I will be frank in accepting that when I woke up this morning to watch Ashutosh Gowariker’s Panipat, starring Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon, I wasn’t very kicked about it- blame it on the not so interesting and engaging trailer of the film and Gowariker’s last attempt at history, Mohenjo Daro. Yes, I still had the hangover of the Hrithik Roshan-Pooja Hegde starrer buried which just hit me back this morning, as I entered the theatre.
Nonetheless, as the film begun and Kriti started the narration of the film, I missed Mr Bachchan’s baritone voice ( narrated Gowariker’s films like Lagaan, Jodhaa Akbar) telling us what happened in the battle of Panipat 3 on January 14, 1761, but as the movie progressed, I realised the lady has done a good job at it.
The plot of the film is known to those who follow history or must have googled it when the trailer of the film released. It is based on the battle of Panipat 3 fought between the Maratha Empire, lead by Sadashivrao Bhau (played by Arjun Kapoor) and Afghan ruler, Ahmad Shah Abdali (played by Sanjay Dutt). The Marathas lost the battle and that’s where the beauty of this film lies.
To show a battle not won in a way that the audience still feels proud of the history, is not a simple job to do but Ashutosh Gowariker does it effortlessly. The brutal war, which claimed lakhs of lives, forms the last 25 minutes of the film and is depicted well- something Gowariker masters in. Besides that, the remaining 2 hour 26 mins is the exchange of interesting warfare schemes, plotting and a bit of romance between the Peshwa Sadashivrao and his Peshwain Parvatibai (played by Kriti Sanon).
Arjun Kapoor’s sincerity is seen on the screen and the actor has done a decent job of playing his role, considering he had the pressure of being compared to his good friend and colleague, Ranveer Singh, who has set the standard real high by marvellously portraying the character of Bajirao, a Maratha warrior in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani. Arjun opts to play Sadashivrao his style but the only complaint I have is his dialect, which did not make him sound Maharashtrian at all. Did he not imbibe the Marathi tone to avoid further comparison with Ranveer or the actor just didn’t get it right? That was the only area I felt Arjun faltered in.
Kriti Sanon is a surprise package in the film. No, she is not just there to dance for her brave lover and utaaro his aarti as he leaves for the war- this woman has a substantial role in the film and has done total justice to it. Right from catching the Marathi accent to portraying emotional scenes, Kriti has raised her bar with this one.
Sanjay Dutt reminded me of his character Kanchacheena from Agneepath when I saw the trailer, but as I said earlier, the trailer has not justified the movie at all. Dutt once again proves his mettle with a power-packed performance of Abdali.
The supporting cast like Mohnish Bahl (Nana Sahib Peshwa), Nawab Shah (Ibrahim Khan Gardi), Padmini Kolhapure (Gopika Bai) have backed the film well with their strong performances. Special mention for Zeenat Aman, who set the screen ablaze once again, be it with her 5 min role as Sakina Begum.
Overall, Panipat is a sincere effort by the entire team and those who enjoy period drama should give it a chance. Though I would say it could have been made shorter by chopping off a few unwanted songs. Now, Panipat may not travel in your senses after you leave the theatre like Jodha Akbar and Lagaan did but will surely keep you engaged and entertained for the time you are inside the theatre.
I will go with 3.5 stars.
Image Source:- youtube/relianceentertainment
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