Bajirao Mastani : Visually Awe Inspiring, Lyrical and intriguing story with flawed narrative
Bajirao Mastani is a story which very few people know about. It is a story of a worthy warrior with an incredible star-crossed love story, which sheds light on the socio-political and religious undercurrents of that era. It is a story which must be told and witnessed.
For the same reason, Sanjay Leela Bhansali had kept it close to his heart for last 12 years. Bajirao Balaji Ballal (Ranveer Singh) was a Peshwa (Prime Minister) of Maratha Emperor Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj (Mahesh Manjrekar). He was an incredible warrior who remained undefeated in all the 41 battles he fought with Muslim Empires. During his support in a battle to defend Maharaja Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand, the Maharaja’s daughter Mastani (Deepika Padukone) falls in love with Bajirao. She leaves her home and follows Bajirao to Pune but is never accepted by his family as a lawfully wedded wife to Bajirao, even after repeated attempts by the Peshwa for the same.
Based on a novel named “Rau”, written by N. S. Inamdar, the tale of Bajirao-Mastani has every masala which is required to make an intriguing movie. But unfortunately the screenplay by Prakash Kapadia fails to make the narrative interesting. Everything looks grand, every performance is amazing but there is a lack of connect which is inexplicable. But the same writer has given the best dialogues since decades. Every dialogue is lyrical and has literary quality. One should watch the movie just for these dialogues.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali has done a humongous job of implementing a his enormous vision on the celluloid. He has taken every department of movie production to another level. Be it production design, costume design, cinematography, color correction et all, he made every team member excel in their jobs.
However, when it comes to storytelling, there it fails to create a connection and in taking the audience on an emotional journey. One do not get swept off by the high points and feel emotional in low points in the journey of the characters. Editing by Rajesh Pandey does not help either as the film is of a lengthy 158 mins duration. It may have been more effective if it had been shorter and tighter.
Barring the story telling side, SLB must be applauded for his vision and passion for detailing. The visuals are as grand as any similar period film of this scale. The film excels in every technical department. Production Design by Saloni Dhatrak, Sriram Iyengar and Sujeet Sawant is mind blowing. Costumes Design by Maxima Basu, Anju Modi are such that we even feel the texture of the clothes the actors are wearing. Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is outstanding by all means. The Digital Imaging and Color Correction department has performed equal to any hollywood production.
Music by SLB is very good. But the songs slow down the movie even if there are many songs from the music album which are not used in the movie. Nagpur’s own boy Shreyas Puranik, who debuts as a singer in the soulful “Ab Tohe Jane Na Dungi” and as a composer in “Gajanana” Song, did a very good job.
Ranveer Singh does a fine job in breathing life to the character of Bajirao. He has worked a lot on voice modulations and it works very well. However, in the second half where he has to show the pain in love, his acting is similar to the role he essayed in Raamleela. Deepika looks surreal and ethereal. She does a fine job as Mastani. Priyanka Chopra impresses as a bubbly, naughty Kashibai and looks radiant. Another Nagpurian Vaibhav Tatwawadi gets a very good screen time and does justice to his role of Chimaji, brother of Bajirao.
Casting by Shruti Mahajan and Parag Mehta did a fab job as everyone from the supporting cast has given a very good contribution to the movie.
On the whole, Bajirao Mastani is a great effort to create a grand portrayal of the bygone era. It has an incredible relationships between Bajirao-Mastani and Bajirao-Kashibai. And one of the best dialogues in this decade.
Recommendation : Do watch it for the grand visuals, superb dialogues and incredible story. But if you can’t sacrifice 158 mins for the labour of love by SLB overlooking the lackings in the narrative, then this may not be the movie for you.