THE world of Bajirao Mastani is something we are used to reading in history books: an era of characters that were brave, strong and stood up for what they believed in.
The love story, the conflict, the battle sequences all builds the thrilling spectator that Bajirao Mastani is.
Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bajirao Mastani is based on the true story of Peshwa Bajirao Ballad and his princess warrior Mastani.
With the teasers and trailer promising the viewer an epic tale with fascinating characters and intriguing plots, they fulfil their promise.
All of this stitched up with awe-striking cinematography giving us the ingredients of a phenomenal film.
Known as being the ‘perfectionist’ in Bollywood, Bhansali brings out the best in his cinematography: creating magic with his obsession of the fusion filled colour pallet, which is dominated with saffron and green, spilling over streams of drama.
Every visual resembles a grand painting: courts with shadows and chandeliers, courtiers with tilaks and teers, chambers gleaming with mirrors, skies blushing with passion. Certain shots – Bajirao leaping up an elephant – stamp themselves onto your memory
The scale of the set is monumental in itself. The ever-so-glorious Sheesh-Mahal (The Palace of Mirrors) took 40 days to build, with all the mirrors bought specially from Jaipur and Rajasthan.
The intensive training undertaken by the actors pays off with Priyanka Chopra mastering the Marathi dialect – a process she describes as “very hard” after being given only 15 days to learn it.
Ranveer Singh pulls off the protagonist Bajirao, a Marathi lilt that delights whilst balancing vulnerability and vivaciousness.
Deepika’s Mastani remains muted yet extremely powerful – you occasionally glimpse dark eyes drunk in love, the fire of a fighter-princess, but you miss the full-blown passion of this lead pair.
In contrast, by the end, Priyanka impresses as quiet Kashi, conveying the sorrow of a wife, a lover, a friend, forgotten.
With all the glory and passion Bhansali has won himself the Best Director award for his Epic film at the Filmfare ceremony.
However, having said all that about the epic Bajirao Mastani, it does have its share of blemishes.
With the first half of the film being sharp and strong, the second half of the film dips right down with the slow pace not being straight to the point. The last battle sequence is a bit too long and could have been cut short.
Even with the grand directing of Bhansali, what really confused me is how Mastani and Bajirao fell in love.
It was so sudden and fast. What we saw is how they both went to battle together and that’s about it. They did not exchange words but through the slow motion shots the audience learned that they are in love.
Director Bhansali has developed his signature touch as an auteur, which can be seen throughout the characters, the songs, the emotions, and the sets. The similarities can be driven through his other works such as Ramleela (2013) and Devdas (2002) – sharing exact same concepts as though it was nothing new and perhaps lacking originality.
On the whole, Bajirao Mastani is definitely worth a watch.
By Anam Ahmed