What is a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie without huge sets, sweeping shots, high-intensity drama, dialogues and exquisite costumes?
Let’s first talk of the performances that need special mention
The energetic Ranveer Singh put across a restrained and composed performance displaying the right emotions at the right moments and with the exact intensity needed. And what more, he looks absolutely stunning from the word ‘Go’, well-toned body, rippling muscles et al.
Priyanka Chopra as the besotted wife, sad and unhappy about her husband’s love for Mastani and pining away for him and yet strong enough deal with it in her way, engages audience’s attention and empathy. She perfectly fits the bill of a Marathi traditional Brahmin lady with authority. I thought she looked better and danced better than Deepika in the song, ‘Pinga’.
Deepika Padukone shines through her warrior scenes. At other times she sizzles the screen in beautiful clothes and jewellery. She is a natural actress. And the brilliant portrayal of romantic and intense scenes only proves the same. One is glad she didn’t get into sports.
Tanvi Azmi as Radha Bai, Milind Soman and the rest of the cast including Raza Murad who was only there for a scene as Nizam of Hyderabad, put out their best for Bajirao Mastani.
Here are a few of the many memorable dialogues
- Tujhe yaad kar liya hai ayat ki tarah, ab zikra hoga tera ibadat ki tarah.
- Patni to Radha bhi nahi thi, lekin Krishna ke saath log yaad use hi karte hain.
- Bajirao ne Mastani se mohabbat ki hai ayyashi nai
- Duniya ka har dharm mohabbat sikhata hai, Mohabbat ka koi dharm nahi hota. Mohabbat khud hi dharm hai
- Aapne yaha aa ke Bundelkhand ki is najayaz beti ko sindoor jitna jayaz bana diya.
- Nashe me to sab hain Chimaji, daulat ka nasha, dharm ka nasha. Hum bhi ishq ke nashe mein hain
Then there are the songs…
Albela Sajan, the popular song from classical music that we heard in the director’s hit film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam has been re-tuned to sound different and used as the background score.
Pinga looks like it has been forced into the script only to recreate a spectacle just like in Devdas where Madhuri and Aishwarya dance together. Here too, the lead ladies Deepika and Priyanka Chopra meet out of the blue for some flimsy reason, and as Kashibai expresses her admiration for her husband’s lover despite her refusal to acknowledge the latter as Rau’s wife, they sing and dance. It is a song that is already trending and why not, it is quite racy and fun to watch.
Deewani Mastani – The Bundelkhand Raja’s daughter born to a courtesan sings and dances for the Peshwa looking ethereal in golden sharara and long kurta, jewellery and a hat too in Nizami style. The song is picturised in the aayina mahal just like the one with mirrors in the all-time classic Mughal e Azam and its song Pyar Kiyatho Darna kya.
Malhari is a delight to watch and listen to. The folk-based song gets its energy not just from the amazing words and music but from Ranveer Singh whose mere presence charged up the rendition.
Aayat: An out and out Arjit Singh rendition, soulful and mesmerising with a bit of qawwali thrown in. A short number though…like a few others, has been used to create and intensify the screenplay.
Mohe rang do laal is yet another inspiration, probably from the epic MughaleAzam that does show at several instances through the film. But with due credit where it deserves the song is beautifully rendered by Shreya Ghoshal and Deepika as usual sways delicately and beautifully through it.
If there are dull moments in the film, then it is all thanks to the director’s indulgence and when you are with a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, you can’t get away with all his idiosyncrasies and the length that is always a wee-bit in excess. In fact, it is this obsession with scale that makes his movies a visual splendour. However, when this indulgence of his becomes the undoing of the most crucial part of the film – the climax, then it is serious issue.
With good music and an engaging screenplay, beautiful-looking actors putting up the best of their performances, the film despite its undoings, will bring in the crowds and with Dilwale not happening…the spill over will only help our Bhansali Bhai.