Bajirao Mastani is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s dream project. This is his magnum opus as an artist. Bhansali stood his ground and adjourned this project for years to finally create his masterpiece Bajirao Mastani. He is an artist and cinema is his canvas – What Bajirao Mastani entails is his vision and like a painter’s portrait – It is his vision and depiction of Bajirao Ballad Peshwa’s life.
Although you are seated in a movie theatre the style of storytelling found in Bajirao Mastani is like watching live theatre – it fascinates you with each scene. This tale of love, war, melodramatic quarrels, battle sequences and the grandiose of the sets and locales is enough to make fall in love with this cinematic masterpiece. Bajirao Mastani is an enchanting and captivating period film that transcends you to one of India’s most turbulent times and intelligently entertains you. Bhansali introduces the on-screen characters and the sequence of events with care and simplicity so that the viewer is able to understand this tale of love, war and tragedy.
Bajirao Mastani is the tale of Bajirao Ballal Peshwa (Ranveer Singh). He is a determined Maratha warrior who has set his eyes on creating one Hindu nation, the Bharatvarsha. He is witty and brave to fight for it. We are even told in the story at one point that he has won all the 40 battles that he ever fought.
During the Mughal attacks and invasions, Bajirao is away from home planning an attack on Delhi when he meets Mastani (Deepika Padukone) who has travelled to seek his help to save her fort in Bundelkhand which is being held captive by the Mughals. She is the daughter of King Chhatrasal and his Muslim wife. While Mastani’s dedication and her courage amazed Bajirao, he is determined to help her. Midst of the battle, the duo fall in love with each other.
Back home, Bajirao’s wife, Kashi (Priyanka Chopra) is eagerly waiting his return, unaware of the fact that her husband has fallen in love and even unintentionally married another woman. Will Bajirao and Mastani’s inter-religious love breathe in the strong opposition of his Hindu community and family? Will their relationship remain illegitimate? Will Kashi accept the fact that she will have to share her Bajirao with Mastani for the rest of her life? These are questions the rest of the movie will elegantly answer.
At its core, Bajirao Mastani is all about love. From Bajirao’s unconditional love for Mastani and Kashibai both, Mastani’s daring and dedicated love for Bajirao or Kashibai’s sacrificing love for her husband. The film conveys a tale of love and sacrifice. The film is low on war scenes and mainly revolves around the romantic angle of the life of Bajirao.
Ranveer Singh is magnificent as Bajirao he totally surrenders to his character. Ranveer owns Bajirao’s character with the way he delivers his dialogues with an authentic texture of Marathi accent never over-doing it, He holds you attentive right from the first frame till the last moments of his character. The simplicity with which he gets into the skin of the character is remarkable. It must be said that this is his career best.
Deepika is enthralling as Mastani and she clearly displays her strength as an actor. She is statuesque, poised yet courageous and brave at the same time. Deepika Padukone is the perfect Mastani. Her portrayal of Mastani is in accordance to Bhansali’s vision. She looks natural as she rides a horse, fights with a sword or dance to both Mohe Rang Do Laal and Deewani Mastani. Her dialogue delivery is superb and her scorching chemistry with Ranveer is one of the most infectious parts of the film. Mastani is one of Deepika’s most noteworthy characters and also one of her career’s best performances. .The year 2015 clearly belongs to her for choosing unique roles and delivering winning portrayals in Piku, Tamasha and now Bajirao Mastani.
As the Peshwa wife, Priyanka Chopra has given an outstanding performance of a woman who is innocent and child-like but matures and stands tall as a lady after her husband re-marries, Priyanka emotes with perfection. Her emotional act finds an instant connect and hence you wish we could have seen more of her in the film. Her acting ability and presence is outstanding. A dialogue between Mastani and Kashibai before the Kum-kum Hadli festival is spectacular as the leading ladies share screen space.
Tanvi Azmi delivers another remarkable performance with her act as Bajirao’s widowed mother. The supporting cast of Milind Soman as Bajirao’s advisor and Vaibhav Tatwawdi as his younger brother Chimaji Appa are both outstanding and genuine to the requirements of the story.
When it comes to direction, Bajirao Mastani is a pure cinematic brilliance. Bhansali’s clear vision of making it an epic romance finally sees light of the day after years of waiting. The majestic costumes by Anju Modi add the much needed class and sophistication to the story, sets and cinematography all confluence into a magnificent presentation of that era. He has a splendid sense of narrating an epic tale, which manifest when you think of the gigantic scale of the film. The battle sequences are breath-taking and have been performed with magnificence. The production design is fundamentally one of the most important elements in this tale. The effort gone into recreating the long-gone era is commendable.
Bhansali impeccably intertwines music in the story and filmed with care, the songs composed by Bhansali are soulful and enthralling and soulful. The most exquisite dance piece Deewani Mastani is grand, elegant and makes you fall in love with the enchanting Mastani. Pinga is another favourite featuring both leading ladies and Deepika Padukone is great in Mohe Rang Do Laal and Ranveer dons Malhari. The use of Albela Sajan is breathtaking and Aayat truly leaves you mesmerised.
The dialogues are poetic and feel theatrical. Scenes are written with great thought hence the conversations between Bajirao and Kashibai or even the one between Kashibai and Mastani is brilliant. The film is adorned with fascinating characters and inspirational sub-plots that advance into a spectacular zenith. Despite a run time of almost 2 hours 40 minutes, Bhansali also sees to it that the writing is rigid and the pacing is apt and at no point does the screenwriting diverge into superfluous avenues.
If you appreciate Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s style of storytelling filled with opulence and grandeur then Bajirao Mastani will not disappoint you. The film is beautiful, lavish, opulent, grand and stylish in every frame but this story is filled with tons of emotion and soul. Bajirao Mastani restores one’s faith in eternal love. The chemistry is magnectic and that in itself is a heart-warming experience. Bajirao Mastani is a cinematic experience you cannot miss.
Rating: 9.8/10 | 5 Stars