cinematographer: Sudeep Chatterjee

Music: Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Assisted by Shreyas Paranik)

Background Score: Sanchit Balhara

Film Editing by: Rajesh G Pandey

Theatre Release: 18th December, 2015

Language: Hindi

Duration: 158 minutes

Image Courtesy:
Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Irrfan Khan's beautiful narration takes you through the life and times of Bajirao Mastani till the end of the movie. Who cares for the historical accuracy of Bajirao Mastani, what counts is the grandeur and opulence Sanjay Leela Bhansali indulges in to present his story on the silver screen.  Bajirao is yet another visual spectacle that mesmerizes the viewers with its fabulous portrayal of the life and times of Maratha warrior Bajirao. It is a clear take on religion and orthodoxy in the garb of portraying a Hindu-Muslim love story. Bajirao Ballal Bhat the legendary warrior-hero is hell bent to establish the supremacy of Hindu Rashtra across the subcontinent and want to see the Maratha flag flutter at Dilli. Sanjay Leela Bhansali intelligently and aesthetically handles and portray both the rise, triumph of Peshwa Bajirao as well as his turbulence in his married life because of his love and affection towards Mastani, the beautiful, dare-devil warrior, half Rajput and half Muslim princess of Bundelkhand.

It won't be an exaggeration to admit that it becomes hard to even imagine any other actor in the place of Ranveer doing justice to the role of Bajirao. Ranveer sway you by his terrific acting, he makes you confident by his patriotic dare-devil acts against his enemies, and more over make you fall in love watching the romance and commitment of Bajirao and Mastani. He is convincing in his Marathi lingo while he delivers lengthy dialogue to his enemies, army men, family members and his ladies in love.

Ranveer Singh has undoubtedly evolved as an actor after every film and his growth as a bankable actor is really commendable. I must say that Bajirao has won the baaji against Dilwale and it has added more brownie points to Ranveer's kitty. His dilemma in love between his wife and his accidental wife Mastani because of some unknown tradition he followed in his act of chivalry and enthusiasm is well enacted. His rise to the post of Peshawa under Chhattrapathi Shahu (Mahesh Manjrekar) and his encounters with his opponent Shilpat Rao (Aditya Pancholi) is quite watchable and keeps the viewers engaged.

Priyanka Chopra as Kashibai, wife of Bajirao brings elegance and grace to her character. She makes us connect with her in her act as a beloved wife whose world is just her husband and his triumphs as a warrior. She makes you feel through her emotional turmoil when she comes to know about Mastani and her husband's love for each other. She beautifully expresses through her eyes and her mannerisms her vulnerability, helplessness and occasional victory in keeping Mastani at bay. Priyanka is outstanding in the role of Kashibai. She is a notch better in dancing and expressing than Deepika Padukone.

Image Courtesy:
Deepika Padukone as Mastani the Bundelkand Princess is good as a warrior pricess but fails to generate the off-screen chemistry with Ranveer on screen. She may have to hone her dancing skills. The 'Pinga' act fails to match the beauty and energy of Devda's 'Dola re' of Aishwarya and Madhuri Dixit. Nevertheless, Deepika to a greater extend manages to pull through as Mastani because of an ensemble of talented actors around her. She does evoke feelings at certain occasions but then fails to hold on in the act.

Tanvi Azmi as the widowed mother of Bajirao has done a commendable job. Tanvi as a tonsured lady calling the shots and trying all means to control her strong-willed son Bajirao from breaking the traditions of Peshawas comes out so well that the viewers love as well as dread the lady. She is compelling as Radhabai in her power-packed performance.

The movie has some awesome performance from Vaibhav Tatwawdi as Chimaji (Brother of Bajirao), Ayush Tandon as Nana Saheb (Son of Bajirao), Milind Soman as the friend and trust worthy advisor of Bajirao.

Sanjay Leela Bansali has beautifully portrayed the role of religion and the clergy in politics then. And it reminds us that there is nothing to be surprised of the role they still play in the contemporary society too and the kind of manipulation they do to safe guard their power and say in the day-to-day conduct of governance.

In short, Bajirao Mastani is a must watch, not to know the historical facts of who and what Bajirao was but to see how historical characters can be fictionalized and made to be so interesting to watch on screen. Kudos to Sanjay Leela Bansali and his filmmaking abilities. The songs are too good. You can give a miss to 'Dilwale' dilse and watch 'Bajirao Mastani' masti se at a nearby theatre because it is for sure a paisa vasool film.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 4/5