Padmaavat: Designed to make you wonder what the fuss is about
Deepika Padukone is wonderful as the beautiful and courageous Rani Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor is understated, just as his character demands him to be, but the dream role in the film has to be Ranveer Singh’s.Updated: Jan 24, 2018, 00:35 IST
Being invited to watch Padmaavat three days prior to the film’s release didn’t seem any different from movie previews one has attended in the past, till the host hesitatingly whispered, “Please don’t tell anyone about it. We are very worried about security.”
Not a pleasant sight watching the young team of a Bollywood film’s production house all worked up, going to extra lengths to maintain secrecy, when all that you’ve ever seen them do is ‘promote’. The film, when you get to it, more than makes up.
For Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the maverick that he is, going a bit overboard with grandeur is pardonable, even expected. But his treatment of this film, as grand as it goes, is remarkably restrained, with little trace of self-indulgence. Crisp editing is the film’s first noticeable virtue, not a single sequence seems to digress from the tight script. For a two hour 44 minute period drama, it’s a feat to have the screenplay this gripping. The visuals are meant to mesmerise, and they deliver, be it the delicate romantic scenes, the colourful Rajput rituals, or the larger-than-life war sequences. Those watching in 3D need to be prepared for the typical fantasy tale feel to the sequences in the beginning, but the intense drama of the story overtakes soon.
The casting of the film is quite a lesson in perfection. The three lead characters get deep into your skin, even though they are etched very differently when it comes to the extent of expression. Deepika Padukone is wonderful as the beautiful and courageous Rani Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor is understated, just as his character demands him to be, but the dream role in the film has to be Ranveer Singh’s. His portrayal of the evil Khilji, complete with the menacing look and mannerism, is brilliant. An added bonus is the incredible acting of Jim Sarbh, who gets into the character of Khilji’s slave, and delivers the performance of a lifetime.
As for the whole debate around the film, there’s just this to say. Whether originally in the script or as an afterthought, there’s so much praise of Rajput courage and valour added in the film that most people are likely to have trouble finding anything remotely controversial, even if they tried. Those who still feel the need for it can find an awfully long disclaimer in the beginning, but they are sure to walk out wondering what the fuss was about.