Movie Review: Padmaavat

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Movie & Music Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Producers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali & Ajit Andhare

Note: there are no spoilers in this review.  

Padmaavat is a period drama based on an epic poem written in 1540 by the Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi. This is a fictional story about the Delhi Sultante Alauddin Khalji’s (Ranveer Singh) desire for the most beautiful woman, the precious Queen of Chittor Rani Padmavati (Deepika Padukone). Padmavati and her husband, the Rajput ruler Rawal Ratan Sen (Shahid Kapoor), fight to protect the Rajput honor from Alauddin’s merciless rage.

The positives:

  1. Song and dance: From the beginning credits, to Shreya Ghosal’s “Ghoomar” dance and Ganesh Acharya’s choreography for Ranvir’s “Khalibali” – it all lives up to the legendary Bhansali expectations.
  2. The grandeur of the sets were nothing less than jaw-dropping. The movie takes place at the beautiful Chittor fort in Rajasthan, one of the largest forts in India and a world heritage UNESCO site today. Unfortunately, members of the Karni Sena group vandalized sets at Jaigargh Fort where the Padmaavat sets were originally located and thus Bhansali recreated parts of the Chittor Fort in Mumbai.
  3. Ranveer Singh was FAN-TASTIC. He fully absorbed Alauddin into his soul (for better or for worse!) and I am convinced there was nobody better suited for the role. Although Deepika did very well as Queen Padmavati and looked gorgeous as ever, Ranvir stole the show. I think Mr. Singh is on track to win best actor.
  4. Costume design was just impeccable for each character: authentic, organic, luxurious handwork that truly depicted the 13th century royalty. Watch the behind the scenes of costume design by Rimple & Harpreet Narula here.
  5. This movie will change Aditi Rao Hydari’s career. As she was not featured in any of the trailers, Aditi was a very pleasant surprise as supporting actress, playing Alauddin’s naive begum, Mehrunissa.

The negatives:

  1. The storyline was weak and executed poorly. This was by far Padmaavat’s biggest flaw. The only reason it stayed afloat is because of the Bhansali larger-than-life experience (oh, and Ranvir too).
  2. Shahid Kapoor’s acting was underwhelming. He was most certainly overshadowed by Ranveer as there was an unbalanced character build – not really an issue though if you’re a Ranveer fan (*wink wink*). I do have to say that Deepika and Shahid had pretty good chemistry on screen.
  3. Padmaavat is the first Indian move to come out in IMAX 3D. Unfortunately, there were barely any “3D” effects like flying swords and severed heads in your face, something you would expect in any 3D war film.
  4. As usual, this was one of those lengthy Indian movies where you feel like the intermission could’ve been the ending. That said, the plot moved quickly and you had very little chance to fall asleep.
  5. Anupriya Goenka’s role as Rawal Ratan Sen’s first wife, Nagmati, was quite forgettable. She was the most unconvincing character and certainly a poor choice on actor selection for this character.

Fun facts – did you know?

  • Ranveer sought help from a psychiatrist after filming this movie to overcome the Khilji-ness that took over his behavior and mental health.
  • Deepika Padukone is one of the highest paid Bollywood actresses. She charged 12 crores for this movie and generally makes 10-12 crores per film. She is a SLB favorite!

On the whole, Padmaavat is a film that you should see once. If you’re a Deepika or Ranveer fan – this is a must-see, but go with low expectations and just enjoy the Bhansali experience.

Rating:

Acting: 4/5

Story: 1/5

Costumes: 5/5

Sets/Filming Location: 5/5

Songs: 3/5

Choreography: 3/5

Eye Candy: 4/5

Length of Movie: 2/5

Overall: ***1/2, 6.5/10

Key:

* = flop, don’t even bother

** = time pass, you’ll live if you don’t see it

*** = worth a watch

**** = A hit, see it in the theater!

***** = Bollywood Blockbuster

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