Hindi movie aficionados will probably pillory me for criticising the Bollywood blockbuster #BajiraoMastani but unfortunately, I am one of the few who isn’t gaga over this film that released just last Friday.
Making love stories isn’t easy. Like a soufflé, it has to be whisked just the right amount so that it remains a delicate, delectable dessert rather than a stodgy, steamed pudding. Sadly, Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s latest offering #BajiraoMastani isn’t the soufflé that you are looking for.
- The song and dance
There was much brouhaha about the movie well before its release thanks to the songs and dance that are par for the course for Indian mainstream cinema. Of course, the songs were far less lewd than the normal Bollywood fare but despite the poetic licence and creative muse that gives a film producer to do what he wants, I felt that the songs and dance didn’t do much for the movie except drag it on for a few more reels. (I’m not sure about this though, because films these days aren’t shot the old fashioned way and are digital which means that no photofilm was used and “reel” thereby becomes superfluous)
Not only did the song and dance routine do nothing for the movie but they were most inappropriate. Granted the director /producer wasn’t retelling history but I doubt kings and queens break into song in the manner they did in #BajiraoMastani.
2. Adultery is never pardonable
It probably sounds ridiculous but I felt the love between #Bajirao and #Mastani was more juvenile and delinquent than pure and praiseworthy. Nothing can really justify infidelity especially when you have a spouse like Kashi. The love between Bajirao and Mastani to my mind is more lust and I feel that Mastani was a mere homewrecker and Bajirao a man who couldn’t control his hormones. This plain and simple physical attraction doesn’t deserve to be lauded- instead Bajirao should be castigated for being an irresponsible leader of his men and a lousy , cheating husband.
3. Oh my God ! When will this end
Apart from the unnecessary songs and dance, the movie drags in parts – the ridiculously staged attack on Mastani, the battle of Budelkhand and the most agonising , slow death of #BajiraoMastani which really had me look for the remote.
The movie does merit some credit though. Priyanka Chopra as Kashi is dazzling and was the perfect foil to the conniving Mastani played by Deepika. Another noteworthy performance was that of the dowager mother by Tanvi Azmi, whose strong personality comes through very clearly.
Ranvir Singh has never been my favourite actor but somehow there is something endearing about him and his portrayal of a Maratha warrior is commendable. His true forte comes to the fore when dances exuberantly in front of his troops.
So even though this is not a chocolate soufflé, its overall aesthetic , eye pleasing visuals and incisive and witty dialogue redeems it from being a stodgy steamed pudding.
Definitely worth seeing though may not be at Rs. 400 a seat!