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'Padmaavat' Review: Visual Spectacle

'Padmaavat' Review: Visual Spectacle

Movie: Padmaavat
Rating: 2.75/5
Banner:
Bhansali Productions, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Aditi Rao Hydari, Jim Sarbh
Written by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Prakash Kapadia
Cinematography: Sudeep Chatterjee
Producers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ajit Andhare
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Release date: 25 January 2018

The film is probably the most spoken-about movie in recent times. From the menacing look of Ranveer Singh, to the restrained and ethereal portrayal of Shahid Kapoor and Deepika Padukone respectively, much has been written about the film.

After a lot of controversies, Sanjay Leela Bhasali's epic hits the screens finally.

Let's check out how the film has shaped up...

Story:
A visual delight for the audience, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's classic epic Padmaavat is an on-screen marvel. At its core, the story rides on the age-old premise of the good winning over the evil.

Based on a poem by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, the film set in 13th century is a compelling tale of love between Maharana Rawal Ratan Singh and Rani Padmavati and the mad obsession of Alauddin Khilji for the Sinhalese queen.

Performances:
Deepika Padukone plays the beautiful queen Rani Padmavati, whose beauty once inspired the bards.

As the consort of Maharana Rawal Ratan Singh, Deepika is probably at her best. She brings grace and dignity to her character with her subtle performance through out.

Despite the presence of two talented co-stars, Deepika manages to hold forth her exuberance and totally justifies the responsibility placed on her by the director and the script.

Shahid Kapoor as Rawal Ratan Singh disappoints though. For much of the film, he appears bewildered as his character talks about Rajput aan and maryada.

And as one watches the film, one cannot help wondering if he is a match to the towering Khilji.

Ranveer Singh by far gets to play the 'meatier' role in the film as the sultan of Khilji dynasty. He is at his menacing best snarling and roaring his way through the scenes. He completely plays up to the director's vision and makes for an interesting watch on-screen.

From the rest of the cast, Jim Sarbh who was last seen in Neerja, once again leaves his mark as the eunuch slave of Khilji. He too in keeping with his character, pulls off the role perfectly highlighting the tension of probably being in love with Khilji.

Aditi Rao Hydari, as the wife of Khilji, gets a brief role, but she plays it with maturity.

Technical Excellence:
The film is an out and out Bhansali film. The director promises a visual treat to his viewers and that is what he delivers. For the entire run time, the director retains a poetic exuberance he is known for.

He seems totally in control of the scale and grandeur expected of an epic tale and sets out to translate his vision on to the screen, be it in showing the tender intimate moments between Maharana and queen Padmavati or the hardened, diabolic nature of Khilji or the elaborate war scenes.

Apart from direction, Bhansali is also involved in the music department and the much-written Ghoomar song is indeed a visual treat. Of course, post Bajirao Mastani, one expects a little more from Bhansali, but he nevertheless manages to enchant his audiences all over again.

In Padmaavat, he adds lots of colour and depth to his characters.

One can almost feel the rich textures used by the costume designers Rimple and Harpreet Narula to retain the authenticity of the period.

Cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee proves once again why he's one of the best in the business. The art direction is brilliant.

Analysis:
'Padmaavat' draws you into its world within the first few moments, transporting you to Maharaja's courtyard, or the Rani's chambers, and even to the war sequences -- but most importantly, it takes you into the mind and heart of Khilji, where he grapples with greed of power and lust for women. 

Directed magnificently by Bhansali, he strings along some brilliant moments between its principal characters. For instance, there are these delicately handled romantic sequences between the Maharana and Padmavati. Or the first time, Maharana and Khilji come face to face. These are moments that show the mark of Bhansali.

Surely, Bhansali has picked the best for his team to visualize his dream and they do complete justice to bring forth the splendor and extravagance of 13th century Rajputana.

Of course, the superlative acting by the trio is his trump card. As the part-feisty-part-graceful Rani Padmavati, Padukone is wonderfully restrained and uses her eyes to emote, making this one of her finest outings on screen. 

With his understated act, Shahid Kapoor stands tall in each frame. But it is Ranveer who walks away with all the applause. Aided by a character that has multiple layers and is the best written of the leads, he sinks his teeth into the meaty role and makes it his own.

While the characters infuse life into the script, it falters due to too many loose ends. The biggest shortcoming though is that it fails to connect at an emotional level. Bhansali fails to do complete justice to no one emotion, be it love, war or obsession.

Also, the final scene where Deepika Padukone explains why she commits jauhar along with other women and children, will definitely not go well with audiences in today's times.

The climax showdown between Khilji and Ratan Singh, which had a lot of scope for sparks flying, ends in a whimper.

Probably, that is the biggest problem of Bhansali's Padmaavat. It seems disinterested in exploring the grandiose that a film of such magnitude promises or the makers were so caught up in characterization, that they have lost out on giving the period drama the treatment it truly deserved.

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