'Bajirao Mastani'
U; Period drama
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra
Rating: 3.5 stars

Sanjay Leela Bhansali in his characteristic style narrates his version of the story in a Mughal-e-azamesque scale of grandiosity, replete with breathtakingly beautiful sets (by Bhansali, Sujit Sriram and Saloni) elaborate and well thought of costumes and accessories (by Anju Modi) and dreamy cinematography (by Sudeep Chatterjee).

Ranveer Singh plays Peshwa Bajirao I, the brave warrior who fought and won 40 battles straight against the Mughals in an attempt to create a unified Hindu rashtra. But while the ambitious Peshwa is supremely confident on the battlefield, there is one fight he seems to be constantly losing; that his family has waged against him by stiffly refusing to accept his lady love and Bundelkhand's princess, Mastani (Deepika Padukone) into their world. His stiflingly conservative Brahmin family is dead against even acknowledging Muslim Mastani as his second wife.

This film is owned by Ranveer Singh. In what could easily be his best performance till date, Ranveer breathes life into his character with raw, undiluted passion. Pat down to adopting the steady Maharashtrian accent, to building up his body to convincingly look like a warrior, Singh is excellent. He gives life to Bajirao, ruthless on battlefield and sensitive, with childlike spontaneity off it.

Giving him good support is Priyanka Chopra who plays his first wife, Kashibai. Priyanka Chopra plays a finely etched out character with interesting layers, and it is difficult to take your eyes off her face as thousand emotions fleet across it. The chemistry between Priyanka and Ranveer is natural and effortless. (To think these two fantastic actors played siblings in 'Dil Dhadakne Do' not so long back with as much ease.)

Surprisingly what should have been the strongest link of the film ends up being the weakest. Deepika Padukone as Mastani looks stunningly gorgeous but seems unfortunately handicapped with an unidimensional role and not so inspiring dialogues. Deepika Padukone shines as she is introduced as a brave fighter but loses her steam when she walks over to the other side to turn into a miserable woman pining for love and acceptance, while making predictable references to romantic cliches like Radha and Krishna's love story. Even though Kashibai had a much smaller role, her character seemed more layered and fleshed out better.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has cleverly picked up some Marathi speaking actors as supporting cast, which includes Tanvi Azmi (brilliant as Bajirao's mother), Mahesh Manjrekar as King Shahu, Milind Soman as Bajirao's friend and Vaibbhav Tatwawdi as his brother, Chimaji.

Watch this film for its larger-than-life cinematic experience, and of course, Ranveer Singh.

Watch 'Bajirao Mastani' trailer

Courtesy: Mid-Day

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