February 20, 2018, 6:01 am

Movie review: PADMAAVAT.

by Valeed Shahid.

There is no reason for us to go into the plot of this much awaited Bollywood biggie, mainly because everyone had already researched most of the facts about the characters and story, as soon as the first trailers came out. But still, we will have to go into a short overview for the review.

The controversies surrounding the movie gave out even more detail of the plot. For instance, the Jauahar scene was requested to be removed from the film, by the protestors, which automatically brought a part of the main plot to news headlines, leaving very less for the audiences to find out in the movie. Even if the makers want to believe otherwise, performances and screenplay are the only two things we could possibly look forward to.

The movie opens with Allaudin Khilji (Ranveer Singh) asking his uncle, Jalaluddin Khilji (Raza Murad), for his daughter Mehrunisa’s (Aditi Rao Hydari) hand, in return for a favour. On the night of their wedding, Mehrunisa becomes aware of Allaudin Khilji’s wild nature, which includes adultery and killing innocent people for personal benefit. On the other hand, Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor) is on his way to acquire some rare pearls for his wife, and becomes victim of Rani Padmavati’s (Deepika Padukone) unintentional attack.

Eventually, the two fall in love and get married. In all honesty, as a viewer, I did not feel any kind of chemistry between the two characters, and couldn’t understand how and why they really fell in love.

Later on, a royal priest of Maharawal Ratan Singh is caught watching the couple kissing on their wedding night, and is soon terminated from the kingdom. The priest then decides to take his revenge, and tells Allaudin Khilji about Rani Padmavati’s remarkable beauty, in order to entice him to go after her. Soon, we find Allaudin Khilji hell bent to bring Rani Padmavati to his harem. The part where he goes crazy for a woman he has not even ever seen, was a little unreal. Which ruler would put his army and life in danger for a woman he has not even seen? We are sure this is in the history, but still it sounds strange enough to digest.

As for the performances, Shahid Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh are A-rate performers, but Padmaavat is definitely not their best on screen work. Continuing the tradition of only looking pretty in overly embellished clothing in Bajirao Mastani, Deepika Padukone didn’t have much to offer to the audiences in this one too.

Shahid Kapoor’s character didn’t have anything special that only he could pull off, because his was probably the most one directional and boring character in the movie. Ranveer Singh did impress with his acting chops here and there, and also because he was playing the antagonist for the first time ever, one gets to witness at least something new, if not everything. Having said that, his expressions and body language in all SLB movies continue to remain the same.

Aditi Rao Hydari, though not shown in any of the trailers or posters, does have a meaty role in the film. Her screen presence is incredible, and she looks stunning in the film. In fact, I’d not shy away from admitting that she looked better than Deepika Padukone in most of the scenes.

For all those wondering, no! you won’t see Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone sharing screen space in Padmaavat. Surprisingly, Jim Sarbh as Malik Ghafoor shined brighter than anyone else, as his accent and strong performance actually looked like hard work.

Now that the third movie from the Deepika-Ranveer-SLB trio is out, we think they are mainly having fun working with each other, more than thinking about the audiences. Deepika Padukone stayed away from the silver screen for almost 2 years, excluding her seductive number in Kriti Sanon – Sushant Singh Rajput starrer Raabta last year, but the wait was definitely not worth it. I walked out of the theatre without any clear recollection of a strong scene or moment from a movie that was good three hours long.

Unlike Ram Leela and Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat falls flat when it comes to music. Having gone through so many controversies, and worldwide ‘over-exposure‘, the songs couldn’t connect that well with the audiences, including me. The music, as always, was directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, but it just couldn’t do it. Ghoomar and Ek Dil Ek Jaan are two of the most melodious songs in Padmaavat’s soundtrack, but again, the visual treatment of both has nothing to write home about. Not that the movie or songs were not incredibly beautiful and extravagant, but it again played a part in making the movie even more reminiscent of the maker’s previous films. We have seen this all two times in a row, with the same actors, why do it over and again? Honestly, I felt that even the location of Nagada Sang Dhol and Jhoomar was the same, including the house in the background.

On the whole, Padmaavat looks like a weird reincarnation of Bajirao Mastani, except it didn’t have Priyanka Chopra’s mind boggling performance to keep our minds off all other flaws.

Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali badly needs to let his creative juices flow a little more, and come up with something strong and new, instead of going in circles with his history obsession. Watch Padmaavat for some really jaw dropping clothing and jewelry, and of course the three superstars. Apart from that, there is hardly anything impressive about the plot or screenplay of this super hyped epic period drama.

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