Bajirao Mastani (2015) is a movie with fictionalized account of the love story of Maratha Warrior, Peshwa Bajirao. This movie is made in a style typical of Sanjay Leela Bansali.
Most of the official reviews of this movie are on extreme sides – people who describe this as a masterpiece and few others calling it as character assassination / misinterpretation of Maratha history.
I generally look at movies from 3 perspectives:
- Richness of each frame – this movie certainly scores high in this area. Makers have spent good deal of effort in ensuring the CGI is just not tacky. Battle sequences are shot nicely and so are some scenes inside Peshwa’s and Chatrapati’s durbaar.
- Story – this is a disappointing area. Weakest link in the movie is the Mastaani character. It is really difficult to understand why India movie makers have to find a romantic angle always. It would have been a great story retold if the movie focused more on Bajirao and less on Mastaani
- Historical accuracy – I do not feel it is the duty of every writer and film maker to satisfy everyone in their interpretation of history. History taught to us in schools is the interpretation of writers who wrote those books. There are many other books that have different views. So, lets respect different views and ensure our great civilization progresses.
Coming to the actors themselves, Priyanka Chopra is consistently excellent in this movie. She plays her part as Bajirao’s first wife exceptionally well.
Ranveer Singh plays his character well but he keeps swinging between controlled performance and outright eccentric. Not sure if this is intentionally done.
Worst actor in this mix if Deepika Padukone. The lady just cannot act. She is like the female version of John Abraham – great looks, no acting skills. She sticks out as a sore thumb since all characters around her simply excel in their scenes.
A general comment on Indian filmmakers is their inability to go beyond romance when choosing subjects from our history. Imagine 50 years from now, someone makes a movie on Sachin Tendulkar and describes it as the ‘love story of a master batsmen’ 🙂 I mean yes, he is married to a lady older than himself, that lady stood by him throughout his career and there could be some interesting facts in that part of his life. But Sachin Tendulkar became famous not because he was a loving husband – people should be shown how hard he worked, the tough situations he faced, the peaks of his career and its lows.
Overall, lets give a thumbs up to SLB for picking a subject that has historical importance. For creating some scenes in the movie that elevates it to a higher level – battle cry “Hara har Mahaadev”, dealing with the Nizam and scenes that have Chatrapati maharaaj.