The most ambitious project of Bhansali, 'Padmaavat' glorifies the Rajputs community.
It is based on the legend of Rani Padmavati, a legendary Hindu Rajput queen, mentioned in 'Padmavat,' an Awadhi language epic poem written by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540.
The movie 'Padmaavat' which was earlier named 'Padmavati' is essentially a love story between Padmavati (Deepika Padukone), a very beautiful princess of Singhal and Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor), the King of Mewar. Their love at first sight quickly results into the King's second marriage.
Meanwhile, a power obsessed Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh), the Turko-Afghan ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, hears about mesmerising beauty of Rani Padmavati, and ultimately calls for a war on Chittor to capture her. The subsequent events form the rest of the narrative.
The film that is a war epic, love story, and costume drama, all in one, is, however, slacked by prosaic execution. Bhansali makes his most courageous film yet, but sadly the results are not very impressive with taxing length which could have been shorter. The movie tries too hard to get audience's attention in the run-time of almost three hours.
However, the second half of the film does get little rapid and shows Rani Padmavati's political tactics and her personal growing-up journey. The idea of Sati/Jauhar, however, seems a bit dissonant in present times. Deepika Padukone looked exquisite. Thoush she had minimum dialogues to deliver, she lets her expressive eyes do the talking and that works in her favour.
Shahid Kapoor gives a fervent performance. He has a very controlled performance and owns literally every scene he is in. Also, Deepika and Shahid's chemistry is ravishing. They sizzle in every scene they are in together.
Ranveer Singh gives a thunderous performance as the menacing Khilji. But his narcissistic act is too loud. The supporting cast has done a fine job -- especially Jim Sarbh and Aditi Rao Hydari.
Jim should have had a stronger personality for his background, but his character does not impact the movie in any way. Aditi manages to leave a mark in her limited act. The movie has a fine production design, costumes and camera work. It's the technical finesse on display.
There is no ferocity of war, no anguish or post traumatic stress. Also, the sub-plot of Maharawal's first wife (played by Anupriya Goenka) getting conveniently mend towards the climax is bewildering.
Music is good enough. Songs like 'Ghoomar','Ek Dil Ek Jaan' are visually appealing while Ranveer's futile dance number 'Khalbali' reminds of Bajirao Mastani's 'Malhari'.
'Padmaavat' is certainly not Sanjay Leela Bhansali's best work, but it offers ample evidence of his growth. The movie is pretty absorbing but not stirring as it lacks real depth.
4/5 stars: (Two for Ranveer, Deepika and Shahid's performance; One for music; One for cinematography).