Padmaavat- Film Review

As for the film, it doesn’t really work. Yes, visually it is stunning with top class production values and a good cast – but it comes to naught thanks to a weak screenplay co-written by Bhansali. The original story didn’t have much depth, to begin with, and it is diluted further here, and the characters are such that you don’t really care for any of them. The film is based on a 16th-century poem by Sufi poet Malik Mohammed Jayasi. In the poem, a parrot played an integral role, in the film it has been replaced by a spiritual guru. But that’s not the only change, there is a very little resemblance to Jayasi’s poem and the film. As for the Raj put valor and pride, there is an overdose in the film and this clearly a one-sided narrative. Which begs the question, what exactly are the protestors on the street against? As they say, you can wake a man if he is sleeping, you can’t wake him if he is pre-tending to sleep. Early on in the film, we are introduced to princess Padmavati (the Central Board for Film Certification and Name Changing has changed the name only in the, not in the rest of the film) played by Deepika. The way she chases a deer, she would have made a good contender for track and field events at the Olympics, had there been Olympics in the 13th century. Her archery skills are highly questionable though – instead of hitting a deer, the arrow injures a king, Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor) of Mewar, who has come to the island kingdom of Singhal (Sri Lanka) in search of pearls. He quickly decides to marry her, and since polygamy was as common in those days in Rajputanaas taxis without meters in the state of Goa today, it all goes smoothly.

Meanwhile,  we are also introduced to Allauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh) who has come all the way from Afghanistan and has already captured Delhi and is looking to expand his reach even further. The film portrays him as a maniac of sorts: he is debauched, kills people at will – he is responsible for at least three severed heads in the film – and has deplorable table manners. He cares two hoots about anyone till he hears about the beauty of Rani Padmavati. He also has a devoted slave Malik Kafur (Jim Sarbh) who becomes his General. At one point, Kafur even breaks into song while his master is in the bathtub. Their exact relationship appears to be more queer than clear. Since he seems to have nothing better to do, Khilji lays siege to the fortress city of Chittor – all for a woman he has never seen. Many a man has done ridiculous things for love, but this could well be one of man’s more expensive follies as far as this continent is concerned. While the enemy is camped outside, within the fortress, everyone is celebrating everything from Diwali to Holi – it’s a Bhansali film, in case you have forgotten – and if there is no reason for color and light, a reason has to be created.

Padmavati is shown wearing so much jewelry that I suspect it was responsible for 50 percent of her gross weight at that time. But it all comes to an end after a long fight the king is dead thanks to permeable armor which can be attributed to a faulty procurement system his army. The women of the palace, led by Padmavati, jump into a rather big pyre in ultra slow motion (hey, we want you to feel the emotion while the women, including a pregnant one, all of them dressed in bridal red, head towards the fire). Cinema, at times, is about manipulation of emotions but a good film doesn’t do it so blatantly. What stands out ultimately, are the sets and the cinematography. All that opulence is fine – but where is the story, where is the drama and what about the characters? The war scenes look very ordinary; we have seen better stuff before. As for the dialogues, there is one which goes, “Loha hi lohe ko katta hain” or something to that effect. Now, where have I heard that before? Of the cast, there isn’t much chemistry between Shahid Ka-poor and Deepika Padukone; the lady though manages to hold the fort, figuratively speaking that is, in every scene. Ranveer Singh meanwhile has a whale of a time portraying Khilji; he adds a certain quirkiness which perhaps didn’t exist in the real life person but is fun to watch all the same. The only reason to watch this film is the Extravagance — the sets and the costumes. But 2 hours and 43 minutes is a long time to watch heavy jewelry and splashing fountains.

Film Review: Sachin Chatte