- Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
- Cast: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh, Aditi Rao Hydari
- Running Time: 2hrs 43mins
- Rating: ★★★½
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus ‘Padmaavat’ is a heady mix of colour and valour. The filmmaker mounts a movie of epic proportions that dazzles you with its spectacular visual finesse. Padmaavat makes for a grandiose and larger than life cinematic experience – a style that Sanjay Leela Bhansali has truly mastered.
It’s of magnificent royalty, opulence, breathtaking costumes and beautifully crafted frames. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s mastery over color, scale, and visuals is his stronghold and he presents every frame as a stunning work of art. Sudeep Chatterjee’s brilliant cinematography and the outstanding special effects and CGI are a cut above the rest.
Based on the 16th century poem by Malik Muhammed Jayasi, Padmaavat- the film centers on the legend of Rani Padmavati. It’s the pristine love story of Rani Padmavati and Raja Ratan Singh, that must withstand Sultan Allaudin Khilji’s manic obsession of attaining the Queen for himself.
As the monstrous and barbaric Afghan ruler, Allaudin Khilji, Ranveer Singh sinks his teeth into his character. He lets loose a blazing performance – as the wild haired, ruthless ruler whose lust for power and women egg him on. Ranveer’s transformation is commendable as the formidable Khilji – one that instantly convinces you to hate his character. Khilji plays by no rules in war and lust – what he sees and likes – he must have –“Har Naayab Cheez par Allaudin ka Haq hain”, he says in the film. And Ranveer’s portrayal spells out every bit of the evil and eccentric ruler, whose relationship with his effeminate man-slave, Malik Kafur (Jim Sarbh) is riddled with sexual undertones – and they share some interesting, layered interactions through the film. With menacing eyes and deep cut scars on his face, Ranveer Singh overpowers the screen. Though in some instances – his performance does cross the thin line and step into a caricaturish zone – his ‘Khalbali’ dance with wild abandon being one such. Thankfully these instances are few and far between. For the most part, he enthralls with his searing act and literally breathes fire into his character.
Shahid Kapoor as Raja Ratan Singh, the ruler of Mewar is the surprise package in the film – with intense kohl rimmed eyes and an understated performance – he stands tall in every scene. Restrained yet regal – he is every bit the Rajput royalty that he portrays as Raja Ratan Singh and delivers a performance that’s going to steal many hearts! Shahid and Deepika share a simmering chemistry from the word go – definitely a pair that must share more screen space together.
Deepika in one word is ethereal. She carries off the look of a royal queen with unmatched elegance and impresses with the quiet determination of her character. Her dramatic eyes speak volumes and the second half of the film, really sees her character blossom as a queen with political acumen and sharp war tactics.
Padmaavat clearly scores with its splendid spectacle but the film’s lengthy run-time is certainly a sore point. And while the climax of the film is dramatically picturised, the glorification of Jauhar, especially in today’s times leaves a disturbing note. Of course, seen in the context of its period – Padmaavat depicts a tale of courage and valour. Watch it for its arresting war sequences, impressive performances – the debauchery of Khilji versus the upright, graciousness of the Rajput royals, the gorgeous costumes crafted by Rimple, Harpreet Narula and Maxima Basu for this epic period drama and a full blown Bhansali experience in 3D.