Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s eye for detail and his prowess over delivering a visual treat is not unfamiliar. Be it ‘Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela’, ‘Bajirao Mastani’ or his recent outing ‘Padmaavat’, every picture stands true on these parameters and this is no different. Despite the numerous controversies, ‘Padmaavat’ upholds his pride right till the end, staying true to Rajput culture and emerges to strike the right chord.
The story is based on Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s poem ‘Padmaavat’ and the story starts off with a disclaimer stating the same. It all starts with a fabulous introductory scene of Alauddin Khilji, a wicked man with a dire need to lay control over everything beautiful. Ranveer Singh has metamorphosed himself completely into the conniving and evil Khilji and not a single frame you would feel that he’s a misfit. You just end up hating him and fearing for Rani Padmavati who catches his fancy. Rani Padmavati’s beauty with brains combination impresses Chittor’s King Maharawal Ratan Singh and they get married, much to the bemusement of his first wife, Rani Nagmati. When the news of Rani Padmavati’s unimaginable beauty reaches Khilji, he loses control and only yearns to own her.
But, it ain’t easy for the man because Padmavati is a Rajput Queen and Rajputs will rather lay their lives for their pride, than bow down before an enemy. The entire controversy around distortion of Rajput culture should die a slow death because not for once do they ever disrespect or show any negative aspect of the Rajputana culture. It’s all about glorification right till the end, when Rani Padmavati does jauhar to save her pride and dignity from getting defeated by Khilji.
While it’s difficult to imagine Shahid Kapoor and Deepika Padukone as a couple, the duo make for a lovely pair as Rawal Ratan Singh and Rani Padmavati. Anupriya Goenka as Rani Nagmati makes a mark with her restrained performance. Aditi Rao Hydari as Mehrunissa, Khilji’s wife is beautiful and Jim Sarbh as his effeminate slave is impressive. Raza Murad in a small yet pivotal role leaves you spellbound with his appearance. It’s not just the performances that make ‘Padmaavat’ a worthwhile experience, but the beauty of its frames. Every scene leaves you wonderstruck for the sheer beauty and finesse of the camera work, the production design and the background score. The track ‘Ghoomar’ is beautiful to the eyes, while ‘Khalibali’ will leave you awestruck because of Ranveer’s brilliant act. Truly, the man will win you over with his wickedness.
As a story-teller, Bhansali has excelled quite well, however, the tad long runtime of the movie gets a bit tedious in entirety. In a world with less scope for patience, you surely need a good amount of time in hand to silently watch this visual spectacle unfold. On a final note, there is nothing controversial that could irk anyone claiming distortion of any form. So, this should definitely be on every person’s watchlist and preferably in 3D for a better experience.