Padmaavat Review - MASTERPIECE! Don't ever miss this unparalleled cinematic experience
Kaushik L M
After being in the news for all sorts of controversies and undergoing a forced title change, Padmaavat is all set to release tomorrow in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. I had the opportunity to see a special preview of the Tamil dubbed version and was stunned, beyond expectations.
First things first, the Tamil dubbing is awesome (particularly for Ranveer Singh). The Tamil dialogues work great, with many clap-worthy moments. It's a seriously SUPERB effort with the Tamil dubbed version; TN audiences definitely shouldn't miss this one.
As expected, Padmaavat is a visual delight of the highest order. Be it the production design, the VFX work, the costumes, the accessories and the overall cinematography, Padmaavat is a compelling big screen experience. And, despite the run time of close to 2 hrs 45 mins, the 3D effects don't cause any unnecessary irritation to the viewer. Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB) is such a good leader and has managed all these departments so brilliantly. Kudos to each of the technicians! It's a very long list of crew members who have delivered world class output.
SLB has always come across as a maker with the ideal mix of aesthetic taste, passion, understanding of the craft & cinematic grandeur. He digs into period dramas and tales of yore (Devdas, Bajirao Mastani and now Padmaavat). He also invariably extracts the best from all his actors. Padmaavat is by far his best, even by his own lofty standards. He'll completely arrest you with this film. Hats off! And, how did they pull off that mesmerizing, emotional climax segment? It's a new benchmark in production, coordination and will completely stun you.
Of course, the songs in any SLB film will be extravagant affairs! There are very few directors who mount their songs on such a grand scale. Sanchit Balhara has done the background score (first class work) while the director himself has delivered the songs.
Ranveer's Sultan Alauddin Khilji is arguably the most badass character in recent Indian cinema. He plays it without any inhibitions whatsoever and you'll root for this ruthlessly evil man, full-on. Again, he establishes himself as a rising Superstar - Super Actor. In the first half, he completely swallows everyone else. Ranveer breathes fire into his part, as the tyrant warrior king who is led to believe that he can rule the world with the angelic Padmavathi (the queen of Chittor) by his side. He develops a ruthless obsession for her and decides to attack Chittor.
Deepika Padukone, with her angelic beauty and divine presence, is the driving force of the plot. After her beautiful intro sequence followed by a quick romance & marriage with Shahid Kapoor (Rajput Maharawal Ratan Singh, the king of Chittor), she gains more prominence in the 2nd half and completely owns the climax! Rani Padmavathi is such a strong, dignified, honourable and inspiring woman. SLB portrays his women so well and has in fact portrayed the entire Rajput community in good light.
Shahid Kapoor as the Rajput king of valour and honour completely looks the part. For an ace actor like him who has played far more complex roles (Haider, Udtaa Punjab), this is a piece of cake. He holds his own in an epic film! The Troy-like climax one-on-one battle between Maharawal and Khilji is Shahid's best segment in the film. Leaving aside comparisons between the two heroes, it's safe to say that Ranveer gets the author backed role and also plays it like an ace.
Among the other actors, the beautiful Aditi Rao Hydari plays Mehrunisa, Khilji's wife. She is mostly the damsel in distress, with a conscience. She carries herself elegantly! Jim Sarbh as Khilji's homosexual slave-general Malik Kafur makes a big mark too, with a separate song sequence ('Binte Dil' in the Hindi version) as well.
Indian Cinema is going places with Baahubali and now Padmaavat. The benchmark has been raised even higher by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. This film proves again that with the right director and capable actors, an Indian period film experience can be so rich in emotional value, conflicts, drama and of course entertainment.