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DIRECTOR: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
STARRING: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra
RATING: Read :)
Finding nuance in a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film is like finding poor people in a Karan Johar film.
If OTT had a human form, it would sport a beard, glasses and would be spelled as SLB.
From palatial sets, detailed costumes, spellbinding cinematography, the film is so opulent it might as well be called Bhansali Mastani.
Bajirao is an ambitious warrior. And we believe it too because we are told in a did-you-know-the-fact-that he is the only warrior in the country who has won 40 battles back to back. Woah yeh warrior hain ya battlefield ka blockbuster Salman Khan?!!
He is so ambitious that he wants to dethrone the Mughals from Delhi and rule the entire country. But that can wait. Because he is busy cosying up with his wife first, then his girlfriend, then make babies with the wife and then girlfriend!! Lucky bugger, I know. It’s a choice between high libido and valour, and with Deepika and Priyanka around, it’s quite an obvious choice.
So all the events and dialoguebaazi that should have led to an attack on the Mughal Empire is conveniently forgotten and we witness his relationship status change from being married to married again, to complicated, and all this painfully stretched over a period of time. I could almost see his invisible Facebook updates; Mastani is hot, feeling excited. Kashi is my wife, feeling dutiful. Mom is against inter-religious marriage. She is so intolerant. Feeling frustrated.
The film is smart, gimmicky. The script is manipulative. So is the timing. To release a love story torn in a religion tussle will work keeping the current situation in our country. The scenes are written knowing they will earn a thundering applause here, a tear and a smile there. But it all works. The scenes between the husband and wife, the son and the mother and even the wife and the mistress have interesting wordplay and no matter how filmy, they do evoke emotions. In a scene Bajirao uses, doobta sooraj, khilta chand, dharam ki zanjeer and mohabbat ki aag, all in a sentence. But Ranveer Singh lends so much honesty and meaning to these dramatic words that it works. Also, we have heard worse in Bhansali’s Ram Leela. Remember jigar forcibly rhymed with trigger in name of creative writing?!
Ranveer Singh does deliver a fine performance. He speaks in a certain Marathi accent and he is consistent at it. Priyanka Chopra shines in a couple of scenes. And Deepika Padukone proves herself yet again. She is so gorgeous yaar. Gorgeous with that nose pin, that hat, that mandolin. Gorgeous when she holds her baby and fights all those soldiers singlehandedly. I almost stood on my seat and screamed, ‘Maar Mastaani Maar!’ Okay, calm down Lokesh. I get distracted. And then there is Tanvi Azmi. Spectacular.
The film is a good one-time watch. The first half had me strapped to my seats. It was well paced. The second half got way too weepy and self-indulgent. Also the film shows two sons born roughly around the same time grow at different paces. One of them grows into a teenager sporting a muchchi while the other one is barely reaching his mom’s knees. Complan boy, we wonder?!
If you gush calling Bhansali an artist, his movies oh-so-beautiful, sheer poetry and all that, then Bajirao Mastani won’t disappoint!
5 stars: Loved it. (This could make to top ten movies you must watch before you die!)
4 stars: Liked it. Recommend it. (This will help you sound intellectual and give you stuff to add at water cooler conversations.)
3 stars: Didn’t hurt. Watch it once.
2 stars: It put me to sleep. Watch it if you are an insomniac or a newly wedded couple. Winks!
1 star: Do I even need to explain this?