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Padmaavat: A fairy-tale on big screen

Kamaal Rashid Khan
Filed on January 25, 2018
Padmaavat: A fairy-tale on big screen

Padmaavat is nothing less than a fairy-tale unfolding on screen. The much controversial movie, certainly lives up to the Sanjay Leela Bhansali magic, but leaves the audience contemplating. So, what's missing?

The movie is set in 1300 AD India, and is based on the Sufi poem Padmaavat written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540 AD. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has added his own imagination and interpretation of the poem to create a larger than life spectacle. However, it seems he got carried away by the lofty historical story and added too much of sheen to the characters that it all looks superfluous.

The story of Rani Padmavati has been around for generations now. The beauty and valour of Queen Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) reaches the Sultan of Hindustan - Allaudin Khilji (Ranveer Singh). Padmavati is the wife of Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor) of Chittor who is the Rajput ruler of Mewar.

Khilji is a tyrant and desires to possess the queen with all his might. He attacks the fortress of Chittorgarh, but after fighting the Rajput king for six months he returns without victory or Padvamati. His fury engulfs into raging fire and his lust for Padmavati becomes even stronger. Khilji attacks Chittor again, this time with more might and a larger army and manages to breach the fortress to lay his hands on the queen. But Padmavati decides not to give up her pride, dignity and respect and does 'jauhar' - jumping into a fire with hundreds of women from the palace.

Though, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has once again captivated the audience with his magnanimous depiction of history, however, the overly done drama makes the movie appear like Ram Leela - II. It cultivates into a mix of Ram Leela and Bahubali, and this is quite perplexing!

Also, the climax scene where Khilji kills the Mewar king and enters the fortress, looking for Padmavati, has been stretched too much, and it suddenly ends with the queen shown performing 'jauhar'.

Screenplay
The screenplay is too slow. It picks up in the second half with Deepika then getting to showcase her acting prowess.

Dialogues
The dialogues could have been much better. With a film by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the audience expects a few lines which qualify to be 'immortal'. If compared to the epic Mughal-e-Azam, Padmaavat does not even amount to 10 per cent of that film, and it's 40 per cent of Bajirao Mastani.

Music
Music in a Bhansali movie is something to look forward to. But here, not all songs are appealing except for the Ghoomar song. Also, it is unrealistic for a crude king smitten by lust to sing out of yearning!

Action
Action in Padmaavat is negligent. The director fails to do justice to action in the movie which is an important element in any love-war saga. Considering it is a war-epic, the audience would expect a fairly good battle to watch on screen. It seems Bhansali has spent entirely on the lavish movie sets and hi-tech scenes, and assumed a medieval era battle is not worth showing -  is it? Bhansali has left it to the audiences' imagination when it comes to certain important scenes in a bid to save on the movie's budget. For example, he shows over 800 'dolis' going to Delhi but on screen hardly half of the 'dolis' can be seen.

Acting
For Ranveer Singh, it seems he still lives in his Ram Leela avatar and has not come out of it yet. Though he has done a good job, there is nothing new to look forward to for Ranveer. Also, after Bajirao Mastani, audience expect to see much more from Ranveer but his acting skills fail to go beyond Bajirao Mastani.
Shahid Kapoor has tried his best to do justice to his role as king of Mewar. But sadly he is unable to live up to the stature of a ruler. He looks immature for the role and Shahid and Deepika do not make an attractive pair. Deepika has done commendable job in the movie, but again like Ranveer, she too fails to go beyond Bajirao Mastani.
Khilji's aide in the movie played by Jim Sarbh, and Khilji's wife played by Aditi Rao Hydari, have both done commendable jobs.

Editing
With such a big movie, it seems the editor had no scope to edit even a bit. However, even if the movie was edited or cut 15 minutes less then it wouldn't have been a problem.

Direction
Sanjay Leela Bhansali certainly has been able to give a larger-than life-movie with Padmaavat. However, he has not been able to capture the essence and emotions like Bajirao Mastani.

Verdict
The movie is a great watch, but leaves the audience with a feeling of void. There is nothing which could make the audience cry or laugh. However, if you are a Ranveer, Deepika or Shahid fan, then this Bhansali epic will certainly bowl you over!

Stars
2.5 stars

Watch video review on YouTube.com/user/KRKLive
 





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