BM

The much awaited movie of the decade Bajirao Mastani has finally released this week in competition with Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol starrer Dilwale (more on Dilwale separately, later).

Coming back to Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s dream project which was in the making for the last 12 years with the original cast of Salman Khan-Aishwarya Rai-Rani Mukherji replaced with Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone-Priyanka Chopra, I must say has been worth the wait. Bhansali has not only painted a beautiful and visually striking canvas for the celluloid but has also packed some strong performances from the lead characters.

Bajirao Bhallal (Ranveer Singh) earns the ‘Peshwa’ title from Chattrapati Shahu Maharaj (Mahesh Manjrekar) and goes on to prove his bravery by winning one war after another. One day Maharaja Chatrasal’s (Benjamin Gilani) daughter Mastani (Deepika Padukone) approaches him to help her father save his kingdom from Mughals. Bajirao agrees to help the King and wins the war against Mughals but the much married Peshwa loses his heart to Mastani and marries her in a rare custom by unknowingly giving her a dagger. Bajirao leaves for Pune and resumes his duty as the Minister of the King, a dutiful son and loving husband to Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra).

Not able to stay apart from Bajirao, Mastani follows him to Pune. The Peshwa’s family as well as his subjects are against his union with a Muslim princess and a huge uproar happens in Pune. What happens to Bajirao, Mastani and Kashibai’s lives from thereon is a beautiful story that should be seen on the screen.

Although there are few blemishes in the script and Bhansali has taken few creative liberties to glorify the love story between one of the greatest warriors in the history of India and his second wife, the movie is an experience in itself. Each and every frame is like an independent painting with beautiful visuals, props, lighting and colors. It took almost 5 plus decades for India to produce another movie like Mughal-E-Azam and full credit goes to Bhansali.

Ranveer Singh has owned the character and brought life to Bajirao Bhallal. He is outstanding in the role and makes his critics sit back and eat their words. Deepika has not only looked gorgeous but also performed well. Although I never saw anyone other than Aishwarya as Mastani, but I was pleasantly surprised with Deepika trying to beautifully fit into the vacant shoes of the former beauty queen. Priyanka is the third strongest pillar of this love triangle and she has done a tremendous job. She looks and acts like a Maharashtrian lady and is quite a treat to watch on the screen. Tanvi Azmi as Peshwa’s mother Radhabai is praiseworthy. It is a pleasant surprise to see her carry out a dark character superbly.

Rest of the supporting cast especially Milind Soman, Aditya Pancholi, Mahesh Manjrekar, Benjamin Gilani are superb. The casting is perfect and one should applaud the casting director for doing a great job.

There are few glitches that I earlier hinted like, after building up Aditya Pancholi‘s character as a bad guy, he surprisingly goes missing from the plot. The dance sequences especially Pinga seems to be force fitted. The climax is cinematically good but it is far from what happened to Mastani – Oops… do not want to reveal further!

The war sequences have been beautifully picturized by Action Director Sham Kaushal. The dialogues are impactful and the cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is breathtaking.

Music by Bhansali is average; however, Deewani Mastani stands out. The sets by Nitin Desai are out of this world especially the Aaina Mahal which is worth a dekko after the Sheesh Mahal one saw in Mughal-E-Azam. The background music is quite captivating. The movie will definitely appeal to classes as well as masses.

On the whole, this is an EPIC movie one should not miss out on.

My Verdict: ****

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