Bajirao Mastani: Review

*Spoiler alert*

The trailer has promised us a thrilling epic of war, love and sacrifice. The movie though is ultimately an overdose of Bhansali-ness.

The sets are bigger. The visuals more extravagant and the budget more humongous. But ultimately all the emphasis seems to be on these cinematic techniques than the actual story. And in a typical Bhansali fashion it once again is a story of forbidden love.

Bajirao ballad is the minister/commander/group dancer/singer/expert wound healer/warrior and lover under Chatrapathi whose main responsibilities include fighting wars and dancing like a stoned Chimpanzee. The most important responsibility in the entire movie though rests on Bajirao’s barber. Bajirao sports as many facial hair styles as the number of attires a heroine wears in a typical Bollywood song sequence.

Bajirao goes to Bundelkhand to help them because he likes how creatively Mastani has threatened his life. There he wins them a war, wounds Mastani gravely, then burns her wound using his dagger because Bundelkhand doctors don’t know shit and then in the process marries her via his dagger. Yeah … Just another usual day at Bundelkhand. Still a better love story than Twilight though. Bajirao goes back unaware that he got hitched without his knowledge in this bizarre ritual.

But unlike Vegas, what happens in Bundelkhand, doesn’t stay in Bundelkhand. For the first time Bollywood parents accept this marriage of the couple and ask Mastani to go for it. Because Bajirao is rich and popular I guess. Mastani is smuggled into the city as a gift but strangely Bajirao’s wife Kashibai doesn’t seem too eager to get her husband a new wife.

Over the course of next few scenes, Bajirao accepts Mastani as his wife and gets both his wives pregnant. Kashibai goes on a passive aggressive dynamic with both Bajirao and Mastani but ultimately ends up dancing with Mastani — Madhuri and karishma did it, Madhuri and Aishwarya did it — its only logical conclusion that these two should be doing it. Two women fighting for a man should always dance together at some point of time — It’s one of the ten commandments of Bollywood.

In the end Bajirao goes to yet another war and Mastani gets captured by the mandatory evil budhia. Bajirao gets to know Mastani is captured and goes batshit crazy in the war. Ultimately it takes a toll on him and he gets really really sick. Thus in the end Bajirao dies, fighting his hallucinations of imaginary armies while Mastani dies in chains at the exact same instant because … dying in “true love” is like dominos pizza. Sometimes it comes with a 1+1 offer.

All in all, visually the movie is a treat. The characters are sometimes interesting but if you are looking for a competent period drama, this is not it. There is too much commercialization going on to take it really seriously.

Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars. ***
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