The mega-budget epic period drama Padmaavat directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali finally sees the light of the day, after facing a lot of issues before release. Bhansali plays to his strengths in Padmaavat and we have many of the director's trademark touches. One can say that he has pulled off a project of such a scale, quite effectively.
Deepika Padukone as Queen Padmavati is married to a high-born king Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor). They together lead a happy life until a Sultan, Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh) hears of Padmavati's beauty and turns an obsessive lover. Motivated by his lechery, Sultan leads an invasion to capture the beautiful Rajput Queen.
The set designs take us back to the 13th century and deserve praise. The first thing that you are certain to admire about Padmaavat is the richness of the visuals. At no place, you feel the director has wasted money on something that is unnecessary.
A lot of attention to detail has been paid to every character, all of whom look genuinely belonging to that era. The cinematographer too has done a commendable job without overdoing it.
Moving on to the cast, Ranveer Singh has lived the role; he looks menacing and is always in command. His character traits have really set the tone for the film. Deepika gets a more emotionally inclined role and she shines with her subtle expressions, not to mention how good she looks. Playing the second fiddle, Shahid Kapoor may not have the body or mannerisms of a tough leader, nevertheless gives his best. Among the other members, Aditi Rao and Jim Sarbh, in particular deserve mention.
If you are expecting historical accuracy, then you might find the movie a bit trying. The screenplay at places, drags quite a bit and if you don’t get involved with the script, then you might get restless at times.
Unlike her husband who goes strictly by the books, Padmavati is smart and does everything that she could do to protect her tradition. All three central characters make hasty decisions at places, which are used to play around the screenplay as per the director’s will.
There are a couple of high voltage action scenes, but one wonders if they could have been choreographed better; it doesn’t excite you at any moment, maybe it is because we have seen similar battle scenes in Indian films in the recent past.
Bhansali’s songs that sounded splendid in Hindi doesn’t give a similar output in Tamil, which is a huge setback. The lyrics could have been given more importance. Goomar track, however, deserves a special mention and is both visually and musically enriching. Sanchit Balhara’s background score's fantastic and perfect for the script.
[Review based on a special preview show to the press members on January 23rd. Catch the film in theatres, from the 24th of January]