Bajirao Mastani Movie Review

Friday, December 18, 2015

Realism as a word and theme remains obsolete in the exquisitely crafted world of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's fantasies. Bajirao Mastani has been the noor of his eyes for over a decade and he is dangerously indulgent this time around. Luckily he had actors who were able to carry the weight of his intricate and lofty vision on their able shoulders. Had it not been for Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and even the mesmeric Tanvi Azmi and the mantastic Milind Soman, the film wouldn't even be half as good. We daresay the biggest pitfall is that it suffers from weak writing, so much so that even its romance depends entirely on the chemistry of Ranveer and Deepika for its magical touch. A lot of what the film is made of and what it becomes, is derived from its actors who are top notch in every frame. Suck them out and it is flaccid. Ranveer, especially delivers his career's best performance. What is with that guy and acting. His raving energy, his zest, the perfection in his dialect, his canter, his eyes that speak volumes - Ranveer is superlative. Now this is a performance that catapults him into just another league altogether. Deepika dazzles in her role. She is subtle, fiesty and faultless. And Priyanka is first-rate in her act!
When you get down to decoding what about SLB's films cast that lingering, bewitching spell, you realize it has mainly got to do with the man's vision and his ability to mount his product on a scale with such confidence. The biggest strength of Bajirao Mastani is the faith everyone seems to have on the product. Besides the expense of its opulent set up, palatial backgrounds, detailing in the narrative and the picture-perfect cinematography, it is a painstakingly created labour of love. There is a lot of heart in the story which supersedes everything else and makes the movie Bhansali's most winsome work till date.

He must take pride in the characters he has made his own. Obviously one can have a fair idea about the story of Peshwa Bajirao and domestic woes. But in Bajirao, Bhansali creates a man who loves deeply and wars ferociously. He is strongheaded, sharp, opinionated, unabashed and loyal (as ironical as that sounds). Bhansali's Mastani is a woman of courage, who fights the whole world for the man of her hearts, she woos him 'shamelessly' and wins him over with her passion. It was inventive of him to paint her in such bold strokes and yet give her dignity. The naive and prurient can still perceive her as a homewrecker but the director convinces us that there are no two people who make better soulmates. The pivot of the plot is, however, Kashibai who might be an image of helplessness but it takes such strength for a woman to respect and protect the other woman your man fell in love with.While Bajirao and Mastani overwhelm you, Kashibai steals your heart.
For the entire first half, the film keeps you hooked. Don't be surprised if the popcorn time hits you like a brutal shock. Afterall, who the hell wants a break in the middle of action, drama and high voltage emotion! By the interval point, there is a crescendo of sorts. Post-interval the film feels relatively weak with fewer peaks, lesser action scenes and more heavy-duty ishq-esque (Ghalibish) dialogues, the film feels stretched in the second half. It is then that Ranveer and Deepika come to rescue with their seductive chemistry. It is unbelievable how these two manage to beguile us in a story that can easily be jaded. But they infuse a fresh whiff of energy into the characters we've lost in the pages of our history books. 
It is a tough choice to pick a favourite from this film. Be it Ranveer, Deepika or Priyanka, they are all flawless in their own way. As Ranveer shows his expertise at weaponry and Deepika gives him a solid fight at that, Priyanka's vulnerability is enough to choke you up.There is so much to remember in this film but the most memorable ones are - Kashi and Mastani's altercation on the eve of kumkum-haldi, when Kashi saves Mastani from a fatal plot and when the tug of love brings Bajirao to Mastani's doorstep. It is tough enough to get over the 10 minute long climax scene in which Bajirao and Mastani parallely struggle to reach to each other.
Its gimmicks, its indulgence, its flaws, all blend in by the time the end credits roll. The sweeping visuals, the distracting tapestry, the engaging love story and the unapologetic, unabashed love for the celluloid is what makes Bajirao Mastani haunting. Bajirao Mastani is monumental... Every line has a dialogue polished with care, every shot a dream you are bound to love. SLB has never been this earnest and that's enough to forgive all his aiyashis he has subjected us to. This one is just Mohabbat...straight from the heart. 
We rate this film a 70%


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