Padmaavat (2018)

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has attempted a film about a subject that should have been a matter of pride, but has now become a matter of protection.

Padmavati, rechristened Padmaavat, is a tale about an ethereal Queen, and everyone who saw her, or didn’t, was mesmerised by her beauty. Her marriage to the King of Mewar and the subsequent interest in her by Emperor Khilji show us the inner workings of politics, power and war.

The director is no stranger to scale, or aesthetics, and he has gone a step further than his previous epic Bajirao Mastani. The film needs atleast two viewings to take in all the details, metaphors, costumes, dialogues and expressions.

Deepika Padukone is the pragmatic Queen who represents not only courage and dignity, but rules of engagement as well. Though her physical beauty is striking, it is her resolute and visionary thinking that make her truly remarkable.

Shahid Kapur is perfect for the role of King Ratan Singh. He embodies the characteristics of Rajputs in every manner of his being, reserving his reactions to only necessary situations. He, like Deepika, speaks volumes with his eyes.

Ranveer Singh portrays every sin in one personality in a menacing and convincing way as Khilji. Achieving a spectrum of disturbing, violent, obsessive and repulsive actions and gestures shows his growth as an actor.

The Indian Republic Day is when India adopted the constitution 70 years ago, which is a living document. An opportune day to write this review. Let’s honour our freedom and those who fought for it by rebelling against forces who want to harm our country and it’s creativity.

It’s a film of pride, of choices, of honour, of valour and a celebration of everything Indian. Everyone must watch it, and exercise their democratic right to.

4.5/5

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Shaandar (2015)

After the wonderful film ‘Queen’ you expect Vikas Bahl to come up with something half decent, at least. They had a budget. They had two big production houses. They had good talent. And what did we see? No humour, no plot, poor dialogue, some weird music, misogyny and image issues galore, tasteless comedy and pathetic story telling.

A GRAND INJUSTICE!

A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME!

NO RATING!!!

P.S. I feel I have done a good deed by saving all of you a lot of money. Send happy thoughts my way! Lots of them!

Haider (2014)

Adapting his 3rd Shakespearean text, Vishal Bhardwaj has pushed the envelope as far as he could, shocking the audiences to the micro problems of Haider’s life and macro problems of Kashmir.

The story is simple, and has been shown with a reality that kicks you in your face. The writing is deep, with little nuances you should watch out for by all principle characters. The visuals have been captured with a haunting flavour, telling the tales of deceit, murder, love and insanity.

Shahid Kapur proves yet again why he is set far apart from his peers. His madness, restrain and ‘tragic ballet like’ dance on Bismil speaks volumes for his talent. He looks the part, switches between sanity and unpredictability, giving us an insight into the trauma he has suffered.

Tabu comes a close second to Shahid, playing his mother, showing all sides of a woman who seems to be morally wrong but has her own tale. Her performance is filled with anguish, love for her son and husband and a characteristic streak which cannot be described, only experienced.

Shraddha is present for a few scenes and plays the ‘female lead’. Irrfan Khan plays the metaphorical saviour while Kay Kay Menon embodies a typical Shakespearean character with various shades. Khulbhushan Kharbanda has a few wise words to share and two ‘Salman Khan’ addicts provide some much needed comic relief.

When you read Hamlet you marvel at how well the director has been able to adapt it, given the political landscape and trying to fit the plot in an Indian family set-up. But he comes away leaving you in shudders, at how depraved humanity can be and how much our conscience fights evil inside our mind.

It is a heavy film, slow paced to mirror the life they lead and layered with terror, despair and hurt. One of the finest films of 2014, where all involved braved to swim against the current and present such a piece of art.

3.5/5