Maybe Historical films are not Bollywood’s forte. Though Ranveer Singh gave an amazing performance while Deepika and Priyanka were decent the problem lies with the direction and the genre of the film. Was it a Romance? Was it a historical drama film? Was it a glamorous take on history? And added with all this was some outrageous and unrealistic action scenes. The cinematography and the locations were perfect and the dance scenes were pretty good. The film however was a bit incoherent and the pacing was somewhat slow.
Well Mr. Bhansali does have an unique directorial style but his glamorous take on a historical subject was filled with modern day sensibilities and melodrama.
At the start we see The Peshwa, Bajirao falling for Mastani after he helped her in saving her kingdom of Bundel. The process of falling in love was modernized to make a more pleasurable viewing.
In a way it felt everything was tailored to fit the narrative Mr. Bhansali wanted but not what was factual at that time and along with that the taboo of religious undertones, which was drastically reduced to keep in check with today’s sensitivities.
What Bollywood gets wrong is that to make a film on a Historical subject, glamour and the cheesy Urdu flirty lines should subside and the focus should be more on the actual story.
Ranveer Singh did a very good job and did a really fine Maratha accent. Though maybe the role didn’t go exactly with his image but this was a powerful performance which is commendable. Deepika acted with grace and Priyanka also put on a good show. The supporting actors also did a fine job and Tanvi Azmi as Bajirao’s mother deserves particula praise.
However there was this once scene in which in a fit of rage, Bajirao deflected all the arrows hurled at him and single-handedly annihilated the whole army of the Nazim. This makes everything seen so impractical.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali has his own vision and style which cannot be compared with other contemporaries but this time his focus was more on the aesthetics and not the narrative. The costumes, dance sequences, the stunningly beautiful locations along with the breathtaking cinematography were perfect but the story at times felt too slow and even dare I say too much dull. The pacing was so slow that at times you will feel that does this help the narration. Maybe more realism was needed for such a film.
If you want to see a “colourful” film that is complete with romantic dialogues, beautiful women, palace intrigues and a rather modern take on history then you might not want to miss this. It’s pretty much like Devdas but its actually much more complicated. I would have given it more if the narration was more realistic and not forced with romanticism.