Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s sense of aesthetics is a
delight. Be assured that the spectacular visuals promised in the promos are
fulfilled in every frame. Purists may frown at how extensively he has used
cinematic license to tell his own version of a Peshwa warrior. But Bajirao Mastani is a relentlessly
It starts off with the right amount of intensity.
Young Bajirao lays his claim to be the new Peshwa by exhibiting his expertise
in both shastra and shaastra. Weaponry and wisdom make a
Bajirao is an equally passionate husband to devoted
wife Kashibai. And all’s well in the land of the Peshwas as ambitious Bajirao
comes home victorious from battle after battle.
There’s grandeur in every nook of their Shaniwarwada
palace. But an ominous note is struck with a grieving widow’s curse to
Kashbibai that she will one day similarly pine for her husband.
The arrival of Mastani takes the revelry away from
Prakash Kapadia’s screenplay brings out the warmth
between Bajirao and his wife, his mother, his brother and everybody else
around. It also gives a dramatic entry to Mastani, the warrior daughter of Raja
Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand and one of his Muslim wives. Cupid strikes on the
battle field. And it signals the erosion of relationships
Kashibai’s plight is poignant while her
mother-in-law’s open hostility towards Mastani is understandable. But that’s
also where the story weakens. Because somewhere it’s not easy to sympathise
with the love story of Bajirao and Mastani. Bhansali is also unable to keep it
gripping as he concentrates on overdramatic sound effects and visual splendour
with nothing more to tell. The end especially is a huge disappointment where
passion gives way to pagalpan.
The resemblance to Mughal-e-Azam is striking. If a feather was used sensuously by K
Asif, haldi is smeared by Bhansali
for sensuality. Asif’s sheesh mahal
is substituted with an aaina mahal
where Mastani dances like Anarkali did. Many secular messages are also emitted
like Mastani’s reference to colours making religious divides between people.
Priyanka Chopra gives dignity and sympathy to
Kashibai. Tanvi Azmi is impressive as Bajirao’s unbending mother. The
presentation of Ranveer Singh as Bajirao is more impressive than his
performance which is a little inconsistent. Deepika Padukone handles the many
shades of Mastani’s character with sincerity.
Compositions like Gajanana
by a full-throated Sukhvinder or Bhansali’s twist to the classical Albela sajan aayo re, Deepika’s Deewani mastani dance and the feisty Pinga are picturised lavishly.
Costumes by Anju Modi and Maxima Basu and
cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee add to the splendour.
For a film that’s rich in aesthetics but dips in
intensity post-interval, Bajirao Mastani
gets a 3.5* rating.
Reviewed byJournalist & Author
Bharathi S Pradhan