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Bajirao Mastani Movie Review (Story, Mistakes, Box Office & Climax Revealed)


STORY: Legendary warrior Peshwa Bajirao battles Mughals but falls in love with half-Muslim Mastani - what happens when Bajirao's family declares war on his love? 

REVIEW: Straight away, Bajirao Mastani is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's most gorgeous - and most political - movie. Peshwa Bajirao (Ranveer) stretches the Maratha empire across 18th century India, fighting Mughals and rivals for Chhattrapati Shahu (Mahesh). Suddenly, Bundelkhand requests protection, Bajirao approached by its half-Muslim princess Mastani (Deepika).
As Bajirao-Mastani fall in love, how does his wife Kashibai (Priyanka) react? And can Bajirao-Mastani battle the bitter opposition they receive? 

Bajirao Mastani's most outstanding star is its cinematography. Every visual resembles a grand painting - courts with shadows and chandeliers, courtiers with tilaks and teers, chambers gleaming with mirrors, skies blushing with passion. Certain shots - Bajirao leaping up an elephant - stamp themselves onto your memory. 

The movie's battle scenes are grand and complex while its family battles - led by Bajirao's Ma Sahab (bitterly good Tanvi) and brother Chimaji (Vaibbhav, whose nervous spite impresses) - are acrid and intense. With his faithful friend Ambaji (Milind) and acidic rival Pratinidhi (Aditya), the story takes twists and turns like Bajirao's Shaniwar Wada palace,' etc. 

, where corridors resound with whispers, bedrooms with sighs, courtyards with clashing tempers and swords. 

Ranveer pulls off Bajirao with chiseled muscles and glittering eyes, a Marathi lilt that delights, balancing vulnerability and vivaciousness. But Deepika's Mastani remains muted - you occasionally glimpse dark eyes drunk on love, the fire of a fighter-princess, but you miss the full-blown passion of this lead pair. In contrast, by the end, Priyanka impresses as quiet Kashi conveys the sorrow of a wife, a lover, a friend, forgotten. 

The end, by the way, is marvelous. Where the first half looks fabulous but slightly far-off - like watching an opera from seats high in a theatre's skies - the second half mesmerizes. Post-interval, Bhansali imbues every frame with epic, precise passion. His question - what should religion do? Tear us to bits? Or bring us closer? - frames an end that is frightening, beautiful and powerful. 

Bajirao-Mastani resembles Jodhaa-Akbar with teeth that bite, Mughal-e-Azam with shades of philosophical grey. It rediscovers roots to Maratha pride - and bravely confronts one of India's most crucial questions now. 

Quickly 'chala' to the biggest screen you can find.
Spoiler alert! Please do not read the following plot summary if you have not seen the film.

In Maratha king Chhattrapati Shahu's (Mahesh) 18th century court, a new Peshwa is needed. While Shilpat Rao (Aditya) nominates himself, Pant (Milind) nominates a very young Bajirao (Ranveer). Shilpat challenges Bajirao to show his command of shustra and shastra, which Bajirao does, breaking a peacock feather using an arrow. Bajirao becomes Peshwa.

He grows into a legendary warrior, winning huge battles against the Mughals over the next 10 years.

In Poona, Bajirao's family has the gorgeous Shaniwar Wada palace made. His adoring wife Kashibai (Priyanka) meets an old friend Bhanu whose husband has been killed for spying by the Peshwa. Bitter Bhanu tells Kashi someday she too will yearn for her husband.

Bajirao is in battle, en route to Sironja, when an emissary from Bundelkhand crashes into his tent, demanding help from invaders. The emissary battles Bajirao's guards and turns out to be Bundelkhand's half-Muslim princess Mastani (Deepika). Bajirao helps Mastani and fights Bundelkhand's enemy with her. Bundelkhand's King Chatrasal (Benjamin Gilani) is delighted and invites Bajirao to stay for Holi. Bajirao and Mastani fall in love and he gifts her his dagger - which, in Bundelkhand, is a sign of marriage.

Bajirao returns to Poona where Kashi shows him the new palace. A unique feature is the Aaina Mahal from where Kashi can see Bajirao, projected onto a screen in her room. Kashi and Bajirao share close moments.

Mastani follows with gifts from Bundelkhand. She is greeted coldly by Bajirao's mother Ma Saheb (Tanvi) who knows Mastani is the daughter of the Raja's Muslim consort. Mastani is put up in a courtesans' palace. She swallows the insult and appears before Bajirao to dance on the occasion of Parwa. Bajirao is enchanted and wants her honoured. But Ma Saheb tells Mastani she can be the royal dancer. Bajirao yells at his brother Chimaji (Vaibbhav) for making slighting remarks about Mastani.

Bajirao goes to Chhattrapati Shahu's court in Satara, where he says he wants to contest Delhi's Mughals now. Shilpat Rao rejects this, saying the Deccan Nizam (Raza Murad) will first have to be handled. There's an evening mehfil at which Mastani is sent to dance. She places her ghungroos before the Chhattrapati who says she does not need to dance there and offers her a gift. Mastani asks for Bajirao and leaves the court.

Bajirao crosses a river in full storm and reaches the ruin where Mastani has been lodged. He tells her he is already married and will not leave his wife. She is happy with all his conditions -and Bajirao accepts her as his second wife.

Bajirao confronts the Deccan Nizam who has 20,000 soldiers while Bajirao has half but bluffs his way and defeats the Nizam with his wit and threats. He returns to Poona where Kashi is expecting - and so is Mastani. Bajirao is torn between both and tells Mastani he must tell Kashi the whole truth before he can see her. But Chimaji has his letter burnt. Mastani is told Bajirao is unwell and enters the royal palace with a false name, meeting Bajirao in Aaina Mahal, where Kashi sees them embracing on the screen in her room. Kashi is shocked and burns the screen.

Kashi returns from her mother's home later, with a baby son, still upset with Bajirao. Mastani gives birth to a son with no midwife and only with Bajirao's help. Mastani goes to see Kashi's child and is bitterly insulted by all. While Kashi's son is named Raghunath with full pomp, no-one agrees to name Mastani's son Krishna and Bajirao decides to name him Shamsher Bahadur instead. Bajirao settles levies on Mastani which Chimaji opposes. Bajirao throws a dagger past him. As the court's Brahmins led by Krishnaji Bhatt, get upset, Bajirao decides to bring Mastani to his own palace. Only Kashi formally greets Mastani there.

Kashi's eldest son Nana Saheb arrives from Satara and douses the diya she has burnt for Bajirao, upset at her pain. Kashi slaps Nana and tells him not to worry so much. However, Nana hates Mastani bitterly.

A junior pandit, Shiva Bhatt, warns Kashi that Mastani will be murdered. As Mastani fights off her assailants, Kashi warns Bajirao, who rescues Mastani and Shamsher in the nick of time.

Shiva Bhatt is murdered and Bajirao accuses Krishnaji Bhatt, who says defending religion is crucial. Bajirao tells Ma Saheb he will be Peshwa only with Mastani beside him and she chooses otherwise. But when Pant tells him he must battle the Nizam's estranged son, Nasser, who's challenging them, Bajirao accepts going to war.

Kashi sends him off with sad, bitter words and tells him he must never come to her rooms again. Mastani anoints his sword with blood and Bajirao tells her they will be reunited at an extraordinary time. Later, Kashi visits Mastani and puts auspicious haldi-kumkum on her as she says Bajirao needs Mastani to be well and happy. The two women dance to the Pinga song.

However, when Bajirao leaves for battle, Ma Saheb and Nana have Mastani cruelly imprisoned.

A messenger tells Bajirao this in battle. He alone attacks Nasser and ends the battle quickly, wanting to go to Mastani, but collapses. Bajirao has high fever and his mother and wife come to him but he yearns only for Mastani, mistaking Kashi for Mastani. Kashi insists Ma Saheb has Mastani released but Nana refuses. Bajirao fights the phantoms in his own mind - and the fateful moment arrives when Bajirao and Mastani both die at the same time, finally united.
1When Mastani meets Bajirao, he's on the way to Sironja on urgent business. However, he goes to Bundelkhand with her, does battle and then apparently returns to Poona, Sironja forgotten

In-depth Analysis

Our overall critic’s rating is not an average of the sub scores below.
Visual appeal


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