Human beings and history have consistently and continuously had trouble recognising and accepting love which was above and beyond defined relationships, labels and beliefs. And love has equally persistently, thwarted their efforts to make it settle into black and white “within the lines” confines and has burst rainbow-like, into hearts and minds which have eventually not cared about the restraints-so fulfilling has this colour been. It has enriched, not taken away.
One does not have to rattle off names of star crossed lovers from yore-I’m sure you’ll find enough examples in the life around you.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s take on love has always been unusual and has portrayed the acceptance of unusual and unlikely relationships through his body of work. A husband taking his wife to her love, Paro and Chandramukhi in “dola re”, a nurse and a paraplegic in a pact for euthanasia. Sometimes over the top , overtly grandiose and not appreciated for its presentation, the theme runs through his films.
His sepia-toned interpretation of Peshwa Baji Rao and his Mastani, Princess of Bundelkhand has the same. A strong message, a yearning almost of letting love be.
A visual and cinematic delight and a well directed, extremely well cast film with each character etched out and each actor doing justice to their roles.
Ranveer Singh’s Bajirao is terrific-right from the supremely confident young Peshwa staking his claim, to the beleaguered husband and ruler ;trying to do what is right and being thwarted by his own for reasons of ostensible righteousness. To the dutiful to the end but heartbroken Rao whose demons slay him. It may be difficult to like his madness off screen, but his acting skills are right up there and improving.
Kashibai-Priyanka Chopra– Beautiful, elegant and portray the loving wife, the hurt wife and eventually the angry wife very well. Just the right levels of emotion. The vulnerability and love and anger all spill out from her eyes and body language.
Mastani-a beautiful, elegant and absolutely breathtaking Deepika Padukone portraying effectively the combination of a tough, brave, sword wielding warrior and the hopelessly in love young princess to whom playing second fiddle, lack of acceptance and sharing Bajirao is “qabool”.
Bajirao and Mastani light up the screen with their chemistry. While his love and time is shared for her, it is clearly conveyed by his actions which include trying in every way to get her the respectability and acceptance he wants for her. Her love flows just for him, from luminescent eyes that shine brighter when they look at him. The same eyes that show steely determination while fighting a battle or standing up to the “keep them apart” and insulting tactics of Rao’s mother and brother. They are superb together.
Milind Soman and Tanvi Azmi in supporting roles play the quiet Minister and conniving but loving mother respectively very well.
The music is not great but fits the film. The panoramic sets and cinematography is amazing as are some of the details of accents, apparel and swords.A definite “Mughal-e-Azam” feel to one set and he amyway said it’s a tribute to the older film.
Yes of course there are some issues-like Deepika’s Urdu diction. Or that “Pinga” is not a patch on “Dola re” but few can match Madhuri’s dancing. I’m sure many more flaws will be visible to the more exacting.
Bajirao-Mastani. They loved. It was the others who lost.