Padmaavat (2018)

I've heard about Padmaavat in one of the episodes of the Across the Universe podcast and I decided to check it out. 

In medieval India, Princess Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) falls in love and marries Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor), the Rajput ruler of Mewar. Upon their marriage, Padmavati is crowned queen and leads a peaceful life in the King's prosperous fortress. Their perfect life though won't last long as the story of Padmavati's beauty reaches the court of Alauddin Khalji (Ranveer Singh), the Sultan of Delhi, and, being used to having the most beautiful things, he prepares his armies to attack the fortress and conquer Padmavati.

I don't know how historically accurate Padmaavat is, I'm not even sure it's supposed to be historically accurate since there's a disclaimer at the beginning of the film saying this is a work of fiction, but knowing absolutely nothing about Indian history or culture, that couldn't bother me at all. The problem here is the writing, too lazy to make the film live up to its potential.

Though interesting for someone like me who has never heard of the story/legend of Padmavati, the plot is just too simple and predictable to engage from start to finish, and because of the slow pace and very long running time (164 minutes), it ends up being quite boring. Also, there are so many plot holes it's annoying. 

The sloppy writing isn't limited to the plot only. The dialogue is silly, to say the least, the characters are one-dimensional, have no sort of development and the majority of them is given such a poor introduction, I had troubles understanding who was who. Not to mention that they weren't very convincing. 

Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Paramount Pictures
There's, however, one of the characters that really stand out in this film, it's Alauddin. It's not like he's better written than the others, but he's definitely better delivered. Though he resembles a lot of Jason Momoa's Kahl Drogo, Ranveer Singh is absolutely perfect as Alauddin. He conveys the ruthlessness of the character, his psychopathic behavior and his obsessive love for Padmavati very well. His performance is way over the top, which allows him to deliver humour as well, but he still manages to be very menacing. 

Deepika Padukone was a bit of a disappointment. I've seen her before in another Indian movie, Piku, and I really liked her performance. She was the leading actor in there too and she carried the film very well. In here, she just isn't given much to do. She is the lead but you wouldn't notice the difference if she wasn't there. She does better in the last hour of the film and she does have a good chemistry with Shahid Kapoor, but it's not enough for me. Also, I don't think she should have been cast as Padmavati. She is supposed to be the most beautiful woman ever but, in my opinion (and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that) Aditi Rao Hydari, who plays Alauddin's first wife, is more beautiful than Padukone, and it's so evident when they are on screen at the same time. 

Luckily, Singh's performance isn't the only good thing in Padmaavat. The film is also visually stunning. The cinematography is breathtaking, and location/set and costumes are lavish. The musical score is also quite beautiful and the several musical numbers aren't bad.

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