Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 4th December, 2015
Time : 158 minutes
Director & Writer: Sanjay Leela Bhansali (based on the book ‘Rau’ by NS Inamdar); Music : Sanchit Balhara;
Starring : Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Tanvi Azmi, Milind Soman, Vaibbhav Tatwawdi, Mahesh Manjrekar
The film is a visual delight – the sets, the camera angles, the costumes, the look – everything mesmerizes. Sadly, the story itself – a classic tragedy, in line with most of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s other films – fails to excite.
Deepika Padukone, Mastani, a princess from Bundelkhand, half Rajput, half Muslim falls in love with Ranveer Singh. The Peshwa. Especially after he and his army rescue her homeland from Muslim invaders. She falls for him so badly that she arrives as a ‘gift’, unannounced to his home in Pune, despite knowing that he’s married (to Priyanka) and has a kid. The conservative Maratha folk, of course, don’t accept her at all – led by the Peshwa’s mother, a sinister Tanvi Azmi and Vaibbhav (playing his younger brother).
What’s sad about the film is how two strong, fascinating characters – Mastani and Peshwa – are both shown losing their essence as they pursue their mad, crazy, unacceptable love. How a strong-willed, warrior princess becomes a weak supplicant, how a headstrong but wise ruler becomes almost an object of ridicule, not doing right by those who stood by him earlier, including Priyanka.
Deepika is iridescent. Illuminating. Flawless. Looks almost like someone not of this world. Ranveer, especially in the first half, is magnificent- his haughty walk, jerky movements and manner of speaking making his character come alive. Priyanka doesn’t get so much to play with but she does a fantastic job of the screen time she does get. Tanvi’s the show stealer – she’s ominous and exudes malevolence towards Deepika from the moment she sets eyes on her. Milind Soman is a surprise, is very good, as is Vaibbhav. The sets, costumes and colours bedazzle. The songs are good, though too many. And the second half could easily have had a lot of fat trimmed off it. However, special mention of the diction, the way the characters spoke - the lilting Marathi accent - was one of the most engaging aspects of the film.
What’s truly tragic about the story is that (if any part of it is historically true), then we lost two superb persons to petty jealousies, court politics and what is commonly practiced as religion in this country. The saddest part being, of course, that nothing has really changed in our nation.