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)

Official Trailer : Padmavati

PadmaavatThe much-awaited trailer of director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmavati was released today. The Movie features Deepika Padukone in the title role as Rani Padmini, alongside Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, and Aditi Rao Hydari.

Slated for a December 1 release, Padmavati tells the story of Alauddin Khilji who desired a Rajput queen called Padmavati. Padmavati was the queen of Chittor and she is believed to have killed herself rather than letting Khilji capture her.

“Padmavati” releases on 1st December 2017 till then enjoy the Official Trailer…

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12 Years Of Black

“Black” which released on 4th Feb 2005, has become an iconic movie for Bollywood..

Written by Sanjay Leela Bhansali & Bhavani Iyer, “Black” was loosely based on the English movie “The Miracle Worker” which released in 1962. It told the story of the bond and relationship of a deaf & dumb girl Michelle McNally (Rani Mukherjee) and her teacher Debraj Sahai (Amitabh Bachchan). Dialogues were written by Prakash Kapadia.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali thought of the idea of “Black” while preparing for his first movie “Khamoshi-The Musical” which released in 1996, but it was only after “Devdas” which released in 2002 that Sanjay actually went ahead with “Black”. It is said that Sanjay Leela Bhansali wanted to make “Bajirao Mastaani” after “Devdas” with the cast comprising of Salman Khan as Bajirao, Aishwarya Rai as Mastaani and Rani Mukherjee as Kashi Bai, but due to personal conflict between Salman and Aishwarya the movie was scrapped, so Sanjay decided to make a low budget quickie and that is how “Black” was made.

12 Years Of Black

 

The principal cast comprised of Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukehrjee, Ayesha Kapoor, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Shernaz Patel, Nandana Sen and Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal. It is said that Rani Mukherjee was initially not very keen to play the role of Michelle as she was not very confident of doing justice to such a difficult role, but it was Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s belief in her that changed her mind and eventually she played the character of Michelle.

“Black” faced many hurdles during its production, one of the major setbacks was a fire which broke on the set of “Black” and destroyed the entire set erected in Film City. The production team had to re-create the sets from a scratch to resume the shoot. Another setback was during the outdoor at Shimla, for a particular sequence snow fall was to be depicted, but though the shooting was happening in January when it snows in Shimla, there was no snow falls that year. So to depict snow fall, snow making machines where used with sacks of salt which substituted for snow, but when you see the sequence you will not realize that it was fake snow. The major setback was when Sanjay did not get teh permission to shoot the indoor sequences in a vintage villa; hence a mammoth task was assigned to art director Omung Kumar to re-create the interiors of a pre-independence vintage villa in Film City, Mumbai.

“Black” was critical and a box office success, though being an unusual concept. Amitabh Bachchan was seen in a completely different avatar in the movie, far removed from his super star persona. “Black” fetched Amitabh Bachchan his second National Award for Best Actor, earlier he got his first National Award for Agneepath. Additionally Amitabh won all the major awards for Best Actor including Filmfare for that year. Since “Black” Amitabh has done some path breaking roles in Cheeni Kum,  Paa, Piku and Pink out of which Amitabh Bachchan has received National Awards for Paa & Piku.

“Black” catapulted Rani Mukherjee to the league of good actresses and also consolidated her position in Bollywood. She won all the major awards for “Best Actress” including the Filmfare Award for “Black”. Another actor who created a mark with “Black” was Ayesha Kapoor who played the kid Michelle. Ayesha received the Filmfare award for Best Supporting Actor Female category.

Ravi K Chandran will be remembered for his brilliant cinematography of “Black”. He swept all the awards for Best Cinematography for that year including a Filmfare award.

“Black” won 11 Filmfare awards, making “Black” the movie which has received the maximum no. of Filmfare Awards till date.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali who is famous for his music and extravagant song sequences, surprisingly did not have a single song in Black, but still it captured the hearts of the audience till today.

“Black” I think is the best movie that Sanjay Leela Bhansali made till date. The movie had the correct emotional content which was shot with technical finesse and the performance from the entire cast was just magical.

“Black” is and will remain a cult classic for Indian Film Industry, and it is one of the “Must Watch” movies of Bollywood…

Watch the movie trailer of “Black”

Movie Review: Bajirao Mastani

Bajirao Mastani: Epic Love Story of Epic Proportion

Sanjay Leela Bhansali movies are always larger than life both in scale and grandeur, with “Bajirao Mastani”, Sanjay Leela Bhansali outdid himself in scale, grandeur and histrionics…

Technically this is Sanjay Leela Bhansali first political love story which is straight from history, and such subjects are like walking on tight rope where a slight slip tends to ruin the entire movie. But fortunately Sanjay balances the fact and the fiction very well and does complete justice to the subject…

“Bajirao Mastani” is based on Marathi novel “Rau” written by N.S. Inamdar, which has been adapted by Prakash Kapadia. Prakash’s screenplay keeps the entertainment quotient alive with the right balance fact and fiction. He blends the then political scenario in Peshwa and the love story beautifully. Each character has been chalked out well and has a purpose in the larger scheme of things. The research gone behind the script is quite obvious right from the first frame. Another plus about the screenplay is though the characters are larger than life but still they have been given humane side to it which makes the story more relatable. Each character has been sketched with their shortcomings and vulnerabilities and that makes it more endearing. The pace of the movie is one of its biggest plus for Prakash Kapadia, who did not slow done the pace even once making it worth 2 and half hour. Though one thing I missed in the writing was the passion in the love story, Prakash could have put some more effort on the love story of the Peshwa and Mastani….

One of the biggest highlight of the movie is its dialogues and Prakash has taken special care of making the dialogues sound more relatable though it has heavy duty drama to it. The dialect has been given special emphasis, the characters from the Peshwa, right from Bajirao, to Kashibai, to Bajirao’s mother Radhabai has been given a maharashtrian dialect even when they are mouthing hindi dialogues, and Mastani has been given Urdu dialogues with a Hindustani dialect.

Now the ensemble cast which makes the movie grow above the grandeur and scale. Starting with Ranveer Singh who epitomizes Peshwa Bajirao to the hilt, the body language to his dialect, everything is just apt. It shows that Ranveer has actually lived the character throughout, and off course is one of his best performances till date, and as far as the movie is concerned it is the best. He not only portrays the larger than life Peshwa well but the vulnerabilities of the character has been grasped and performed well by Ranveer, especially the climax sequence. Deepika Padukone as Mastani complements the energy of the Peshwa with a much more restrained and surreal performance, she talks more through her eyes than through words. But where the hit pair of Ranveer and Deepika missed the plot is the chemistry, it was not the same as it was in “Ram Leela”. Priyanka Chopra as Kashibai steals the show and hearts as well; her portrayal of a strong yet shy, vulnerable yet commanding wife of Peshwa just took away all the sympathy. Priyanka acted and looked like Peshwa’s wife and stole our hearts. Radhabai, Bajirao’s mother, a role which was tailor made for Tanvi Azmi, she comes on her own in this movie or rather I must say her true potential has been exploited in this movie. Rest of the cast like Milind Soman,  Aditya Pancholi, Mahesh Manjrekar, Vaibhav Tatwawdi all do a splendid job…

One thing that makes “Bajirao Mastani” a masterpiece is its cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee, every frame is like a painting, there is not a single frame which looks ordinary, every frame is opulent and enhances the visual quotient of the movie. Sudeep has done an excellent bringing Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s vision to life on celluloid.

To make the visuals opulent the production design by Salomi Dhatrak, Sriram Iyengar & Sujeet Sawant has played a key role. Re-creating an era gone by was no mean task but sets looks so real as if it has been shot on location.

Another big contributor to create the magic in the movie are its costumes by Maxima Basu and Anju Modi. Every costume is a detailed work on the period the movie is based on and the jewellery just enhances the costumes more, every piece of jewellery shows the research and study that has gone behind it.

The music by Sanjay Leela Bhansali himself brings back the melody in Bollywood, from the classical “Mohe Rang Do Lal” & “Albela Sajan” to the foot tapping “Pinga” & “Malhari” to soft “Deewani Mastani” to “Aayat” which is a sufi song, every track ahs a different flavor and character which complements the era and re-discovers the folk flavor of Maharashtra. Definitely one of the best albums of Bollywood for 2015…

To complement the music the choreography just lifts the songs to a different level, “Mohe Rang De Lal” choreographed by Pt. Birju Maharaj is pure Kathak, “Pinga” choreographed by Remo is in lavani style, “Deewani Mastani” is mujra…in short every song has been shot as a classic….

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has definitely outdid himself with “Bajirao Mastani” as far as the grandeur and scale goes, but he has been successful in keeping the humane touch to the otherwise opulent presentation, definitely a classic which will grow with time….definitely a “MUST WATCH”….I will go with 4 stars….

Movie Rating: (4 / 5)

Official Trailer: Bajirao Mastani

Official_Trailer_Bajirao_MastaniSanjay Leela Bhasali is back with his new magnum opus “Bajirao Mastani” , based on the book “Baji Rao 1, The Second Hereditary Peshwa of Maratha Empire” which is based on the life of Peshwa Bajirao Peshwa 1 and his second wife Mastani….

Sanjay Leela Bhansali wanted to make “Bajirao Mastani” just after “Devdas” (2002) in 2003, and the original cast was Salman Khan & Aishwarya Rai as Bajirao and Mastani respectively, Rani Mukherjee was supposed to play Peshwa’s first wife Kashi Bai. But due to Salman and Aishwarya’s break up, Kareena Kapoor was considered for the role of Mastani, but since they did other movies as a pair Sanjay Leela Bhansali scrapped the idea to make the movie in 2003….

But after the stupendous success of  “Goliyon Ki Raas Leela Ram Leela” , Sanjay Bhansali decided to make “Bajirao Mastani” by casting the successful pairing of Ranveer Singh & Deepika Padukone in the titular role of Bajirao and Mastani respectively, and Priyanka Chopra plays the role of Peshwa’s first wife Kashi Bai….

The rest of ensemble cast comprises of Tanvi Azmi, Sukhanda Khandkekar, Anuja Gokhale, Mahesh Manjrekar, Vaibbhav Tatwawdi, Milind Soman, Ayush Tandon & Sanjay Mishra…

The story has been adapted and screenplay written by Prakash Kapadia. The cinematography is by Sudeep Chatterjee….

The melodious music has been composed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali himself…..all the released three songs Gajanana, Deewani Mastani and Pinga have been a hit….

The movie has been produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Kishore Lulla and distributed by Eros International….

The trailer gives us a peek of the magnum opus, and it looks like the larger than life Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie…from sets to costumes, everything looks spectacular….

The movie releases on 18th Dec’15…

 

Movie Review : Mary Kom

Mary Kom: An Inspiring story with a Sincere Effort

Many times when you watch a movie especially a biopic which has an inspiring story you may overlook the flaws and technicalities, such was my experience with “Mary Kom”.

Debutant Director Omung Kumar brings life the story of Boxing Champion “Mary Kom”. The story & screenplay of Saiwyn Qadras charts the Mary Kom Reviewjourney of a daughter of a simple farmer Mangte Chungneijang from Manipur to becoming the 5 times World Champion MC Mary Kom or Magnificent Mary as she is called.

Saiwyn’s screenplay is shaky in the beginning but concludes on a high note. The first half looks more like a collage of incidents in Mary Kom’s life put on celluloid with no cohesiveness in the narration and everything is shown in a hurry which does not have any emotional connect, but in the second half the movie takes a 360 degree turn in the narration and shows us Mary Kom’s comeback after becoming a mother. The second half the narration shows a lot of depth and emotions which are depicted well concluding the movie to a high octane dramatic end. Though a lot of people will find the climax a bit dramatic but the bottom-line is at the end it strikes the right cord and you come out being proud of Mary Kom and her achievements. The other flaw in the script is that it does not delve deep in the other character’s storyline.

The dialogues by Ramendra Vashishtha and Karan Singh Rathore is good but quite inconsistent in the getting the language and the dialect right. Though the dialogues has a few Manipuri words being used but sometimes the dialect and language of the principal cast look a bit out of place especially Mary Kom’s character.

Omung Kumar’s direction is sincere and honest and it comes through in the narration especially in the second half. The one flaw in Omung’s direction is his hurried narration; he should have paid more heed to the characterization of other principal characters other than Mary Kom’s. Though being Omung’s first film as a director and choosing a biopic as a subject really needs a lot of conviction, and he shows the spark as a director.

Performance wise it is definitely Priyanka Chopra all the way. She is sincere in her portrayal as a boxer Mary Kom, her whole transformation from a glam doll to a boxer physically right from the body language to the way she talks is to be seen to believe. Frankly I had my reservations about Priyanka portraying the role but she has really surprised me with her portrayal. Another stand out performance is of Darshan Kumaar who plays Onler Kom, Mary’s husband the real pillar of strength in the boxer’s life. Darshan ‘s underplaying the portrayal gives the needed depth required, an actor to watch out for. Sunil Thapa as Mary’s coach does a good job.

I have to mention the makeup artist Subhash Shinde who really did a marvelous job of Priyanka’s transformation to Mary Kom, minute details like skin pigmentation etc has been taken care of. The production design by Omung’s wife Vanita Omung Kumar is realistic and convincing. Stunts by Parvez Shaikh and boxing choreography by Robert Miller bring the required authenticity and thrills in the boxing sequences.

Although it is not a “Million Dollar Baby”, but it is definitely an applauding attempt which is worth a watch, I will go with Three and a Half Stars…..

Movie Rating: (3.5 / 5)

Trivia Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s DEVDAS

TRIVIA….Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s DEVDAS went over budget due to its lavish sets….for more details read below…

 

Trivia 7

Trivia Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s DEVDAS

TRIVIA….Did you know how much time it took to compose the songs of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Devdas“…..Read Below

 

Trivia 5

Trailer Devdas (2002)

NOSTALGIA….Trailer of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus “DEVDAS“…released on 12th July 2002…based on the novel of Sarat Chandra Chottopadyay this movie is remembered for its grand scale sets, its dialogues and its music which still is famous even after 12 years….

Review : Rowdy Rathore

Rowdy Rathore: Trash Unlimited

“Rowdy Rathore” co-produced by UTV and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, directed by Prabhu Deva redefines trash. It is Imagetrue South remake with dollops of mindless action, cleavage show, loud music, disjointed screenplay etc. “Rowdy Rathod” has everything which can be termed as cheap & trash.

The story or should I say the lack of it is straight out of a 80’s pot boiler, the lead actor Akshay Kumar has double role, one a honest Cop and other a con man, can’t be more predictable than this. The honest cop Vijay Rathod, is posted in a small town of Bihar Devgarh, which is ruled by local goon Bapji(Nasser) and his brother. The honest Cop makes life hell for the goon. The goon attacks the Cop and kills him, wait there is a twist actually he is not dead and he is taken to a hakim by his colleagues and then to Mumbai for further treatment which the goon is completely unaware. Mumbai is the city wherein the “Humshakal” con man Shiva lives and he is mistaken as the cop. After a lot of drama the con man is persuaded to go to Devgarh as the cop who is now dead, then as expected the con man has a “Hriday Parivartan” and takes revenge from the goon and everybody live happily ever after. CONFUSED, well I said there is strictly “NO STORY”.

The screenplay is full of senseless action, songs which just comes with no relevance. The comedy track is utterly cheap. I am shocked a renowned production house like UTV and a director like Sanjay Leela Bhansali can even support such a “TRASH”.

Acting is replaced by hamming, Akshay Kumar hams throughout, Sonakshi Sinha is there only for the songs and pelvic thrusts. A actor like Naseer is wasted, rest of the cast are over the top.
The music is targeted to the front benchers which Sajid Wajid has mastered by now. The lyrics are senseless. With Prabhu Deva as the director we expect good choreography but SAD the dances are cheap & vulgar with only pelvic thrusts.

Overall “Rowdy Rathod” is definitely not a movie of 2012, it is from the genre of 1980’s trash pot boilers, but it still had an element of entertainment. But unfortunately “Rowdy Rathod” is far from being entertaining. “ONE STAR” from me….