Bajirao Mastani - Review

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One mesmerizing experience, visually. The film is good too.

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“One person can be in love with two people at the same time.” “Women are empowered and can hold their own.” “Religion shouldn't be the basis for love or war.” - Each one of these is a bold theme for one film to take on by itself. Bajirao Mastani takes it all on together and does justice to all of them.

Film aside, I am in awe that these themes were picked up in real life, a few centuries ago. I hope this is how it all happened. I hope this is how Bajirao Peshwa was – not only a valiant leader, but also stood up for his women and when necessary stood up against them too; fought his wars but was absolutely clear about why he was fighting them – not for religion. I wonder when we regressed. I wonder what problem anyone would have in believing that the man and the women were as they were portrayed here. aso (so be it.)

Such strong personalities - each one of them. Once you get over the each-frame-a-beautiful-canvas visuals that are typical of Bhansali films, you are taken over by the characters. The frames stay beautiful, of course, just that the three main leads weave an interesting web. Mastani (Deepika Padukone), the strong-willed woman consumed by love – yes some women are like that, then and now. Bajirao (Ranveer Singh), known as India's greatest warrior also fell in love and not just once, his vulnerability exposed ever-so slightly. And Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra) – wow! What a lady! Hurting yet holding her pride.

Priyanka Chopra is an easy winner in this one. Maybe she is relegated to the background for most of the film. But in a couple of “her” scenes – she makes you forget it is her and holds you in awe of Kashibai where you feel her pain too. Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh come across as just pretty people when held against her. They do well, but you begin to notice how after a point they have to hold just one expression. Ranveer Singh overacts a tad bit and has an inconsistent accent. Not that these lapses are intolerable but they make you wonder how much better the performance would have been without.

There were other things that took away from the film. Like the songs, especially the one with the Peshwa celebrating. No, whether or not they happened all those years ago, whether or not it offends anyone - at least one or two of them should've been cut out – they should've stayed out because they just made the film longer. There were times when the film came across as a saas-bahu1 soap opera, but I guess this was a family drama of its own kind.

The time lapses were distracting too. Too many times, the narrative moved from one character to another without a smooth flow. Looks like Mr. Bhansali had a lot more shot and had to be cruel on the editing table. Another distraction came with the Marathi words thrown in, isn't it just fine that they are speaking in Hindi in a Hindi film? Then there was the preachy closing – why-o-why?

Of course, even when put together these aberrations are not huge enough to take away from what's good about the film. Magnificent visuals apart, Bajirao Mastani might be a version of history that I wish is true.

~ ~ ~

1 TV soap operas revolving around petty family politics.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Topless Ranveer Singh. One scene that implies that a sexual act is on its way.
  • Concept: Story of a warrior – his wars and his women.
  • General Look and Feel: Beautiful

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3
  • Story: 3.5
  • Lead Actors: 4
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 3.5
  • Screenplay: 3
  • Music Director: 3.5
  • Lyrics: 3

Bajirao Mastani - Movie Details

Bajirao Mastani - Trailer

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Comments (44)

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Fan:

Can't wait.

TimELiebe:

Neither can we, @Fan! Honestly, as sumptuous as it looks, it would have to really truly stink on ice for us not to watch it anyway....

Fan:

Diwali 2007.

Royal clash. Sanjay Leela Bhansali v/s Shah Rukh Khan.

Result: Sanjay Leela Bhansali lost. Reason: product slickly packaged but the contents were mediocre.

Cut to 2015: Christmas.
Once again a royal clash is promised. This time around lots of hopes for Sanjay Leela Bhansali to redeem himself. Of course he is taking on a superstar once again, who attracts crowds to theatres without any real content. So the contest should be a good one. But this time I expect SLB to deliver a knock-out.

Tickets are booked - for both the films. Just waiting for the clock to tick by.

TimELiebe:

Sounds worth watching, Meetu!

Wonder if this will show up in the ONE Indian movie theatre still in our city, or ifs we'll end up streaming it off Eros Now...

Fan:

Ufff 2 movies on the same evening. And that too films that are totally different from each other. I am feeling completely drained.

Dilwaale had already left me feeling sick (refer to my post on Dilwaale page) and i think that that feeling prevented me from enjoying Bajirao Mastani.

Visually the film is stunning like any other SLB film. I am sure that he is convinced that his films are poetry in motion. And sometimes I believe that too, although not for Bajirao Mastani.

I just didn't feel the pain of Bajirao or of Mastani as much as I had felt for RamLeela. And that means the film failed in that aspect. However with regards to Kashibai the effect on me was the exact opposite; I could fully empathise with her.

I am not a historical scholar but looking at the high number of seconds devoted to a disclaimer, and the sudden importance given to a book Rau and its Maharashtrian author makes me smell a rat. I do not support this kind of literary freedom just as I do not support Haider type literary freedom. Any attempt to change history is dishonest.

Overall verdict : better than Dilwaale but inferior to RamLeela. Nevertheless a good one time watch for the sheer opulence.

ehinome okojie:

This Babalawo Mastizaade film is below Dilwale on IMDB, so its run at the counter is propelled by those who are feeling sick of the Dilwale promos. 11.5cr day one is a good number for this film. This makes me want HRo to clash with Aamir next Christmas, it should be fun.

Anuj:

Ram-Leela was pathetic and an unbearable watch. However, Bajirao seems like a lot of flair and opulence from its promos. This one's gonna be my pick this weekend. Due to huge production cost and the clash with Dilwale (unfortunately that pile of trash would have a higher viewership due to stammer worshippers) Bajirao has almost zero chance of being a box office success. Yet I do hope that the word of mouth would be positive and this one at least challenges the "heart attack" in week 2.

Fan:

@Anuj : having watched both Dil(check kar)waale and Bajirao Mastani I have no two doubts that week 2 onwards BM will take the lead. So just waiting patiently for Ehinome Okojie to honour his word. :-)

Anuj:

@Fan : Frankly, I got received enough feedbacks from plenty of viewers who have watched Dilwale (some including SRK-Kajol fans) and now I am convinced that given a choice between the two, I would be spending my 400 bucks on Bajirao this weekend.

Anuj:

@Fan : Need not wait for week 2. On day 2 itself Bajirao has shown fantastic growth of upto 25% in multiplex dominated circuits of Mumbai, Bangalore and NCR. Dilwale on the other hand has fallen flat and the Saturday collection is even lower than Friday's. Its the devil of Karma playing out for SRK as Eros has done to him, what he did to Devgan film back in 2012. Eros International has made sure that Dilwale does not find a release in many of the prime single screen theaters of Central India and Maharashtra, thereby nullifying its impact. Although Bajirao too has flopped in single screens, the fact that Dilwale has not found a release has dented the movie's prospects hugely. Both films have an investment of 120 cr approx and going by the day 2 trends, both movies would just about hit recovery with lifetime collections of 120-140 cr range. Bajirao has taken Mumbai and Bangalore multiplexes by storm while Dilwale has been rejected by both A and B center audiences. Bajirao would make huge gains for the multiplex exhibitors and come Monday, it is set to outnumber Dilwale across most circuits, especially the multiplexes. This is a huge moral and psychological victory for Bhansali/Eros and gang.

Fan:

@Anuj : true Bajirao is made for multiplex audiences. It would not make money in smaller centres. Dilwaale was made for pan north and west india, but the product being so bad that it will lose big time. Only die hard SRK fans will rever it and outside India only the UK market will show positive results for Dilwaale.

Fan:

Of course the 2 giants sharing the same weekend didn't help. They both are eating into each other's potential revenues.

Anuj:

Day 3 has started well for both films so that does give hope to Dilwale and its ambition of crossing 150 cr nett. Weekdays would be crucial going forward.

Anuj:

@Fan : Frankly, these popular actors and corporate productions along with the falsely reporting media have created this illusion among the general public's head that the higher the collection, the bigger the hit. Its no big deal for a big budgeted solo release to open to huge occupancy and record big numbers during festival weekends with multiple screenings and hiked up ticket prices. What is however not reported is the huge prices at which these films are bought by the individual distributors and exhibitors of different territories. Factually, the so-called blockbusters like Kick are just ordinary Hits in terms of all India ROI while the "record breaking" Happy New Year is an Above Average affair. The likes of Ra.1, Bang Bang, Talaash and Jai Ho are outright flops. In fact, every SRK film this decade barring CE and JTHJ is a box office loser/coverage affair. Even last month's PRDP whose collections were blown out of proportion is factually just an Average fare as it has an investment of over 180 cr.

Anuj:

Its official now. BM collections have crossed Dilwale on Monday. Week 1 would witness Dilwale @ 95 cr and BM @ 81 cr. This gap would be reduced and marginalized over the next 2 weeks. As proved earlier with the Hindi version of Baahubali and now with BM, no star power can match up to the power of content and word of mouth.

Anuj:

Finally watched it. Its fabulous but too flawed with too many cinematic liberties for my liking. Here's my review :

http://thesimplemoviereviewer.blogspot.in/2015/12/bajirao-mastani-review-fabulous-but.html

Anuj:

@Meeta : U really feel Bajirao treated his women well in spite of the way he reciprocated Kashibai's honest and devoted feelings with nothing but disdain? The climax sequence and the entire portrayal of Bajirao is that of an irresponsible and emotionally weak human being who does not know where his priorities lie. Ditto goes for Mastani turning from a warrior princess to a weak love struck damsel despite knowing the fact that she was destroying the personal relationship of Bajirao. Gives me the impression of 2 highly irresponsible individuals!

Fan:

Well, 2015 coming to an end. Barring some Tamacha and other irrelevant film that I have not yet seen, the rest has been seen and done with.

So time for the predictions of the award seasons. Here's my take, provided judges are only influenced by quality of the films and nothing else.

Best film: Drishyam
Best director: Nishikant Kamat (Drishyam)
Best actor female: Deepika Padukone (Piku)
Best actor male: Amitabh Bachhan (Piku)
Best actor in a supporting role female: Shefali (Dil Dhadakne Do)
Best actor in a supporting role male: Irfan Khan (Piku)

Technical awards to be shared between Bajirao Mastani and Baahubali.

Sorry nothing for the Khans, or Bajrangi.

Anuj:

@Fan : Best film Drishyam? A frame by frame remake of a much more superiorly directed and enacted original. wow!

Anuj:

My favorite film : Baby, Piku, Badlapur, Tanu Weds Manu 2 & Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

Favorite Actor : Amitabh in Piku, Akshay in Baby, Nawaz in Badlapur.

Actress : Harshali Malhotra in Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

Director : Neeraj Pandey/Shoojit Sircar

Anuj:

Actress : Kangana in TWMR as well.

Anuj:

Best supporting actor : Irfan in Piku, Nawaz in Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Anupam Kher in Baby.

PS : Baahubali is not a Bollywood film and hence cannot be taken into consideration.

Anuj:

Aah! How can I forget Deepak Dobriyal in TWMR.

Fan:

@Anuj : award can go to only 1 person per category, so your names are more like potential contenders.

As regards Drishyam - yes it is not an original story/screenplay. That doesn't mean it is disqualified. And even frame by frame remake is not a child's play especially to create and sustain the high tensions.

Anuj:

@Fan : Picking up 1 winner among a gallery of awesome performers in genres as different as chalk and cheese is a pointless exercise. And that is the precise reason I do not believe in awards, most of which are chosen by a handful of individuals who call themselves the 'jury' which mainly consists of pseudo intellectuals and failed film-makers. Imo, choosing between Neeraj Pandey for Baby & Shoojit Sircar for Piku is an impossible task as both film-makers have excelled equally in their own department of making the genre of films that they wanted to. Same goes for a Kangana vs Deepika comparison for TWMR vs Piku. Each of the above performers have excelled equally in their own way and it would be unfair to choose one over the other.

As for the remake, its no big deal to borrow a story, screenplay and dialogues from one brilliant film in one language and translate it to create another gem in another language. All you need is a set of good actors which Ajay and Tabu obviously are.

Fan:

@Anuj: If borrowed screenplay from a blockbuster (Sholay) and presence of good actors (Mohanlal, Amitabh Bachhan, Ajay Devgn) were a guarantee to a good film then Ramgopal Varma ki Aag would not have been a yardstick to measure flop movies.

Anyways, all the films/personalities that you mention worthy of accolades in 2015 are well deserving ones.

Wishing a Merry Christmas to the entire wogma family.

ANuP:

So many discussions of good movies and good actors , but no one has mentioned TALVAR . Which i think is a big contender and also Irfan as main lead..

Anuj:

@Fan : There's an evident difference between "adapting" a 1970's classic which relied on heavy overdose of dialogues and character development and "remaking" a modern day classic from one language into another.

@Anup : Talvar is a biased and one sided take on a real life incident and hence does not merit a mention imo.

Anuj:

Here are my top 5 favorite films of 2015

http://thesimplemoviereviewer.blogspot.in/2015/12/the-best-bollywood-films-of-2015-my-pick.html

Interestingly, each of these 5 films(along with Drishyam) is better than any Hindi commercial movie released in 2014. 2015 has indeed been a memorable year for Hindi movie buffs.

Anup:

Anuj- let me tell u one thing , the team have not a single time said that they will show the exact events in a true manner , rather they have said that it will be only the vision of the Victims family on the murder case. And that what it was..
why to judge it on facts , judge it like a movie

Anuj:

@Anup : Now let me tell u one thing. I did my best to watch Talvar only as a work of fiction and yet there were too many loopholes for it to be passed of as an edge of the seat thriller. The pace is slow, the screenplay is loose and the movie completely loses its direction in the second half. There is absolutely no explanation and reasoning given behind the conviction of the parents except a pointless monologue on the statue of justice. The only thing Talvar managed was some appreciation among the armchair critics and gold class audience courtesy the presence of fake intellectual audience darlings like Irfan and Konkana. Replace Irfan with Devgan while retaining the same plot, same screenplay and same climax and these worthless good for nothing critics would have given Talvar a mediocre rating (like many of them did with Drishyam). These [personal attack - comment partially deleted] critics who give ratings based on star cast need a whip on the place where it hurts the most.

Fan:

Talvar is an ordinary film.

@Anuj : BTW it would seem that you gave your 2015 top and flop analysis without even watching Dil(check kar)waale. What will the SRK fans feel ;-)

Anuj:

@Fan : Thanks but no thanks! :P Btw, i'm an optimist and hence do not give analysis for the flops or worst films. For the record, my most disliked movie of the year is Bombay Velvet although i'm sure Dilwale would come close had i watched it :P

Fan:

:-)

ehinome okojie:

Best Actor - Ranveer Singh (Bajirao Mastani)
Best Actress - Kangana Ranaut (TWMR)
Best Film - Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Best Director - Nishikant Kamat (Drishyam)

Anuj:

2015 box office at a glance :

http://bollywoodboxofficedata.blogspot.in/

Anuj :

The following Q&A; on indicine.com perfectly specifies the manipulations and cheat that producers of big budgeted films indulge in these days :

http://www.indicine.com/movies/bollywood/box-office-verdict-of-dilwale/

Request everyone to read this piece for sure!

Fan:

@Anuj : thanks for sharing.

An eye opener.

Fan:

Watched the guild awards. Dilwaale was not even nominated for any award whereas Bajirao was nominated in several categories. Good, it means that SRK will skip most of the award functions this year.

Anuj:

@Fan : u still believe in awards? I stopped watching them the day 'A Wedmesday' was not nominated in even a single category.

Fan:

@Anuj : Bollywood awards have zero credibility for me. I watch them more from entertainment point of view.

Anuj:

@Fan : Since this media created hype of the "100 cr club" began back in 2010, almost every single mainstream actor barring Akshay & Ajay has been fudging numbers and verdicts for his films. Even people with credibility like Hrithik Roshan has fallen prey to this and ended up manipulating figures for Krrish 3 (though that film is still a Super Hit) and Bang Bang (an outright flop). Sohail Khan productions made a "Semi Hit" out of a distribution disaster like Jai Ho while PRDP has been elevated to the level os a Super Hit in spite of being just a coverage film for the distributors. However, SRK can easily be called the king of all manipulations. Every movie of his this decade barring CE,JTHJ and HNY to an extent (thanks to its diwali release) has been an Average/Below Average affair with Ra.1 and Dilwale being distribution flops. However, the master manipulator that he is, even a dud like Ra.1 was termed a HIT by sites like boi.com while Average fares like Don 2 and MNIK was termed hits too. Ridiculous!

Fan:

@Anuj : how much ever I hate SRK the actor, I do admire his business acumen. To stay at the top and to stay so politically powerful is no mean feat; and that despite a pathetic acting skill. Call it the manipulative tactics or call it survival skills - he is good at it.

Anuj:

180 cr lifetime finish. Outstanding performance. Not only has this movie covered its unreasonably high costs, it has gone on to make handsome profits for most distributors especially in the Maharashtra/Gujarat/Goa belt. It is a marginally profitable to coverage affair in the rest of India. Theatrically, the performance has been a SUPER HIT. Final verdict, HIT (due to huge investment)

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