Qalandar on BAJIRAO MASTANI (Hindi; 2015)

LINK

There are really two films in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani: the first is a rather crude period film, recycling the nationalist tropes familiar to us since the beginnings of colonized nationalism in the nineteenth century, and indifferent to advances in historiography over the last half-century.  And understandably so, given the different aims of the two: the rewards of academic historiography — the greater understanding afforded by appreciation of nuance, context, and complication — are more ambiguous, and less accessible to those who merely seek the affirmation of identities (new and old) offered by fables about virtuous/manly/vigorous Hindus/Muslims/us/them waging righteous war against their polar opposites, savage/effete/treacherous/feeble/dastardly Muslims/Hindus/them/us.  Bajirao Mastani‘s approach to the historical material is squarely a product of the latter. The issue here is not that mythical beast, “historical accuracy” — the tedious debate around that phrase simply enables filmmakers and audiences to deflect the real question, namely, the sort of cramped, exclusionary vision that is almost reflexively enshrined in this film.  One would never know from this film that the Maratha state under Baji Rao Ballad once allied with the Nizam against the Mughal court in Delhi (for instance, the film prefers to use the one sequence of Maratha-Nizam sarkar diplomacy to paint the absurd spectacle of Bajirao swaggering into Chin Qilich Khan’s tent, threatening and insulting him, in a scene of staggering imbecility and anachronistic macho); or that the first Nizam was at times intimately involved in the politics of succession to the Maratha throne or that, far in the future, an uneasy Mughal-Maratha alliance in the closing decades of the eighteenth century would represent the last time native polities would hold sway in Delhi.

I don’t have any cause to complain that these particular events aren’t depicted in Bajirao Mastani — indeed there’s no great reason why such events should form a large part of this love-story (although there was just as little narrative reason for the inclusion of other sequences, such as the final battle with the Nizam’s son Nasir Jung).  The problem is that these omissions and inclusions underscore a deeper falsity, namely that the world evoked in the film is utterly inconsistent with the fluid, shifting political and social alliances (equally irreducible, it must be said, to our more liberal, anachronistic notions of secularism or pluralism) that form part and parcel of any serious engagement with eighteenth century-India.  History, simply put, is deeply embarrassing, especially if we seek to use it as mere grist for our own ideological mills (of the Right or the Left).  Bajirao Mastani prefers the  politics of the familiar, that is to say, the familiarly modern: Hindus line up with Hindus (with the desire to help out a fellow Hindu monarch presented as sufficient justification for diverting an entire army from its original aim), and Muslims are pretty much interchangeable, with the Nizam’s heirs and Rohilla Pathans looking like each other, and in turn very similar to the bearded, mustache-less chaps familiar to us from news footage of the Taliban (the reflex that gives us these representations disturbs me more than deliberate malice would). Bajirao Ballad is a Hindu hero, and the aim of the Maratha state is simple: a Hindu swaraj and polity stretching across all Hindustan.  That is, the Peshwai of this film makes sense to those of us brought up to regard the identity politics and communal fault-lines of the 20th and 21st centuries as innate — but seems foreign to India’s complicated 18th century, where any of Maratha, Rajput, Mughal, or Rohilla Pathan might be allied with, or square off against, any of the others at any particular time (indeed terms like “Maratha” and “Mughal” themselves obscure more than they reveal, given the independent factions, sub-states and other “sovereignties” operating under each of those signs — the Nizam, for instance, was nothing if not Mughal, as reflected in the very title the rulers meticulously held on to, a Mughal title for the realm’s principal minister); or where no bond based on “Hinduness” would prevent Maratha forces from pillaging the likes of Jodhpur or Jaipur, or Bengal, no “Muslim” tie would prevent the Rohillas from, in time, blinding the emperor Shah Alam (then the figurehead of a Mughal-Maratha alliance).

In that sense Bhansali’s film is a huge disappointment — its Hindu-Muslim love story is shorn of any political implications (beyond the soft target of Brahmin caste orthodoxy, always easy to skewer now that it is safely “past”; even here there is a missed opportunity, with the film oblivious to the ebbing promise of Shivaji’s populist swarajya, subsumed in a generation or two by the Peshwas’ Brahmin dominance), and firmly grounded in the personal.  Bhansali’s Baji Rao is simply a headstrong lover, his passion for Mastani not seen as having any political implication for the state (it is seen as having religious implications for the state’s claim to uphold a Brahminical order). It is certainly the director’s prerogative to make that film, but it does make the tale less interesting to me, and more akin to a “straight” love story, dressed up in the past’s borrowed finery.  In this, Bajirao Mastani is not the equal of Jodha-Akbar, which, although more at home in the world of saas-bahu serials and Amar Chitra Katha than the blood and sweat of genuine historical epic, knew enough to represent the Jodha-Akbar alliance as bearing profound political implications.  The “love story” was Bollywood, but the meaning of the wider symbolism, of Akbar’s re-casting of the Mughal state from a Turkic monarchy to an Indian sultanate with the Rajputs firmly ensconced as one of its pillars, was sophisticated, and to my mind profoundly correct.

Luckily for the viewer, there’s a second film here, easily Bhansali’s most dynamic and engaging.  And that film — markedly more cinematic and enjoyable than the likes of Jodha-Akbar — is worth going to the cinema for; it’s driven by an excellent performance by Ranveer Singh, a worthy supporting cast (ranging from Priyanka Chopra as Bajirao’s first wife Kashi; Tanvi Azmi as the matriarch Radhabai; Yatin Karyekar’s upholder of Brahmin orthodoxy, Krishna Bhatt (in the context of an aborted meal he hisses “ye Peshwai hai to Mughlai kya buree thee?!”, a clever reference not just to the enemy Empire but to the cuisine as well); to a dignified Milind Soman as Ambani Pant; a delightfully dissipated Mahesh Manjrekar as the Maratha king Shahu, and the woefully under-used villainy of Aditya Pancholi’s Panth Prathinidi), and some darn enjoyable dialoguebaazi by Prakash Kapadia, the sort that crackles across the screen all too infrequently these days. It’s this second film that meant I was engaged throughout the nearly two hour-and-forty-minute-run-time (at least until Bhansali dredged up his inner Devdas one more time in the film’s interminable closing portions) — no mean feat these days, when even masala movies often rush past anything that might discomfit multiplex viewers, striving to present hits-and-giggles cinema in under two-and-a-half hours; the more self-consciously Hollywoody films barely squeak past two.

Against such a backdrop, it’s hard not to respect the uncompromising nature of Bhansali’s vision, which simply demands more (time, attention) from his audience in a film like Bajirao Mastani.  And if in the past this uncompromising vision has often resulted in fantastic, inert spectacles devoid of any life, Bhansali’s involvement with masala like Rowdy Rathore seems to have energized him: while his last directorial effort, Ras-Leela, was wretched, it wasn’t so for the same reason that Devdas and (most extreme of all) Saawariya were terrible; Ras-Leela was energetic (perhaps a first for this director), but little else.  In Bajirao Mastani, Bhansali seems to have found the right balance: the visuals are less showy, the dialogs possessed of velocity and zing (perhaps a deliberate nod to the Hindi film historicals of decades ago, with Mughal-e-Azam the grand-daddy of them all), and all this anchored in the right hero, giving what has to be the best performance of his young career.

As Bollywood’s Bajirao Ballad, Ranveer Singh was a pleasant surprise, essaying the role with a near-permanent twinkle and impish charm, his insouciance easily bettering the earnestness of Shah Rukh Khan in Asoka or Hrithik in Jodha-Akbar (the latter a performance I had quite liked at the time).  Unlike those colleagues, Ranveer isn’t weighed down by the role, and acquits himself creditably.  Even his toned body doesn’t seem like as much of a distraction here, and I didn’t find it an irritating intrusion of the 21st century gym into the world of this film.  I can cite no principled basis for my view that Ranveer avoids this Hrithik-effect, and will simply note that he was persuasive, and made me believe that he could be the warrior of Maratha legend.  [Bajirao’s famed intelligence was less convincing in its Bollywood avatar: with the exception of the battle in Bundelkhand early on in the film, Ranveer’s Bajirao prefers to bellow into battle, often by his lonesome, than to actually, um, plan anything; this is a pity, because a more subtle director would have harnessed the actor’s innate slyness to greater effect.  Stated differently, Ranveer Singh might well be the right actor to play the precocious Chanakya of the Maratha court, although, ironically, the role as written is that of a “mere” warrior. Bhansali would have been better off siding with Odysseus rather than Achilles.] To be sure, the performance isn’t flawless — Ranveer seemed uneven to me in the drunk scenes (an inconsistency mirrored in the writing), and was upstaged more than once by the polish of Milind Soman and Tanvi Azmi, or the sheer fun Mahesh Manjrekar brought to the table — but nevertheless, Ranveer’s has to be one of the most enjoyable lead male performances of 2015, and a cut above what his peers seem to be capable of.

Deepika Padukone is frustrating.  On paper, she has everything going her way in this title role of the Muslim Mastani bewitched by Bajirao: she looks gorgeous in Indian dress, and this film gives her ample opportunity to dazzle viewers, her beauty married to her trademark inability to seem vulgar (yes, even in stuff like the Billoo Barber song); plus, her role is substantial enough (even if it is afflicted by the usual problem Hindi films seem to have with kick-ass female roles: once these women have demonstrated their mettle, they are domesticated by love).  But she isn’t a good enough actress to pull it off, leading to a discombobulated effect: she looks the part, and delivers her lines well, but doesn’t seem convincing as the lone woman who suddenly shows up in Pune to stake her claim to Bajirao’s attention.  Perhaps one needed old-school Bollywood heft to render plausible a setting this absurd, and Padukone is a product of a different idiom, not just in her affecting naturalness (the sort of thing that stands her in good stead in a role like Piku) but in the urbane ease with which everything seems to come to her — but comfort isn’t always a good thing, and where the role requires her to essay the strange and unfamiliar, Padukone falls back on facility and naturalness.  She isn’t bad as Mastani, but isn’t memorable, and her co-stars out-perform her.  [A word about the early action sequences though: as in Chandni Chowk to China, Padukone is very good as the warrior, and her introduction scene, with blade at Bajirao’s neck, was worthy of the masala seeti.  A pity that Mastani isn’t really seen after the first twenty minutes.]

Oddly enough, although Priyanka Chopra’s Kashi (Bajirao’s first wife) doesn’t have the title role, she has just as much screen-time as Padukone, and does justice to her role.  For Bhansali, Kashi’s role is a step forward: all too often his fixation on the way women look and dress, rather than what they say and do, borders on the fetishistic, but Chopra’s Kashi is not in that vein: her normalcy is refreshing (indeed she might be the only character cut from ordinary dimensions in the film), and her expressive face and comfort with desi gesturality means that while Mastani talks a whole lot about her love for Bajirao, it’s Kashi’s sentiments that are more keenly felt.  Neither heroine is as impressive as the severe Radhabai: Tanvi Azmi admittedly only has one note to play here, but she does so with great authority and charisma (who would’ve thought the most impressive look in this film would rely on a shaven head and widow’s white sari)?

Ah, the music: perhaps never before in the history of Hindi cinema has a director been so smugly satisfied with his sense of music, with such little reason, as Bhansali appears to be, with one flabby album following another with boring predictability over the course of his career.  The music here (credited to Bhansali himself) is no different: I could barely remember a strain even a minute after a song had ended, with the breezy charm of “Pinga” perhaps the only exception.  A pity: the lyrics of Siddharth-Garima deserved better music.

The director does much better on the visuals: in Bajirao Mastani the sets and props do not serve as distractions (as in Devdas), nor are they suffocating (as in Black or Saawariya).  In both Ras Leela and Bajirao Mastani, Bhansali seems to have belatedly realized that the cinematic is a different animal than the merely visual, and his latest film is his best yet on that front, with the sets and sumptuous dresses at the service of the film, and not the other way around: only after the film did I realize that Bhansali’s Aaina Mahal set was not only his best yet, but might be my favorite Hindi film palace-set of all time. The rest of Shaniwar Wada, the understated court of Chatrapati Shahu, and the battlements of Chhatrasal are also notable (Bhansali’s eye is less sure in battle-scenes, and amidst Indo-Islamic aesthetics — that milieu (e.g. the Nizam’s tent) is rendered hastily, and without imagination (“hey let’s use green!”)).  But perhaps most memorable of all is Bhansali’s representation of Maratha court dress: it isn’t easy to make those caps and court dresses seem glamorous to an audience brought up to regard Western lines as normative, and the director doubtless “Europeanizes” a number of male garments (the warriors in particular seem like refugee-knights from the Crusades), but the result is nevertheless deeply impressive, and sets a high bar for other period films.  That alone is reason enough to give this film a chance on the big screen: sure, Bhansali’s intellect is not the equal of his eye, but his eye is precious rare indeed.

Advertisements

43 Responses to “Qalandar on BAJIRAO MASTANI (Hindi; 2015)”

  1. Kriti Sanon Witnessed A Man Watching A Pirated Version Of “Dilwale” And Lost Her Cool

    http://www.storypick.com/pirated-version-of-dilwale/
    ROFL.
    Frustration at peak. Last night my friend watched BM’s pirated version, but what we can do.

    Like

  2. qalandar,
    very nicely illustrated….

    Like

  3. Such a balanced review, very well written (more so because of the movie involved is so ordinary). Amidst all your criticism for Bhansali you were actually much kind to the film than I had thought. Given the amount of historical inaccuracy, the empty script, the never ending climax and the wretched meandering music – you still pulled out a very pleasant review to read. Great effort Qalandar!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As usual first rate work Qalandar ! Happy to read the first half which hardly any modern/ contemporary writer would have the depth to encipher and only a resourceful person like you can touch upon.

    Agyaat on your apprehension / skepticism may I quote someone – “He’s not explaining all the facts to the residents. He is just pandering to a certain group in town”

    Like

  5. What a wonderful and balanced review!
    Few if any historical movies are accurate and more often than not just serve as a vehicle to
    Tell a story- a love story in this case.
    Bhansali has a keen ear from music but he needs to hook up with Ismail Darbar again- that HDDCS Magic has eluded him of late and quite obviously.
    I entirely agree with your rating of the performances.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Extraordinary piece Qalandar. Just the long opening paragraph is worth the price of the ticket here! Once again it illustrates the care you bring to these pieces, separating the political from the pure narrative of the film and so forth. I’ll say more on this when I see the film (trying to do so this week) but you’ve also confirmed Rajen’s point that you should be doing this more often!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you Rajen, MSD, and Satyam!

    Like

  8. My commentary —

    In continuation with the opening line –There are essentially two reviews in this review —Just like this film is actually two films in the view of the reviewer. The first part deals with a certain “discomfiture” regarding the PERCEIVED sociopolitical religious connotations of this film and the second actually reviews the film (when the primal “burden” is off the chest of the reviewer)

    As expected this is a v worthy review on this film. It’s immaculately structured & v CAREFULLY written (with a lot of emphasis on the correct usage of words).
    Most of the reviews on such films don’t take into account the class and scope of this film esp the commercial purview of this. My commentary continues from my random (& reckless) thoughts here
    https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/an-jo-on-bajirao-mastani/#comment-322298

    The points where I differ or rather have a slightly different take on are as follows–
    The writer of this piece mentions ‘the rewards of academic historiography’. Whilst I congratulate him/her for using this term and on paper, this is an excellent concept but I’m not sure whether in this context or setting or part of the world, these “rewards” ever come into play! Even if there’s “progress” in historiography, it can be exaggerated or throttled depending on the prevailing powers to be at that time. The fact that “historical works” are dependant on funding and clearances esp in certain parts of the world, one can never be sure if the “progress” is simply a more convenient REBRANDING or atleast a RECALIBRATION of true events (if not a TOTAL ECLIPSE!)

    “The problem is that these omissions and inclusions underscore a deeper falsity”– this “falsity” is also RELATIVE. Also there are elements of TRANSFERRENCE on part of the reviewer towards this work. I think, in another context (but relevant to this) the reviewer points out how Jodha Akbars “inaccuracies” were pointed out more than this films’s. Now, these arise when a subject is approached with a certain preconceived BAGGAGE that can cloud its analysis somewhat. So though there’s more mention of quasi/historical events and figures (than that’s within the scope of this film), but to use the reviewers own word elsewhere-it leads to a somewhat DISCOMBOBULATED effect. As I’ve mentioned earlier, Bhansali and his films aren’t and shouldn’t be the torch bearers of responsibility of issues like AUTHENTICITY & can’t serve any HISTORICAL ARCHIVAL purposes . People like Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani, Shyam Benegal and their works may be pursued for such aims (& their budgets & scales reflect this ‘enhanced responsibility towards accuracy and diminished responsibility towards the box office)

    I feel many of these works have elements of what I call HISTORICAL FICTION rather than factual documented history! And there’s a certain SNOBBERY when dealing with historical fiction the world over and the inherent CONTROVERSIES & UNVERIFIABLE CONTRADICTIONS add to this problem

    This review really comes into it’s own when it analyses the film itself. Agree that the bhansali soundtrack was subpar for the genre and scope of the film; though the background music (by Packiam!) was spot on! I haven’t read the rest of the review yet but agree deepikas beauty here is married to her trademark inability to seem vulgar. On a related note, that this has also to do with deepikas offscreen persona and body language and how she carries herself. What’s also interesting is how she’s been in serial relationships beginning with a guy callled pandya whom she unceremoniously dumped, then moving past the dhonis, yuvraajs, the kingfisher guy and onto ranveer now, but none of them was ever “official” & there’s no PDA-forget scampering on Ibiza beaches in unmatched two piece bikinis (though she likes to drop in Ranbirs name in all her interviews & sometimes plays the ‘victim card’) anyhow this was a v IRRELEVANT detour,,,I don’t know how this mention entered this commentary…

    Anyhow coming back to the topic at hand, I’ve found this reviewer to exhibit better economy of language, is more effective per word written & is more ‘open’ than some others discussed here like Satyamullah & Rangan ….(though satyamullah mostly makes up with the sheer “volume & bulk”)…
    Ps: haven’t read the actual review bit fully yet….

    Like

  9. I think you are half satisfied. A generous review. A very honest one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you cant be unkind to anyone totally. Dilwale review?

      Like

      • Ha thank you sanjana! To be honest there won’t be a Dilwale review because I haven’t seen a SRK film since Om Shanti Om, and am not inspired to watch this one either. I’d watch a Chak de India sort of film if he were doing that sort of thing, but Fan, much less Dilwaale or My Name is Khan, just don’t do it for me…

        Like

  10. A ace review… detailed and insightful, and yet lucid. Your piece has a depth to it and an engagement with the subject material which I don’t think even Bhansali must’ve invested. Haven’t seen the film, but just by the trailers could spot quite a few historical inaccuracies. And while a love-story about Bajirao-Mastani may not quite be suited to chart the political (d)evolution of the times, you are quite right that a holistic Altman-like approach to the shifting alliances of the times and the fall of empires would make for a very riveting, satisfying and eventually informative viewing. Think it would be a gargantuan task to take on. Btw, the production design of this film has been done by a dear friend of mine with whom I’ve had the privilege of working in the past when he was an art assistant. Glad to see his debut work get noticed everywhere, and especially in your piece.

    Like

    • Re: “Btw, the production design of this film has been done by a dear friend of mine with whom I’ve had the privilege of working in the past when he was an art assistant. Glad to see his debut work get noticed everywhere, and especially in your piece.”

      Wow, what is his/her name?

      Like

    • This is weird and pretentious, how people talk about historical inaccuracy while there are 3 different versions about Bajirao’s death and many different versions available on Mastani’s death as per different books available on them written by prominent historians.
      I would gladly like to hear from people here who are claiming to be master of history.
      I mean, SLB has clearly stated in the beginning that this is based on historical facts and has taken full advise from historians but it still doesn’t claim to be accurate because no one can say a lot of details about their life.
      Even, the most accurate historian would be wrong about any historical fact he claims, as one ever jumps into one’s real emotion, no historian ever jumps into anyone’s life or their bedroom, one cant experience one’s real emotion but oneself. I think SLB did what the best one can do to highlight love story in Bajirao’s life. And it is not a war movie, so pretentious of missing war accuracy and not showing this and that was never the intention. Movie fully succeeds in its attempt and it shows as all the protester got silent after first few shows and marathis have lapped it up in big way. Everyone understand it is just a movie based on some facts and fictions available, there is not autobiography available, and it is not a documentary either.

      Like

  11. A truly brilliant write up, doing justice to every aspect of the film that deserves our attention. Agree with it almost hundred percent except for the emphasis. True, about the limited reading of history that the ‘first film’ offers, but that is not the film Bhnsali wants us to see. So it is quite unfair to talk about at that lenth. Two reasons. One: it is the ‘secnd film’ that BHansali really wants to make. Two: it is not aaaaan easy task getting a film depicting hundred percent historical truth out to to the public negotiating the minefields of protest of various vested interests. You have to make it inncuous enough to pass through. A film like PK had to do it. Jdha Akbar had to do it. Already people like Nana Patekar are taking offfense at showing Bajirao asa lover tan a pure warrior. Imagine if he waqs shown as allies of Muslims at some time! No. Nuanced history is something you cannot attempt ina Bollywood mainstream film, and Bhansali, quite wisely, doesnt even try. JUst like PK, which is really the gospel of an atheist or agnostic, pretends to be only aginast God’s middlemen, an pulls its punches often enough, just to be able to pass through the society’s moral police. Wise again.

    Like

  12. Excellent review. Had to read the first three paras a couple of times to get the essence of what you were saying. And what a novel manner of viewing this historical romance. One is the unsatisfactory history – retelling and then there is the regular grand romance.

    I have watched the film, first day matinee; liked it a great deal despite the evident historical hiccups. Loved all the performances especially those of Tanvi and Priyanka ; the latter’s characterisation and performance touched me; found Deepika athletic and feisty, but she left me unmoved except perhaps a bit in the climax scene with her son. Ranveer fit his role very well indeed, but at times seemed OTT, especially the song where he celebrates a win. As my spouse mentioned, it looked like a Salman number from a Dabang sort of film. And you are right about the music. I don’t remember a single number besides Pinga. ( And talking about historicals, I remember being electrified by ARRehman’s music for Mangal Pandey, back in August 2005).

    One thing I noted about set design was the colour co- ordination of characters and scenes. Loved the dialogues too.

    Bajirao Mastani is worth a second visit to the theatre, despite its minus points.

    Like

  13. ” Khubsoorat toh aap pehle bhi thay
    Ab jo ishq bhi karna sikh liya aapne”

    My original couplet to Sanjay Leela Bhansali on his learning to marry narrative energy to visual elegance, post RamLeela.

    Like

  14. This doesn’t mirror my experience of the movie, but an interesting review — recommended read!

    Like

  15. Saw both BM and Dilwale. BM fantastic performances and storytelling. SLB in top form. Really liked it gripping from start to finish as SLB does not waste around. Gets to the point effectively.

    Dilwale is a one time watch which has moments but overall RS messed up big-time. Kajol and SRK share rare moments in what is too much RS mixed with KJo. The ode to the couple is a disaster compared to past films.

    Like

  16. BAJIRAO MASTANI

    When my designer colleague asked me if she should see Bajirao Mastani, I replied, “You can see it for the art design alone; actually you can see it for its use of colour palette alone.” Be it the flags in the battlefield, or the tunic that Deepika wears during the dance number ‘ Deewani Mastani’, or the interiors of the Shanivaar Vada, the precise shades of colour used could echo the slogan of the popular paint ad of yester years – “ Mera wala cream !” In almost every frame, a particular shade from the C-M-Y-K (Cyan -Magenta-Yellow- Key (Black)) combination has been totally drained out, giving the film a painterly look throughout. The costume design is an auteur’s work. Be it Mastani’s elegant tunic or Bajiraoo’s masculine battle outfit, they are a joy to look at. The architectural reconstructions are also masterly with a distinct Marathi signature. The Mirror Hall of Shanivaar Vada is more elegant and detailed than the Sheesh Mahal of Mughal-e-Azam. And yet, it’s not about opulence either. Even the camp on the river with a few bamboo poles, squares and rectangles of cloth tied to them to form canopies, are equally breathtaking in their beauty. The stunning visual quality of the film owes a lot to the masterly cinematography of Sudeep Chattopadhya who transfers Bhansali’s vision on to the screen with consummate craft. The seductive visual texture of the film is perfectly matched by a lush background soundtrack which include snatches of songs like “ Albela Sajan’ , “ Gajanana’ , a delectable thumri and of course ‘ Tujhe Yaad Kiya Hai Aayat Ki Tarah’.

    But no matter how good they are, pretty visuals and a rich background score do not by themselves make an engaging film. Fortunately, this is the most substantive film of Bhansali in terms of dramatic content with a rich historical backdrop, interesting play of human relationship and the dynamics of political power.

    The film that Bajirao Mastani is quite evidently paying homage to is Mughal-e-Azam. ‘ Mohe Rang Do’ and ‘ Deeewani Mastani’ are meant to be the equivalents of ‘ Mohe Panghat Pe Nandlal’ and “ Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya’ and the Sheesh Mahal is referenced here quite transparently. The other film that it can be legitimately compared is “Jodha Akabar”. We should note that both these films are based on the flimsiest of historical facts. Anarakali scarcely exists in the pages of historical records, the existence of Jodha Bai and her position as a lead consort of Akbar again owes more to folklore rather than historical facts. In comparison, the key events in ‘ Bajirao Mastani’ are all hard historical facts:

    To read the rest: http://utkaleidoscope.com/bajirao-mastani/

    Like

  17. “its mostly me talking to myself but you are welocme to eavesdrop”
    that sort of tagline sounds familiar–seems u r ‘influenced’ by my writings somewhere lol
    anyhow i admit to getting influenced by utkal uncles writings and in certain aspects for eg appreciating lyrics, ive learnt a lot from him
    Havent read your blog post but will try to and respond when get some time, than

    Like

    • abzee2kin Says:

      Thanks for sharing this. Didn’t know about this specific day being celebrated… but there are many communities in Maharashtra (bound by the language, but also not since there are over a 100 dialects) which the less-informed English and Hindi media club as one homogenous yoghurt. There are very few who bother understanding that a Maratha and Maharashtrian (Marathi speaking or native) are not the same. Unfortunately, so strong and pervasive has been the Pune Brahmani influence and grip on the politics and culture of the state (especially since they are also the privileged lot to move onto cities for jobs and overseas) that non-Maharashtrians base their misconceptions of all Maharashtrians on that singular experience. You would be surprised to find a huge percentage of various Maharashtrians (GSBs, Deshast, Vidarbha, Malvan, etc.) who have an unpleasant history with the Peshwas and even today, veiled with biting humour of course, there are remarks by Maharashtrians outside of Pune of the peculiar practices and condescending behaviour of the Puneri Brahmins (no offence to Punekars :-))

      Like

  18. omrocky786 Says:

    Great review Q. Maza aa gaya padh kar ! I specially liked the dialogue bazi ….wish there was more of that . I also wish Vidya Balan played the role of Kashi and Priyanka the role of Mastani.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s