Bajirao Mastani is a love story, and a good one at that. The film not only transports the viewer to the 1700s but also provides a view of the power struggles between rulers and the priests. Mastani (Deepika Padukone) is the daughter of King of Bundelkhand, who has been surrounded by Mughals. She seeks help from Bajirao (Ranveer Singh). They fall in love and Mastani comes to live with Bajirao. Priyanka Chopra is Bajirao’s first wife. She, Bajirao’s family and the royal priests are dead against his liaison with a Muslim girl. Can Bajirao make Mastani his wife, forms the crux of the story.
Like most Bhansali films, Bajirao Mastani, too is mounted on a grand scale. The film plays like an opera with the sets and heightened emotions adding to the stage feel. Screenplay is good. Focusing on constant struggles between Mastani and Bajirao’s family, with the Maratha growing military clout serving just as a backdrop, the story has flow and there is not a dull moment. Dialogues are not every-day lingo, but given the period setting, do not seem out of place.
As far as acting goes, Ranveer Singh has nailed it. It is hard to imagine anybody else in the character. He is at once strong and vulnerable, making the viewer root for him. It is a meaty role and Ranveer Singh does full justice to it. Deepika is fabulous as Mastani. With an angelic face and nerves of steel, her Mastani is not your run of the mill leading lady. Priyanka Chopra gives a restrained performance. Music will appeal to aficionados but may not be appreciated by masses.
The film is not without drawbacks. Some of the songs could have been done away with. Bajirao dancing and singing with his troops does not befit the character. The dance off between the two women feels like “Mann Dola” revisited from Devdas. Bajirao single handedly taking on a full military formation towards the end seems forced.
This film is an entertainer where, thankfully, the viewer doesn’t need to leave his brains outside the theater. A welcome relief.
Rating : 4/5
Starring: Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Tanvi Azmi
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali