When one sees “Sanjay Leela Bhansali” written across a film’s poster, then he/she can only guess how the overall structure. It has not changed; the colorful settings, long monologues, narration, love triangle and dragging. Bajirao Mastani is Bhansali’s dream project that was written initially with Salman Khan and Aiswarya Rai in mind. Thankfully the film is shot today and not back then. In spite of having so many similarities with his previous films and historical inaccuracies, the film is a great visual experience.
Bajirao (Ranveer Singh) earns his spot as the Maratha Peshwa (a position equivalent to today’s prime minister) through an archery contest, seemingly Bajirao got it better when he impressed the ruler with a long monologue about his patriotism. Bhansali is no stranger to long monologues from “Kaun kam bardhaash karne ke liye peeta hain?” from Devdas to “Har cheez ka badla liya tab iska kyon nahin?!” in Ram-Leela. Bajirao’s story enfolds around his relationship with his women. Does that sound familiar again? (Devdas) He is married to beautiful and innocent looking Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra). Fate brings him to a determined and intriguing warrior Mastani (Deepika Padukone) who requests him to fight for her state which he obliges. Bajirao, a devoted Hindu who’s fighting for a united Hindu nation is infatuated by the half-Muslim woman Mastani who reciprocates her feelings for him. When Mastani fearlessly expressed her desire to be part of Bajirao’s life, things didn’t go well with his family and the Brahmin community in general.
Now, long before the release of this film, there was a lot of hue and cry since the release of the song “pinga” (that reminds us of “Dola re dola re” from Devdas) the one where both Kashibai and Mastani dance (for their common man). It is a well-choreographed song, however it could have been avoided to have a better flow of the story. The pinnacle of this film is when Bajirao’s views on religious dispute changes after meeting Mastani. He’s no longer rooting for a Hindu nation. Instead, he is focused on defeating his enemies, the ones who harm the integrity of the nation.
Bhansali used up most of his time and budget for art direction. The palace, the war sequences and the majestic settings in the song “Deewani Mastani” (the song that resembles “pyaar kiya toh darna kya” from Mughal -E- Azam) were all top class and the costumes were extravagant. Cinematography, editing style, graphics and visual exceeded beyond expectations and therefore, Bhansali made a visual treat. There are over the top action sequences, but then it is expected from filmmakers while trying to make a movie based on phallocentric theme. Ranveer Singh was controlled unlike his performance in Ram Leela where he gave too much stress to his eye brow. He showed his character evolution from a devoted warrior to a guilt-stricken individual with utmost ease. Priyanka deserves all the praise she is receiving for her steadfast portrayal of a loyal wife who hides her desolation with a smile. We see her emotions in her eyes and gestures. Memorable part is the scene where she talks about how Bajirao took away her pride by marrying Mastani (or by keeping her as concubine) and for keeping it a secret.
Deepika looked stunning in her attires and jewels, at the same she lured in attention whenever she had a sword in her hands. She is a tough warrior who is skilled enough to fight 4 men at once, with her son in her arms. Mastani is a fascinating character who just followed her heart and did what she desired. However, the movie plot is not perfect when it came to the establishment of Bajirao and Mastani’s love. While it has plenty of dragging like in every SLB film, they should have enhanced this affair part more to make it look punchy for the audience. Same thing in terms of the plot holes, for eg: why Mastani’s parents were not involved in the story after her union with Bajirao.
The movie is actually a combination of Hum dil de chuke sanam, Devdas, Mughal E Azam and Ram Leela that resulted in a magnum opus that is better than the mentioned films. Good work from Bhansali and his team, and as much as I appreciate his efforts, I hope that he’ll just change his style altogether and create something innovative.
Featured image amazingwallpapers.net