BAJIRAO MASTANI is not just opulence in cinematic excellence, this spectacular epic from India by Sanjay Leela Bhansali sets the time for Indian epics to be underlined in the list of world's epic period dramas.
Serving up both as a visual feast and fascinating narrative embellishing the Indian culture of love and unity twined with the Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb - a fusion of Hindu and Muslim elements, this love story of Maratha warrior Peshwa Bajirao (flawlessly played by Ranveer Singh) and his second wife Mastani (Irresistible Deepika Padukone at her peak) playing the daughter of Bundela Rajput leader Maharaja Chhatrasal and his Persian-Muslim wife Ruhaani Bai.
Based on the Marathi novel Raau by Nagnath S. Inamdar, Bhansali in BAJIRAO MASTANI may have dipped his cinematic pen in the style ink he is known for but in doing so, he has inscribed an evolving and involving lesson on Indian cinemas forgotten authenticity, class and dignity in epic history.
Interestingly, in 1913 RAJA HARISHCHANDRA a historical by the pioneer of Indian cinema from Maharashtra - Dadasaheb Phalke gave the birth to Indian cinema with this silent full length feature. 47 years later K. Asif's ten years of labour of love gave shape to a masterpiece MUGHAL-E-AZAM starring Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Prithviraj Kapoor that set benchmarks for cinema in India and abroad.
55 years later BAJIRAO MASTANI takes a step towards this direction and it's not a mean achievement. It's not that Bollywood had not had its share of period epic sagas, the year saw BAAHUBALI - a unique example of the scale, grandeur Indian cinema can now achieve.
Rajamouli's vision in this incredibly spectacular piece of art is exceptional, but what makes BAJIRAO MASTANI a proud cinematic moment for Indian and connoisseurs of such art is the ability to bring in all the principles of a period love story together, chalking out details of the era be it the costumes, dialect, music, background score etc. to perfection keeping the Indian ethos high.
BAAHUBALI is a period fantasy action with some obvious Hollywood sci–fi inspirations. Similarly, Ashutosh Gowariker's JODHAA AKBAR (2008) was a decent entertainer but it failed to make any impact on those fronts as it lacked the required Indian feel due to its improper casting and historic accuracy issues. How far will his upcoming MOHENJO DARO starring Hrithik Roshan will reach; only time will tell.
Shah Rukh Khan got a rare opportunity in ASHOKA THE GREAT in 2001 and missed it miserably in this Santosh Sivan directed period adventure. Hema Malini's RAZIA SULTAN by Kamal Amrohi in 1983 stayed true to its grandiosity but failed in providing any entertainment or cinematic statement. The movie bombed at the box-office even after having a hit pair of Hema Malini and Dharmendra.
During the early stages of Indian cinema mythological, historical told in the form of Parsi dramas were popular. The last decade has seen Chinese epic sagas making good impact with HERO, CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER, RED CLIFF, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON etc, for the same quality that BAJIRAO MASTANI has.
Bringing back the passion, authenticity of classical Indian cinema back at this period when filmmakers and cine-goers are too much awed by the developments and techniques from the west, BAJIRAO MASTANI lays out a view of India's richness in the form of art and the art of filmmaking to the world. It is an opulence that fancies world significance.
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