Verdict - Go watch Padmaavat, it has more cinematic valor than what’s needed otherwise!
A cinematic experience making you take a moment before you gather your thoughts and form an opinion is always a fabulous sign. It ratifies the film was indeed able to absorb you in its narrative. Coming out of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat gave me similar feels. It left me exactly how any movie watching experience should - Thinking & Fascinated! At a runtime of almost 3 hours, it's quite laudable how Padmaavat seldom tests your patience and turn mundane as often is the case with movies crafted on visual grandeur high on length.
It doesn't deserve the scrutiny it had to bear, it never did. If anything Bhansali had his intentions tilted for, was to perhaps create the perceptibility around a story we have grown up hearing. It celebrates the valor of Rajputs as much it tries to reason with the argument we almost got divided at. Does it glorify the brutal & obnoxious aura of Allauddin Khilji? Well to be honest, the answer isn't entirely in whites. But it's understandable to a large extent when you're handling a budget of almost 200 crores and your biggest bet is the antagonist. Everything put in perspective though is easily defensible. Padmaavat is about the Good against the Evil, the Right against the Wrong and the Righteous against the Sharks.
It wins at several levels but ably balancing the writing amid the grand canvas is something to start with. While the absolutely mind transporting visuals make you feel the existence of an experience, the equally complimenting storytelling takes the front seat while settling visuals as a lesser juxtapose. The vividly sketched characters are all carrying something to convey and it's easy to enter each one of their minds and wear the shades of their approach.
Padmaavat never tries to establish itself as anything mindfully authentic, it dwells on making itself a fulfilling watch which it is. When you find rooting for someone who you already know is fatefully lost, you know the tone is set right. It makes the right statements to make you fall for its admittedly larger than life approach and you don't mind falling for it either.
Yes, Bhansali's struggle to accommodate the triangle of a rather strong cast is visible in a lot of ways, yet he never tries to get than in the way of what he wants to convey. The character you most strongly bring back with you is Allaudin Khilji and that is just an attribution of how fabulous Ranveer Singh is. By putting his teeth into the character that he gives life to, he not only illustrates the madness of Khilji but also showcases his humanlike feelings by his understated expressions. It's often easy to hate a villain that's ruthless but the constant reminder of how good Ranveer was, kept coming in the way a number of times.
And like every good hero needs a good villain, the tables turn the other way here. As Maharwal Ratan Singh, Shahid Kapoor easily gets to portray one of his strongest roles if not the most powerful. Despite a 'mentally' stronger character placed against him, he convinces with his performance how unintimidated his character was. Shahid scores more since his role demanded a transition not any other character in the movie did. From being a devoted husband, an answerable ruler and a downcast force to a heroically fighting Rajput, his character is a journey that you feel the most for.
Deepika holding the third end as Rani Padmavati does nothing wrong. A testament of her resounding portrayal of Padmavati is the fact that she makes you believe in her decision of committing Jauhar. Despite the hostile line being drawn between the two male leads, she owns almost every scene she is in. Special mention for Jim Sarbh who adds more texture by delivering an amusing performance.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is only getting better with his projection of fictionalized history. With Padmaavat, he does everything in the right space to create a perfect story if not the perfect movie. While the long runtime of the movie never gets to a point of exhaustion, it does however annoy cause it easily could have been done away with. Couple of songs in the second half only hamper the run of events besides lengthening the movie.
Anything about Padmaavat cannot end without mentioning Rajputs and the light they have been showed in. Yes, the film only talked about their pride, their courage and their values with all solidity but what it suggests underneath is something everybody should look back on. The film does make a statement how self-righteousness makes you win the battle in your minds but not so much on the frontlines. Whether you find yourself siding with it or not is left on your wise judgements.
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!
Padmaavat is without a doubt the best film i have seen in a long long time. I suppose this will remain as the best film of 2018. Absolutely magical