After battling several hurdles, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Padmaavat' finally hits the screens. While Sanjay has earlier worked with Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone on two films ('Goliyon Ki Raas-Leela Ram Leela' and 'Bajirao Mastani'), this is his first collaboration with Shahid Kapoor. The film is based on the poem 'Padmaavat' by Mallik Mohammed Jayasi but the principal characters have also been mentioned in other pieces of literature. So, one looks forward to see how closely Bhansali adheres to historical documents and what are the creative liberties he takes to make his vision come alive on the screen.
Rana Rawal Ratan Singh, the king of the Mewar kingdom, is married to Nagmati (Anupriya Goenka). While on a trip to a neighbouring kingdom, he meets Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) and gets besotted by her charm and beauty. Padmavati, too, gets attracted to the beguiling king. They decide to get married and Ratan Singh gets her to her Mewar as his newly wed wife and the new queen of Mewar. Everything is one fine, until one day Ratan Singh, while sharing a private moment with Padmavati, finds Rajguru (Aayam Mehta) peeping into their bedroom. He banishes him from his kingdom. Rajguru arrives in the kingdom of the evil king Alaudin Khilji and tells him about the beauty of Padmavati. Alaudin decides to wage a war against Ratan Singh and usurp his kingdom and Padmavati.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, yet again, proves that he has an eye for detail. The film has been mounted on a huge scale and he leaves no stone unturned to make sure that each and every frame looks gorgeous. The camerawork by Sudeep Chatterji, the costumes by Rimple - Harpreet Narula and Maxima Basu and the production design by Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray, all contribute towards the grand visuals that you see on the screen. Alas, he fails to deliver in two departments, the script and the music. The screenplay, which he has co-written with Prakash Kapadia, has its moments but does not carry much weight. Despite the film being a historical drama, there are very few scenes which evoke emotion in you. The screenplay had scope for romance, war and conflict but these elements do not really come together to create drama that would captivate the audience. After watching the film, you also wonder why there were so many protests against the film as the film shows the Rajput clan in its full glory. If you see the beyond the beautiful frames and the historical references, it comes across as a simple story of good versus evil.
Shahid Kapoor lends gravitas and dignity to the character of Rawal Ratan Singh but his character comes across as a uni-dimensional and because of that he does not get the opportunity to much with it. Though the film was earlier titled after Deepika Padukone's character, her character is not as well-etched as one would have expected it to be. Ranveer Singh gets a well-written character and he brings to the fore the various quirks of Alaudin Khilji very well. He delivers an extraordinary performance, which also is one of the mainstays of the film. Anupriya Goenka, who left a strong impression with her performance in 'Tiger Zinda Hai', gets limited scope to perform in this film. Jim Sarbh does a marvellous job as Malik Gafur. His peculiar accent works to his advantage here. Aditi Rao Hydari, Raza Murad and Aayam Mehta impress despite getting limited screen time.
'Padmaavat' has the grandiose and opulence one has come to associate with Sanjay Leela Bhansali but the maudlin and insincere screenplay brings the film down. The film is bereft of drama and emotional quotient that was so essential for it to strike a chord with the audience.