STARRING: DEEPIKA PADUKONE, RANVEER SINGH, SHAHID KAPOOR, JIM SARBH
DIRECTOR: SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI
Count it on India to make a mere film the subject for national discourse for the good part of the year. As a result it almost feels like an achievement to have finally watched the film in the theatre without cuts and bruises. After watching the film you are left still confused as to why the hullabaloo.
As far as the film is considered, it seriously falls short on expectations.
The biggest culprit here are the writers Bhansali and Prakash Kapadia. They have chosen the subject matter which has hardly any story or drama to be worth adapting into a full length film. Major chunk of the film is just random pieces stuck together to make time. What could have been a crisp one and half hour story is needlessly stretched to close to three hours to accommodate to the indulgence of the director.
In looks and feel, the film bears resemblance to all the previous Bhansali films but what it lacks is the strong core of emotions and drama which made Bajirao and Raam Leela so watchable. Barring a few sequences, the film lacks the strong punch that Bhansali is capable of delivering with his dramatic sequences. Ironically, the needless bantering to the community that protested the most against the film goes way over the top and makes the writing look immature and jaded.
Despite weak writing the film is an experience. Indeed hollow, but an experience of sorts. It is spectacular and majestic and transfers you into the era. Barring a few shoddily done vfx sequences, the vision of Bhansali needs to be lauded. Whenever, the writing starts to lose you a stunning looking sequence distracts you from the shortcomings. The man is an artist and each of the frame that he creates reeks of his passion and devotion for the art and it is hard to disregard or ignore that.
The film is embellished with performances that leave you bewildered. Shahid Kapoor is efficient as the strong-willed king. He may fail to look the part at times but his earnestness more than always makes up for it. Deepika looks ethereal and does her best with whatever she has been given to do. However, it breaks my heart to say this but she is wasted in a film. There is precious little for her to do in the film and except for the last reel she is not given much to do. Jim Sarbh gives an interesting performance as well and makes his presence felt in a much shorter but really effective role.
How much ever you write about the performance by Ranveer Singh is less. He has lost himself in the character and leaves you dumbstruck. He is vile and repulsive and everything you would want a character like this to be. He goes to the verge of madness and comes back. This has to be one of the best performance I have seen in ages and will see in the years to come. Hats off to the man.
Music by Bhansali is disappointing and nothing much works except the Ghoomar song which also looks spectacular on screen. War sequences choreographed by Sham Kaushal grand and impressive.
Despite all the flaws in the film, it is a hard film to ask to be missed. And the credit for that goes to the three leads. Sit through non existent plot and long indulgent sequences just for Ranveer Singh. He alone makes it worth it.