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Producers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Sudhanshu Vats, Ajit Andhare
Writers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Prakash Kapadia
What's Yay: Ranveer Singh, Breath-taking Visuals
What's Nay: Lethargic pace of the narrative especially the first half, Wafer-thin writing
Popcorn Refill: Interval
Iconic Moment: You simply can't take your eyes off Ranveer Singh's Khilji everytime he creates mayhem on-screen!
When asked to get an ostrich feather by his uncle Jalaluddin for his crown, Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh) walks into the court with the living bird itself and seeks his cousin Mehrunisa's (Aditi Rao Hydari) hand for marriage in return for risking his life. He's a man driven by power and flesh.
Khilji soon gets his uncle killed to become the Sultan-E-Hind. Meanwhile, on the other hand in the kingdom of Singhal, a free-spirited woman Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) loses her heart to Maharawal Ratan Singh of Chittor (Shahid Kapoor) when she accidently ends up wounding the king with her arrow while chasing a deer in the forest. Eyes meet and it's love at first sight followed by marriage.
Later, an exiled priest from Mewar reaches the Delhi Sultanate (where Khilji and his clan live) and devises an evil plan to seek revenge from the Raja and his queen Padmavati for his banishment.
He sings praises of Padmavati's beauty to Khilji and plants a seed in his mind that he can rule the entire world only if the Rajput queen is by his side. Thus the obsessed Turko-Afghan ruler begins his conquest to catch a glimpse of Rani Padmavati and capture her.
Whenever it comes to magnificence and opulent frames on screen, there is no one better than Sanjay Leela Bhansali to pull you into the world of visual story-telling and Padmaavat is no different. Padmaavat is humongously erected on the scale of grandeur and leaves you in awe with its beauty and stellar acts.
Unfortunately, the film suffers from some lethargic writing and fails to bring an emotional connect to the story. The snail-paced narrative especially in the first half makes it a tedious watch and leaves you with mixed feelings by the end.
With Bhansali wanting to pack in a series of events in the runtime of about 2 hours and 44 minutes, the romance between Shahid- Deepika remains unexplored and Khilji's rise to power isn't clearly spelled out. While the film tells the tale of a popular folklore, the archaic idea of a woman commiting 'jauhar' to to save the ‘honour' of her husband, and her people may be found questionable by a section of the audience especially in today's times.
Deepika Padukone looks ethreal in every frame. Her eyes do the talking whenever there are minimal dialogues and she plays the Rajput Queen with beauty, brains and valour to perfection.
Shahid Kapoor brings a regal aura as the kohl-eyed Maharawal Ratan Rawal Singh who could even lay down his life for the 'Rajputana aan baan aur shaan'. Though there are a couple of moments in the film where you feel he has underplayed his role and could have fared even better.
And finally coming to the man of the moment- Ranveer Singh! You loathe, cringe and shudder at the mere sight of his Alauddin Khilji deliciously wrapped and delivered in one of his career-best performances. With his scarred face and kohled eyes, he sinks his teeth deep into his role, relishes and savours to unleash madness and terror on-screen. By the end of the film, you hate his Khilji to the extent that you fall in love with Ranveer Singh all over again. What's commendable is that he plays Khilji's dubious sexuality without over-exaggeration to point out that it's power that drives him- be it over a man or a woman!
Jim Sarbh as the Sultan's general slave Malik Kafur looks a little misplaced but he pulls up his socks to churn out an honest performance. Aditi Rao Hydari looks replescent and manages to leave a mark even in a small time frame. Anupriya Goenka delivers a decent act.
Sudeep Chatterjee's ace camera work makes sure that you refrain from looking off the screen even for a minute and lets your eyes feast on a spectacle!
Jayant Jadhar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Akiv Ali's editing look a little abrupt at a few places.
Bhansali's films are known for their lavishly-shot songs and soul-stirring music. Be it 'Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ramleela' or 'Bajirao Mastani, his magnum opus always boosts a musical treat. Unfortunately with Padmaavat, barring Ghoomar and Khalibali, none of the other tracks catch your attention. Meanwhile, the background score of the film is quite appealing and stays with you for a long time.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's latest offering may be titled Padmaavat but it's Ranveer Singh's show all the way. He plunges deep into the sea of evilness to bring the 'monster' to life for 'ek jung husn ke naam'. It may be a doomed love-story for him in the film but Ranveer, you are truly 'Sultan-E-Hind' when it comes to capturing our hearts with your bravura performance!