wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV/online (?)
An underwhelming fairy tale in characterization, narration and presentation. Not Bhansali’s visual best either. Yet, Padmaavat keeps you interested in Padmavati through 165 minutes, just not as interested as Khilji is in her.Read more
Spent hard-earned ₹709 for one ticket of the preview show. Not worried if it’s money well-spent because I’ve promised myself that whether or not I like it, I’ll watch it 2 more times in theater. You know, just because.
There is really nothing more to say except I am really hoping that I like the film ;).
- meeta, a part of the audience
You support it. You want it to do well just because. You even walk in with a strong hope to like it. It will still need more than grit and valour to make a film seem like it’s well-made, especially when it is over 2.5 hours. That aside, it is equally heartbreaking as it is infuriating that such furor has been allowed over a fairy tale.
The writing otherwise holds no emotional connect – not even that occasional moment of warmth or terror that you can expect from a Bhansali product.
Fictional as the historic character, Padmavati might or might not be, queens and princesses have never been glorified so, even in fairy tales. This woman plays nurse, is witty, strategizes war and political moves, hunts deer, plays nurse, sews clothes, is a dedicated wife and dances with elegance and grace wearing a 50 kilogram ghaghra (gorgeous skirt). Okay fine, I am exaggerating, but it still weighs heavy enough for a leading newspaper to cover it – 30 kilograms.
Only in a fairy tale can valiant kings and barbaric ones, both be romantics at heart who are adept at flirting and romancing. Only in a fairy tale can a warrior king who wants to rule the world be swayed not by beauty, but by the mere description of beauty. That too when the description isn’t even particularly poetic.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is to be blamed here for he is the one guilty of making macho men and empowered women into blinded lovers. It’s not that it can’t be true, but it is getting repetitive across films and you feel a ‘been there, seen that’ feel.
This déjà vu cuts across from characters and situations to the sets and the costumes – which would have been fine for I could spend another two hours looking at films that look like Bajirao Mastani and Ram-Leela. Except that Padmaavat is a tad underwhelming in those two departments that you watch a Bhansali film for. While it is not his finest work visually, every frame is still picture-perfect. That’s how good his other work is. Unfortunately, the music is not even a patch on his regular fare.
The dances too are visually less mesmerizing to the ones in his earlier films. Yet, they are interestingly choreographed. And this might not necessarily be a good thing. ‘bint-e-dil’ came out of nowhere and was mildly amusing and Khalibali’ madcap steps made me worry for the 100 dancers’ knees.
And that I worry for knees and general well-being of performers certainly means I am distracted from the story. The one-line plot is as ‘good versus evil’ as it gets. It is an absolute one-sided view. Not that I wanted to see a dietified version of the Khiljis, but there surely must have been aspects of the Rajput royalty that failed. Or maybe the subtle hints that pointed to their failings is all we can get for now – hints at how totally incapable Rajput men were at strategizing or how a Rajput king can completely ignore a first wife after the second one enters the scene or how Rajputs allowed child brides and pregnant women to be led to their deaths under the veil of honour. In that sense, Padmaavat is a story we have never seen on screen before.
...guilty of making macho men and empowered women into blinded lovers...
However, these subtleties, if at all intentional, are few and far between. The writing otherwise holds no emotional connect – not even that occasional moment of warmth or terror that you can expect from a Bhansali product.
As far as characterizations go, I take film characters at face value. I do not expect them to be what I think they should be nor do I have an image of an ideal villain or hero or side hero. I try my best to not ascribe externalities like religious intent to them. In that sense, I did not have issues with the one-sided portrayal of Ratan Singh or Alaudin Khilji or Padmavati or Nagmati. There could be a story when one man is an epitome of the values he represents – good or bad. I don’t suspect manipulation of religious sentiments or pandering in any of that. For me the basic problem is that they are black and white – literally, attire-wise; figuratively, as per the principles they stand by; behaviourally, according to the actions they take. Because this is what makes the story predictable and boring after the initial exposition.
In such a scenario, we could say that each actor tried their best and yet was lacking. The pick of the lot is of course, Ranveer Singh. Some of Khilji’s mannerisms feel so much like Ranveer Singh’s offline persona and yet you don’t really think of Khilji as Ranveer Singh. You realise it as an afterthought when you are thinking about the performance.
In comparison, it looks like Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor muster what they can weighed down by all the costume paraphernelia. Deepika Padukone gives her sincerest best while trying to be inspirational. But often she is caught staring into the distance – which is what Shahid Kapoor does through and through except for that one time he delivers a line just like his father, Pankaj Kapoor.
That ‘staring into the distance’ connection is just about the chemistry that the lead couple has. Their love for each other seems forced or at least, it pales in comparison with that between Jim Sarbh and Ranveer Singh or can be considered even less than the love-and-hate relationship between Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh – who don’t even share a single frame. In any case, the performances aren’t engaging enough to keep you from wondering about how tired the actors must be from wearing and taking off all that magnificent make-up, jewelry, and costumes.
You have ample time to wonder how much budget would it take for a Hindi film to get special effects close to those from Hollywood – at least to the level that actors don’t look like wax models of themselves. You have enough room to observe Ranveer Singh’s carefully designed boorish look. And that you observe all of this instead of being engaged in the narration or being taken over by the visuals, is a let down.
As far as the depiction of history or portrayal of feminism goes it is a tight-rope act. While Padmaavat portrays unacceptable acts as bravery and there is also merit in portraying that those acts were indeed considered brave in that time and age. After all, the film is declared as a portrayal of a queen as she was presented in a poem. The poet thought of her actions as brave, exemplary and something that should inspire her entire clan and make them proud. In that sense, the film is consistent in that those were also times when it is claimed people stuck to their principles come what may. Therefore, what to us seems like naivete and stupidity was virtue then.
This trail of thought along with the constant zoning in and out from questions about costumes, budgets and computer graphics keep you from enjoying Padmaavat. Fortunately or unfortunately, they are all an intrinsic part of the lackluster story.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Subhash k Jha, Bolly Spice : ...This is a movie so epic in proportion it stands tall among the great films of all time about love and war. In Bhansali, we have our own David Lean. Padmaavat proves it.... full review
Thumbs up, by Urmala Banerjee, Bollywood Life : ...Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film is a visual delight and thoroughly entertaining fare, courtesy the epic performance by Ranveer Singh. It talks about Rajput pride and there is nothing that will offend anyone. At least, I couldn’t find anything that can be termed offensive in anyway. And there is no dream sequence between Khilji and Padmavati.... full review
Thumbs up, by Rohit Adwani, Desi Martini : ...I must say just go n watch it guys if u miss padmavaat then soon u ll feel bad bcoz m the big fan of Ranveer Singh he is the man and he is the best in movie I love u ranveer baba keep it up god bless u for future bro... full review
Thumbs up, by Yatharth Chauhan, Desi Martini : ...Padmaavat’s win also rests on its magical sound score giving it a blockbuster feel. While the film packages itself as an experience like never before, it hardly gives you any reason to hate it. Go watch this one, it has more cinematic valor than what’s needed otherwise! ... full review
Thumbs up, by Rachit Guha, Filmfare : ...Without the policing and the comprises, Padmavati would’ve been a lot better film. But Padmaavat isn’t anything less. This film is rich in detail, still tells a compelling story with grit and gumption. Sure, the verdict over the jauhar bit will always be open, but the build up to that moment is all class. For a film that doesn’t have a surprise for its ending, Padmaavat still manages to create a lot of thrill. It’s a must watch! ... full review
Thumbs up, by Sushant Mehta, india today : ...I'm going with 3.5/5 for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Padmaavat', this film will not go down in history as one of the best Indian films but it could turn out to be the biggest hit of all time, bigger than Dangal and with some luck Padmaavat could challenge Baahubali's record at the domestic box office.... full review
Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...atch Padmaavat for its grandiose, beauty and Ranveer Singh! This is once in a lifetime kind of film which shouldn’t be missed in theaters. A personal note for Ranveer fans, you’re in for the best treat of your life.... full review
Thumbs up, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...Nevertheless, Padmaavat is one film that should be watched on the big screen and if you are a fan of Ranveer Singh, you simply cannot afford to skip this grand movie... full review
Thumbs up, by Kunal guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...While most of the songs seem tedious, Ghoomar is well choreographed and gives a taste of the region the film is set in. That this film has a few severed heads and dramatic transformations, calls upon crediting makeup and prosthetic artist Preetisheel Singh. Action director Sham Kaushal ensures every strike and clank seems like a reflex reaction rather than a calculated attack, rendering an unpredictable contest even when the winner is obvious.... full review
Thumbs up, by Neil Soans, Times of India : ...Cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee compliments him by beautifully capturing some jaw-dropping scenery. However, the effects in the action/ war scenes don't meet the expectations raised by a film of this scale. Also, the songs don't do much to further the narrative other than providing visual delight. Granted, it could do with a tauter screenplay and shorter run-time but 'Padmaavat' is an entertaining, large canvas experience, brought to life with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's stroke of visual brilliance.... full review
Thumbs up, by Ritika Handoo, Zee News : ...Deepika as Rani Padmavati echoes the high sentiment of a Rajput woman. The climax is most dramatic with jaw-dropping imagery clouding your mind. The fight sequence between Khilji and Ratan Singh is a takeaway. ... full review
So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Arijit Singh is astounding in Bint-e-dil, and the Middle Eastern-sounding number is shot on Malik Kafur. (Jim Sarbh locates just the right touch of camp as Alauddin’s slave and lover; the latter’s bisexuality is suggested in a hilariously sly scene, where his hair is being braided by Mehrunnisa on one side and Malik Kafur on the other). This is probably the first instance of a royal’s same-sex love since Razia Sultan, and this relationship is the film’s most interesting. Malik Kafur gets the best introduction scene, hinting at his androgyny — he’s presented like a slave girl, in a veil, and the next minute, he turns into a cold-blooded killer. He’s the film’s only truly Bhansali-esque character, filled with unrequited love, his smile fading every time his master speaks of Padmavati. Bhansali should have made that movie, and the Karni Sena wouldn’t have bothered at all... full review
So-So, by Mayur sanap, Deccan Chronicle : ...Music by Sanjay Bhansali is good enough, but the songs appear a redo of his previous work. While ‘Ghoomar’,’Ek Dil Ek Jaan’ are visually appealing, Ranveer’s futile dance number ‘Khalbali’ reminds you of Bajirao Mastani’s ‘Malhari’.... full review
So-So, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...The lack of objectivity and nuance is doubly galling because Bhansali makes no bones of favouring the Hindu King over the Muslim despot. The Hindu king is portrayed as unblemished (but comes across as insipid) even though he has multiple wives while the Muslim king is deplored for wearing his virility on his sleeve. But contrary to Bhansali’s artistically cloaked objective it’s the portrayal of Khilji that receives the most whistles and praise. And rightfully so because Ranveer is electric in his assumption of an oppressor, a sort of antiquated Khalnayak, who prized his so called Naayaab cheezen (so called priceless possessions) above human life.... full review
So-So, by T J Reddy, fullhyd.com : ...And that feeling of deflation you experience is what makes Padmaavat an inessential film-going exercise. While you applaud the effort, support the artists, uphold freedom of speech and expression, and turn a blind eye to the movie's glorification of jauhar, you are left with the sentiment that there was more that could have been done with lesser, and that Bhansali's shtick might be running its course.... full review
So-So, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...While all the actors were earnest in their roles, it’s the reductive and predictable plot that lets them down. Scenes are carefully contrived to manipulate audience reactions. The climax in which a pregnant woman with a young child walks towards committing Jauhar (self-immolation) to ward off capture from Khilji and his troop was a new low. While suspending belief and surrendering to a period epic unconditionally is a pre-requisite to enjoy a lavish costume drama, the last scenes in which the spirited Padukone gears up for suicide in a poetic manner comes across as unbecoming. The battle scenes are long, so take a plunge into Padmaavat if you are the mood for a grand spectacle that celebrates love, honour, life and death on a strictly superficial level. ... full review
So-So, by Rohit Vats, Hindustan Times : ...Padmaavat is sparkling, extravagant, dazzling, magnificent and wonderful. It’s a feast for the eyes. It leaves you craving for something more meaningful than a mere re-telling of Jayasi’s poem. But it has enough to bedazzle you, so go for the sheen and Ranveer Singh’s lunacy. After all, Padmaavat has passed so many hurdles to reach you.... full review
So-So, by Deepa Gauri, Khaleej Times : ...The songs by Bhansali (for all its classical bravura) are a let-down, and Alauddin bursting into the Khalibali dance is unintentionally hilarious. I made a mistake watching the film on 3D; the visual grandiose that the trailer offered in standard format was lost in its 3D avatar. ... full review
So-So, by Kamaal Rashid Khan, Khaleej Times : ...The movie is a great watch, but leaves the audience with a feeling of void. There is nothing which could make the audience cry or laugh. However, if you are a Ranveer, Deepika or Shahid fan, then this Bhansali epic will certainly bowl you over!... full review
So-So, by Sonal Dedhia, MiD DAY : ...Full marks to Jim Sarbh for taking on the challenge of playing Malik Gafoor. The nuanced way in which his affection for Singh is depicted, deserves a special mention. At two hours and 43 minutes, the film feels long. I can think of two songs featuring Singh that could have been discarded. Another pitfall is that Bhansali doesn't go beyond his template, this time too. He resorts to the usual tropes, like a victory dance number — in this case Khalbali, while his last release 'Bajirao Mastani' had Malhari. The story has too many loose ends. But its biggest shortcoming probably lies in the fact that the film fails to connect on an emotional level. The final scene where Padukone explains why she commits Jauhar might not connect with the audience of today.... full review
So-So, Sify Movies : ...As always, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's films rank high with its music and back-ground score. This one is no different. The dances and the action sequences are well-choreographed. The songs integrate seamlessly into the narrative. But it is the songs, "Khali bali ho gaya hai dila" and "Ghoomar," that stand out.... full review
Thumbs down, by Anna mm verticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...Padmaavat’s disturbing ideology – misogynistic, communal and homophobic – is bad enough. The final nail in the coffin is the lack of chemistry between Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor, which made me long for the Aishwarya Rai-Hrithik Roshan pairing in the equally lavishly produced, vastly superior Jodhaa Akbar (2008). Remember Queen Jodhaa peeping out from behind curtains at the topless emperor? It was a scene crackling with electricity and longing. Watching Padmaavat’s lead couple together though, I could not for the life of me understand why Padmavati gave a fig – or her life – for H.R.H. Padmaavat’s disturbing ideology – misogynistic, communal and homophobic – is bad enough. The final nail in the coffin is the lack of chemistry between Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor, which made me long for the Aishwarya Rai-Hrithik Roshan pairing in the equally lavishly produced, vastly superior Jodhaa Akbar (2008). Remember Queen Jodhaa peeping out from behind curtains at the topless emperor? It was a scene crackling with electricity and longing. Watching Padmaavat’s lead couple together though, I could not for the life of me understand why Padmavati gave a fig – or her life – for H.R.H. Ratan ... full review
Thumbs down, by Deepa gahlot, cinemaah : ...To his credit, Bhansali portrays Padmavati as intelligent and brave, he also gives Mehrunnisa a redeeming sequence and a spine—both women were restricted by social rules of their time, or they might have lived better.... full review
Thumbs down, by Rahul Ramtake, Desi Martini : ...The music of the film is good, Ghoomar song is really well-made. The background music of the film is best. I was really expecting thing film to be good, because of the huge budget, a good star cast, and a genius Director but it's a Magnum Disappointment.... full review
Thumbs down, by Rahul Bharadwaj, Desi Martini : ...If you are a Bansali fan this one is an epic disappointment and if you are not a Bansali fan may I suggest don’t go anywhere near the theatre. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...Padmaavat feels like Bhansali’s attempt to carve out some of that Baahubali territory for himself. This includes the decision to make the film in 3D, a first for the director. Bhansali is a remarkable visual stylist, but the detailing that he normally brings to sets and costumes seems to get lost here. The images in the foreground are a lot sharper—a waste of screen space, considering this is a director who packs every inch of his frames with purpose. Some of the scenes are actively worse for being in 3D; during a battle sequence, flaming arrows are beautifully framed against a dark sky, but the sensation of them flying into your glasses a second later ruins the effect.... full review
Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, NDTV : ...Still, there are some lovely touches in Padmaavat. The fluttering fabric of the palanquin the queen is carried in when her king brings her home, the way the villain's shoulderplates bounce as he runs with feverish urgency, the sight of an imposing crown being used to weigh down and blind a fragile princess. There are even hints at Khilji being bisexual, limited to verbal digs in what is otherwise a highly visual film. These deft asides are tragically dwarfed by the rest of this exhausting and bombastic affair, where captive princesses are made to stand in wading pools while being pelted by pearls.... full review
Thumbs down, by Shreehari Nair, Rediff : ...Their grandiosity notwithstanding, every time I walk out of a Bhansali film, I am overcome by a tremendous urge to watch a rough cut of some picture that's yet to be assembled; a piece of student's cinema; or a sloppy effort at movie-making that doesn't attempt to cover its tracks and instead offers itself generously to the watcher.... full review
Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...In Padmaavat, however, neither does he manage to hit the right notes when it comes to the soundtrack nor is there a single sequence which lingers on. No character reaches out; no moment is able to move you. Padmaavat may well be Bhansali’s most sterile and insipid outing since Saawariya and Guzaarish. It manages to wear down and exhaust rather than engage. ... full review
_sabanaqvi: Saw padmavati. Since I do not approach any Hindi film from prism of political correctness khilji most entertaining.
_MysteriousGlRl: #Padmaavat has been watched, and has been loved !! I'm not really good with reviews but it was a great watch
_MonicaLal: Everyone go and see Padmaavat, dope movie. #DeepikaIsBae #ShahidIsTheRealBae
_kaavya: Padmavat was a visual treat❤
yr_sans: Watched Padmaavat today. Typical SJ Bhansali movie. Good cinematic experience in 3D. Found nothing controversial.
Virendr99020979: Go and watch movie @padmavat Dil Dimag me chha gaye guru @RanveerOfficial
tusharrawat85: Just saw #Padmavat without interest but film was beautifully made. What is their in the film to frown upon ??
TheShilpaShetty: Take a bow #SLB, every frame is incredibly stunning !This film is a MUST WATCH for the sheer effort n trials this team has braved
tejkamble2: surprising ur role in #padmavat what a postive characher n best performs of ur love u
Surajirai4: I AM BELONGING WITH RAJPUT FAMILY AND I LOVED #Padmaavat @deepikapadukone @shahidkapoor @RanveerOfficial ...
sunkissedkookie: padmavati/padmaavat was such a good movie oh my gosh i’m actually shook
Soumya18664268: Cause one time is not enough so twice #Padmaavat
Smita16173542: Padmavat...superb...woman power..great...and Ranveer....besttttttttt acting...
sincerelyCL: Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a master craftsmen of epic sagas and visual spectacles. #Padmaavat
ShreyaAkhil: Please support and watch the beautiful saga #Padmaavat,
shahdarshil3531: #Padmavat review must watch movie @RanveerOfficial @shahidkapoor @deepikapadukone awesom movie loved a lot ❤️❤️ love from ireland
Savan22752041: #Padmaavat #brilliant movie #just watched @deepikapadukone @RanveerOfficial @shahidkapoor
Salman_Aryan1: Bhut acchi movie hai #Padmaavat . Blockbuster jaygi
RockyvarmaRv: Padmavat is jabardast movie
rocksmanan29: Yesterday saw PADMAAVAT... Amazing movie... A delight to watch... @deepikapadukone @RanveerOfficial @shahidkapoor Thank you for this movie..
RichikaChahal: #Padmavat movie is a pure bliss
raveenmangat: Padmaavat was such a visual treat. Just wow
QZaman82: Jst watched #padmaavat must watch movie it’s a masterpiece @RanveerOfficial outclassed everyone
queeenheeen: Padmaavati was really good guys totally recommend
Prince_NYX: #Padmaavat... Good movie, good performance... But honestly, @shahidkapoor is underused!! #feelingbadforshahid
PrabhasManeesh: OUTSTANDING EPIC
pmandpe24: Just watched Padmavaat. A crowning jewel in Indian cinema, can't understand what the fuss is about #Padmaavat
Plzbanmebrony: Every element. Every scene is a bliss. Elegance at its best. #Padmaavat
namritaaaa_: Padmaavat was the best movie ever!!!!! ❤
mythilee_more: #Padmavat Every frame was a magnificient game❤Movie was a thrilling combination of love
MMohit007: #Padmaavat = Masterpiece ❤
MKp963: Watched Padmavat what an epic movie yaar
kingkhanfan5: Well done team Padmaavat,Their hard work is paying off
imaqueenlovatic: Guys, #Padmaavat STOLE MY HEART
Hussain17702132: Superb movie Deepika, Ranveer Waives the magic yet again. #Padmaavat
guruuxvii: Padmaavat Is a must to watch
gloryjaebum: i just watched Padmavati and it was by far the greatest movie i have ever seen
EktaSidhuAAP: #Padmaavat बहुत जबरदस्त फिल्म है कोई हंगामा करने वाली फालतू बात नही फिल्म में सबने बहुत अच्छा किरदार निभाया है
Crazii_Jayy: Padmaavat was amazing.
Chethan53061903: Padmaavat. First day, First show.. Awesome movie
AshishG20956721: I love Ranveer Singh dialogue and dance. I love padmavat
AlfiyaAnsar: #Padmaavat #RanveerSingh #DeepikaPadukone #ShahidKapoor great acting! Sanjay Leela Bhansali you are a genius
thenidhii: #Padmaavat is a very average movie, instead go & watch #mukkabaaz @ItsVineetSingh
RajhaPriya: Padmavat speaks of sati & the things of Rajputs in war.. Not satisfied at all
BeingSam24: #Padmaavat is a sleeping Capsule. too slow 1st half even in ff mode
Not Interested in Watching, by Fan
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Faran Strong : The message of Padmaavat appears to be: men are oafs and women have to kill themselves as a result.
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Manish : great movie interesting story
Yay! Thumbs Up, by priya sharma
Yay! Thumbs Up, by rohini sharma : very good
So-So, by Dev : One time watch.
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.