Padmaavat or Let’s play Dress up.
Post Bajirao Mastani Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB) probably had some free time on hand. I am guessing he watched GoT, 300 and even Bahubali. Supercharged by them all he decided he would make something similar, an extravagant costume drama, but with an Indian Twist.
Rani Padmavati was the name that came to mind. Her beauty, her valour, her sacrifice would be the perfect setting for a costume drama would have been the thought.
The main character was cast, but hey, this is a Hindi Movie plot! A heroine without a hero and a villain is like a Vada Pav without the Pav and fried Mirchi, Edible and delicious by itself but better with accompaniments. So history was plundered, apologies, history books were plundered and the Mr and a Villain were chosen.
Now for the casting.
With the seasonal changes and viral flu in the air SLB probably was down with a cold and conjunctivitis when he cast Shahid Kapoor as King Ratan. My heart went out to Shahid as he tried his best to fit into a role clearly NOT meant for him. Shahid is naturally slim and he looks puny and nowhere what a Rajput should look like. Worse still, being cast against the Amazonian Deepika.
Ranveer is aptly cast, but took the role way too seriously. There is a fine line between being villainous and being a buffoon. Ranveer crossed both, to achieve ridiculous. Over exaggerated facial expressions and annoying mannerisms had me rolling my eyes and thinking, ‘Yeh aa gaya phir se pagal!’ each time he appeared on screen.
Deepika Padukone playing the title role holds the film on her able shoulders, despite a weak script. She looked good, despite watering eyes in every close up shot. I also wondered what happened to the dusky complexion and the unibrow in the posters as she is milky white with a whimsical unibrow that appears and disappears in the film.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali set out to make a costume drama and he succeeded in getting the costume bit right. The drama was to be found only in the concluding scene- the Jauhar scene that brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. The grandeur and the emotion in that one scene is awe inspiring.
Otherwise Padmaavat is just a story we read in the papers everyday, about an uninterested woman being stalked by a paramour who refuses to take no for an answer.
P:S: If you are wondering about the dropped ‘I’ in the title, it signifies the lack of intelligence is making what could have been a movie to remember. I suggest you leave yours behind as well before you watch it.
P:P:S: I am a HUGE Sanjay Leela Bhansali fan and I was heartbroken when I finally saw the much awaited Padmaavat.
2 ** Stars for Padmaavat
*M’s Rating Chart.
* I want my money back + a fully booked and paid 3 month trip to _________(please fill in a destination of choice)
** I don’t want my money back even though I didn’t like the movie, but director/producer may please pay for my popcorn/samosa/parking.
*** Time and money both well spent!
**** Loved it!
***** Whistle, clap, even smile at irritating neighbor-who-kept-talking-on-cell phone and extol virtues of the movie.