In the early 18th century, the court of Maratha Chhatrapati Shahu (Mahesh Manjrekar) a new Peshwa, the equivalent of a modern-day prime minister. In spite of Shripad Raos (Aditya Pancholi) self-nomination as the Pant Pratinidhi, Ambaji Pant (Milind Soman) chooses to nominate a young Bajirao (Ranveer Singh). To test his spiritual wisdom and knowledge of weaponry, Shripad challenges Bajirao to split a peacock feather with an arrow. Bajirao succeeds and is given the title of Shrimant Peshwa. Ten years later, his wife Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra) is visited by her widowed friend Bhanu(Snehlata Girish Vasaikar), whose husband was accused of spying on Bajirao and hence was executed.
She bitterly forebodes that just like she longs for her husband, Kashi, too, will yearn for Bajirao.While traveling to Sironja, an emissary from Bundelkhand infiltrates Bajiraos tent and demands his help in fighting invaders. She reveals herself to be Mastani (Deepika Padukone), the daughter of the Hindu Rajput King Chhatrasal (Benjamin Gilani) and his Muslim Persian consort, Ruhani Bai. Impressed by her skills as a warrior, Bajirao assists her with his army and defeats the invaders. Chhatrasal is overjoyed and insists that Bajirao spend Holi with them.
Mastani and Bajirao develop feelings for each other and he gifts her his dagger, which is a symbol of marriage among the Bundelkhand Rajputs. He soon departs for Pune, where Kashi greets him with a tour of their newly-built Shaniwar Wada and shows him the Aaina Mahal (hall of mirrors) which allows her to see him from her room.Determined to pursue her love, Mastani arrives in Pune but is treated harshly by Bajiraos mother Radhabai (Tanvi Azmi) and accommodated in the palace for courtesans. She tolerates this insult and appears to dance before Bajirao on the occasion of Parava. Radhabai scornfully offers her the occupation of a royal dancer but refuses to accept her as a daughter-in-law.
Mastani travels to the King and expresses her desire to be with Bajirao before leaving to wait for him at a ruin across the river. Bajirao crosses the river in the midst of a storm and chides her persistence, reminding her that he is already married and that his court will never respect her if she is with him. She agrees despite his warning and he declares her as his second wife.Bajirao leaves to confront the Nizam of Deccan (Raza Murad) and although his odds of victory are slim, he returns successful. A pregnant Kashibai witnesses Bajirao embracing Mastani, who is also expecting, in the Aaina Mahal and leaves for her mothers home.
She returns months later with her newborn son, who is named Raghunath in joyous celebration. Mastani also gives birth to a son, whom Mastani and Bajirao name Krishna Rao, but when Krishnaji Bhatt, the head Brahmin priest, refuses to conduct the naamkaran (Hindu christening ceremony) and he is deemed illegitimate, Bajirao names him Shamsher Bahadur. A few years later, Kashis eldest son Balaji Baji Rao (alias Nana Saheb, played by Ayush Tandon) returns from Satara and expresses hatred towards Mastani for disrupting his mothers marriage.Kashibai is informed of a treacherous plan to murder Mastani and her son during a festival by Shiva Bhatt, another Brahmin priest. Kashibai reluctantly relays this news to Bajirao, who rescues both of them from certain death.
Following the murder of Shiva Bhatt by Krishnaji Bhatt, Bajirao is enraged. For Mastanis safety and to grant her a royal abode, Bajirao builds Mastani Mahal for her. Bajirao, however, is broken hearted due to the betrayal of Radhabai and Chiman Appa, when Pant informs him that he must defeat Nasir, the vengeful son of the Nizam. Bajirao proclaims that even if he loves Mastani, his life and allegiance is always to his cause, so he decides to enter the battlefield.After Bajirao leaves for battle, Radhabai and Nana Saheb imprisons Mastani and Shamsher Bahadur.
After Bajirao single-handedly defeats Nasir, he receives news of this treachery and collapses from his injuries. Kashi pleads with Radhabai to release Mastani so that Bajirao can recover, but her attempt is futile as Balaji Baji Rao burns the letter and refuses to release Mastani. Bajirao, delirious due to his sickness, dies from the trauma of his hallucinations, just as Mastani passes away in captivity. The two fated lovers are shown to be united in death.The film received positive reviews from critics.
Subhash K. Jha gave the film five stars out of five calling it a masterpiece, and compared it favorably with Mughal-e-Azam. Anupama Chopra from Hindustan Times gave four stars out of five, terming it soaring, searing and visually sumptuous, and wrote Bajirao Mastani plays out a like an operatic, swooning, feverish love poem. She praised the performances by the lead actors and wrote Ranveer Singh isn't instantly convincing but slowly, he makes you believe. It's a complex role that combines towering strength with aching vulnerability and helplessness.
Priyanka Chopra might have fewer scenes but she creates maximum impact. And Deepika Padukone is riveting. The Times of India also gave four stars out of five, pointing out its outstanding cinematography and wrote Every visual resembles a grand painting - courts with shadows and chandeliers, courtiers with tilaks and teers, chambers gleaming with mirrors, skies blushing with passion. Taran Adarsh from Bollywood Hungama gave four stars out of five, describing it as a cinematic gem and wrote that fascinating characters and inspirational sub-plots [in the film] advances into a stunning culmination. He praised the performances, writing Ranveer Singh is stupendous and clearly in top form.
The effortlessness with which he gets into the skin of the character is noteworthy. Deepika is enchanting as Mastani and displays the strength as an actor in several pertinent episodes. Priyanka Chopras portrayal of Kashibai deserves brownie points. Zee News also gave four stars out of five and noted An outright outshining piece of art made unblemished, sprinkled with sincerity and discipline of acting this love folklore will restore the drama lovers, back in their â€˜expectation' block. Shubha Shetty-Saha of Mid Day gave three and a half out of five stars, and wrote Sanjay Leela Bhansali in his characteristic style narrates his version of the story in a Mughal-e-azamesque scale of grandiosity, replete with breathtakingly beautiful sets, elaborate and well thought of costumes and accessoriesand dreamy cinematography which transports the viewers to an unique and stunningly beautiful world.
Ananya Bhattacharya of India Today also rated the film three and a half out of five stars, calling it an experience, and Bhansali a master love-storyteller. She praised the performance Ranveer, Deepika, Priyanka shine [.] while Tanvi Azmi plays the intimidating matriarch with elan. However, she thought the editing could have been much crisper. Koimoi gave three and a half out of five stars praising the Bhansalis direction and score, and wrote When it comes to direction.
Bajirao Mastani is a sheer cinematic brilliance. Bhansali's clear vision of making it an epic romance finally sees light of the day after years of waiting. Costumes, sets and Sudeep Chaterjee's cinematography all confluence into a magnificent presentation. She additionally praised the performances, chemistry between the three lead actors calling it breathtaking, and the cinematography. Writing for NDTV, Saibal Chatterjee gave the film three and a half out of five stars, and said There isnt a dull moment in this colourful and dramatic film that embraces excess with unabashed abandon.
Giving a rating of three stars out of five Rajeev Masand described the film as artistic but exhausting and was critical of the films length. However, he praised the cinematography, production design and performances, particularly Chopras. He wrote the film benefits from a nice touch of playfulness and humor in Priyanka Chopra's Kashibai. Chopra brings grace to the character, and practically steals the film. On the other hand, Namrata Joshi of The Hindu called the film a â€œhistorical leapâ€, and wrote Sanjay Leela Bhansali returns with another visual spectacle that wilfully takes liberties with the past that it depicts.
But it does manage to engage even as it exhausts. Conversely, Raja Sen of Rediff was unimpressed with the film, rating it two out of five stars. However, he praised performances by Chopra and Singh describing as terrific. He was critical of Padukones performance writing that Padukone look giddily entranced, there are times when she appears completely lost. It doesnt help that shes entirely eaten up by Priyanka Chopra, who, while not in the title, owns Bajirao Mastani.
Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express was also disappointed with the film, writing that Bajirao Mastani' had the potential to be a terrific historical. You want to be transported. What it ends up being is a costume drama : too many costumes, too much revved-up, empty drama, and too little plot.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra
Sanjay Leela Bhansali Kishore Lulla
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Songs: Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Assisted by Shreyas Puranik) Background score: Sanchit Balhara