Movie Review: Padmaavat

Padmaavat: An Epic made in an Epic Proportion

The second name to Grand and opulent cinema is Sanjay Leela Bhansali. His vision is of a large canvas with larger than life characters and if it is historic then nobody can match Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s finesse today, a true successor to K Asif.

The cinematic adaptation of “Padmaavat” the epic poem written by Mallik Muhammad Jayasi on Queen Padmavati could not have been done by any Padmaavatother film maker other than Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

“Padmaavat” which is based on the epic poem with few tweaks, though story line wise it is wafer thin but the screenplay by Sanjay Leela Bhansali himself and Prakash Kapadia kind of makes up for the thin plot. Every sequence is written keeping in mind the opulence and larger than life presentation on screen. The characters especially the three prime subjects Queen Padmavati, Maharawal Ratan Singh and the antagonist Allauddin Khilji are written with a specific characteristics and it is prevalent in the movie throughout. Even some of the support characters are so beautifully written that they do stay in your mind even after the movie is done and over, like the character of Mehrunisa, wife of Allauddin Khilji or the loyal slave of Allauddin Khilji, Mallik Kafur. Each character is justified in the screenplay. The screenplay is lucid, but where it falters is the connectivity with each sequence. It feels like the screenplay is a series of events put in chronological order with no connection what so ever. This disconnects the emotional connect with the story. Nevertheless the second half and its pace saves the day, especially the climax sequence of Jouhar keeps you invested till the last frame. But I still feel that run time could have been reduced by good 15 minutes. The song sequences hamper the flow and look forced, which is unlike Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s previous movies wherein music has played a pivotal role in the overall screenplay.

Prakash Kapadia again scores high in dialoguebaazi which is again a highlight of any Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie, and Padmaavat keeps the tradition alive. Prakash gives quite heavy dialogues but it does not sound preachy or cheesy, rather it complements with the proceedings on screen.

It is definitely the performances that play a pivotal role in making “Padmaavat” a treat to watch. Starting with the antagonist played by Ranveer Singh, Ranveer plays Allauddin Khilji with panache and effortless fervor. The madness that Ranveer brings to the character adds to the nastiness of the character and the only emotion that comes in your mind is HATE for the character. Ranveer will definitely be the toast of the next award season for sure. Now coming to our main protagonist Queen Padmavati played by Deepika Padukone, Deepika brings the right combination of innocence and brains to the character beautifully. Though in the first half she is more of a beauty but by the second half Deepika with her performance epitomizes Queen Padmavati and kills it in the final sequence. Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh shows a lot of restraint in his performance which was required for the character. Shahid owns the character and gives a convincing performance and mouths the heavy duty dialogues with élan and conviction without sounding cheesy. Aditi Rao Haidri as Mehrunisa looks and acts beautifully. Jim Sarbh as Mallik Kafur the Bisexual Slave, gives the much needed edge to his character. Other actors like Raza Murad, Anupriya Goenka, Veena Mehta, Ayam Mehta and other supporting cast do their best.

Every frame of “Padmaavat” is like a canvas with right colors and opulence, and the complete credit goes to Cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee and Production Designers Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty. Sudeep Chatterjee’s genius camera work creates the magic on screen and every frame looks spectacular. Production Design by Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty add the colour to the frames with the detailed and larger than life sets which brings the whole frame lively.

Costume Design by Maxima Basu, Harpreet Rimple and Chandrakant Sonawane bring the characters live with their detailed and intricate costumes. The jewellery needs a special mention, each and every piece of jewellery is apt and does not look jarred and it adds on to the costume.

“Padmaavat” may not be Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s best as far as music goes, other than the “Ghoomar” song; none of the other songs make any impact.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali yet again proves that he is a master of larger than life story telling, though he misses the emotional quotient in this movie but somehow manages it with the grandeur and opulence and justifies the budget completely.

“Padmaavat” is definitely not Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s best but still is better than some of his previous movies. I will go with 4 stars.

Movie Rating: (4 / 5)