Weighing in at a hefty 2 hours and 38 minutes, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's latest production is loud, proud and in your face - perhaps at the expense of a decent storyline.
Bajirao was an 18th century Indian general of some repute. Winning battles was his modus operandi. As a token of appreciation for Bajirao's help, an allied king gave the hand of his daughter, Mastani (M), in marriage to Bajirao (B). The endurance of their relationship over the hurdles of religion (B was a Hindu and M a Muslim) and previous marriages (B was already married to Kashibai (K)) is accepted by historians as proof of their mutual love.
Bajirao Mastani paints this love story of B and M against a backdrop of a resentful K in grand visuals and sound. The sets are simply amazing and scenes wonderful. The production values have to rank amongst the best I have in Indian films of late.
The plotline however just does not live up it's rendition. It builds gradually in the first half and promises so much. There is tension between K and M, and B is fighting off his political enemies. And then... nothing. The story just peters out into nothingness. It just doesn't make a fist of the tensions and stresses it has worked to build. Case in point, K confronts M in her room. The very next scene shows them dancing together like they were childhood friends. Hmm...
As a experience for the senses, Bajirao Mastani is simply amazing. However, if you want to walk out of the theatre not feeling thoroughly confused by what you just saw, perhaps give this a miss.