Exclusive Premium Content

Panipat Is Gowariker At His Finest

Sanjay Dutt Copying Ranveer Singh!!!Afghans Offended

Panipat

Starring Sanjay Dutt, Arjun  Kapoor,  Kriti Sanon

Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker

Rating: *****(5 stars)

Costume dramas  in  Indian cinema frequently  mistake  flamboyance  and bombast for   nostalgic entertainment.  Panipat  is  the first  film of its genre that  doesn’t insult  history  by distorting and  subverting  it to  suit the  filmmaker’s massy purposes. Even when   Sadashiv Rao Bhau, Gowariker’s  18th century  Maratha  warrior who  dreamt  of a  united India  to  fight  foreign  invasion and who craved  for no throne  or crown, goes to war he carries  himself with the dignity  of a peacenik.

One of  the  film’s finest  dialogues—and  there many luminously  written lines in this fine historical drama—comes  when  Sadashiv catches his wife trying out the crown in front  of  the  mirror.

Taj pehna nahin jata, pehnaya  jata hai,” he gently tells his  impulsive  brave  and devoted wife.

Elsewhere,  before he  leaves for war with the  Islamic invader Ahmad Shah Abdali(Sanjay Dutt, laden  with  unstoppable  ferocity)  he tells  his wife,  “If I die please don’t  do Sati.”

The line  almost seems  a dig at Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s  elaborate johar  climax in Padmaavat.

But then  you realize this is   Ashutosh Gowariker. Sarcasm and  satire are  not  his style. This filmmaker epics are blessed  with long sturdy legs  that walk that extra  mile and talk the talk  of national interest  vis-à-vis  the  mistakes  of bloodshed we’ve made on  the past.

 Thoroughly  researched  and rigorously  true to  the spirit of Maratha  pride, Panipat is a reamarkably restrained costume-historical drama. The director avoids  all the pitfalls of overstatement  even when confronting  dramatic crises  that  call for a  war-cry  level of  drama. He holds  back. The relationships  are  delicately  drawn, none  more so than the one between  Sadashiv Rao Bhau and his feisty wife Parvati.He  is  a doting  loving  protective  husband. She  insists  on  accompanying him  to battle  with an I-will-get-bored-alone  logic.

Kriti Sanon  is  a  revelation as  Parvati.  Not  only does she have  a  solid part  to  play in  the  drama, she plays  it with such  disarming  intensity , her eyes  often tella thousand  untold stories. Kriti simply owns her role. I am afraid Arjun Kapoor for all his sincerity, falls  short  of his character’s expectations.  Kapoor puts in his all. But somewhere  that energy and dynamism needed to portray a Maratha  warrior whose  heart is as pure as  the  royal blood that  course through it, is missing.

Interesting actors  come and go in the  mottled epic  bringing  their own charm to bear upon the characters’ doomed destiny.

That  vital  absence  of  bellicose  energy in the main lead  is more than  compensated  for  by  Gowariker’s uncompromising  vision. Unlike Bhansali  who rushes through  the historical  credibility  of his characters, Gowariker is  in no hurry to get  our attention or hold on it when  he does  get it. The  lengthy narration flows with the inevitability  of a river that winds  its way through  craggy mountains  certain  of where  it is going.

As mentioned earlier ,  the  relationships  between Sadashiv Rao and the people who determine his  tragic destiny , are  mapped with a fertile  fluency.The way  Rao takes his king Nana Singh Peshwa’s  son  under his wings reifies the confidence with which this director charts  the  course  of  the human relationships  in  the drama of  power politics  without  exaggerating his characters’ responses  to the volatile  milieu to which they belong.

 Panipat is in many ways a  great  film. Its greatness in telling  a tale  of vehement  valour with  toppling over in self-importance. There is a  gentle  quality  to  the narrative broken when war  finally breaks  out at the end. Even then , Gowariker’s opts for  a more reined-in treatment  of  the bloodshed. As  the brave Marathas fell to the ground in a bloodied heap I could  feel the  futility  of  the  savagery. 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top