Guest article by Sumit Celly
I had absolutely no idea about the history of Bajirao, one of the greatest warriors and rulers of the Maratha dynasty. The only Marathi warrior or ruler I had heard about was Shivaji who I now know was the founder of the Maratha dynasty. The movie reviews online all seemed to suggest that we should watch this one as soon as possible. So we decided to bundle up on an extremely cold Colorado afternoon and head to Denver to watch this epic story.
The movie is about Bajirao (superbly portrayed by Ranvir Singh
), one of the rulers of the Peshava dynasty who is a great warrior and the leader of the army. Bajiao is extremely valuable to the empire on account of his skills in the battlefield. He is portrayed as a super hero who is unfazed by the size or strength of the army in front of him. He is often showing fighting several soldiers at once with kind of sword that seems more like a whip. Bajirao’s help is requested by Mastani (played by Deepika Padukone
), daughter of the king of Bundelkhand. Their fort has been surrounded by a Mughal warlord. This scene in which Mastani forces herself into Bajirao’s camp is one of the highlights of the movie. Its probably one of the most dramatic requests for help I have ever witnessed. Bajiao saves Bundelkhand from the Mughals and in return loses his heart to Mastani. Things get complicated because not only is Bajirao is married to Kashi( played by Priyanka Chopra
) but also because Mastani is half Muslim. So while the great warrior can win any battle on the battlefield, he is having a hard time getting his second wife accepted by his staunchly Hindu mother played brilliantly by Tanvi Azmi and the rest of the household. Mastani is not allowed inside “Shaniwar Wada”, the beautiful new palace built for Baji rao and his family and instead lives in Mastani mahal, the house her lover has dedicated to her. Most of the movie from here on centers around Bajirao and Mastani gaining acceptance in the Peshawa household even though they are legally married.
The visual elements of the movie are simply fantastic. The canvas this is depicted on is immense and the battle scenes especially the one in Bundelkhand are really impressive. The camera captures the terrain , the scale of the war with the huge armies , and the background of the fort impressively. Similarly, some of the scenes shot inside “Shaniwar Wada” including Deepika’s “deewani ho gayee” song are beautiful. There is no doubt the director had a grand vision mind and realized it to a large extent. In many respects, this movie is a visual master piece. The music does leave much to be desired and the only notable song was “Pinga”. However, the real reason the movie does not work is because the love story between Bajirao and Mastani does not come through. The director spends more time focusing on the internal politics of a household led by Bajirao’ mom who is hell bent on getting this half muslim “Mastani” out of there rather than on developing romance between the two. In that respect, it becomes a period version of “saas bahu” serials, albeit with a twist. Both of them spend more time fighting the opposition to their love and pining for each other in solitude. The scenes in which they are together with Mastani talking about her undying love for him just did not connect with me. The movie wants to be this eternal love story on the line of “Romeo and Juliet” or “ Heer Ranjha” but ends up being at best a beautiful visual depiction of the peak of the Maratha empire.
As for my recommendation on seeing the movie, I would say see it for for the visual aspects, great acting by Ranvir Singh and Tanvi Azmi,
and also understanding an important part of Indian history incase you are not familiar with it. On that note, not everything is accurate and some changes have been made as stated by a disclaimer at the beginning.
About the guest
A software engineer by profession, Sumit Celly is a man of very fine tastes – be it food, music, movies, books or life in general. He is also a tea and coffee connoisseur. It’s always a pleasure having him here on my blog. I’m truly blessed to have him as my husband. Thanks honey !