Rajeev Masand’s Review Of Panipat

Rajeev Masand’s Review Of Panipat

By Rajeev Masand7 December, 2019 3 min read
Rajeev Masand’s Review Of Panipat

Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Kriti Sanon

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker

Every few years it takes an Ashutosh Gowariker film to appreciate the concept and the existence of the interval in Hindi cinema. Gowariker’s track record with the success of his films has been uneven, but what’s been consistent is his inability to pare them down to a reasonable length. His latest, Panipat, could well be among his shortest at a bladder-bursting 2 hours and 53 minutes.

This film focuses on the third battle of Panipat waged between the Marathas and the Afghans, in which thousands of soldiers are believed to have died. It is significant also because it’s one of those films about a war in which we’re on the side of the vanquished.

Few Hindi filmmakers are as fascinated with the past as Gowariker, and his passion for the subject at hand is ever so visible. But Panipat is also a lumbering epic. The script is dense, packed with too much information, too much research, and too many details. Every alliance, every betrayal, every strategy is dutifully and painstakingly documented…with an emphasis on pain.

Arjun Kapoor stars as Sadashivrao Bhau who leads the Marathas into battle against the marauding Afghans, who in turn are led by Ahmad Shah Abdali (Sanjay Dutt). It is the story of great valour and courage, of strategy, and ultimately of sacrifice. The film’s agenda is clear – to celebrate the spirit of the great Marathas – and there are plenty rousing speeches to highlight that. But despite the unmistakable hyper-nationalistic tonality, Panipat doesn’t have the slickness of a film like 300, or the kinetic energy of Uri: The Surgical Strike. In fact it has all the excitement of a history lesson from your school textbook.

Scripted from a combination of research and imagination, the film takes many creative liberties, one of which deserves special mention. There’s very little in history about Parvati Bai, Sadashivrao’s wife, played in the film by Kriti Sanon. Gowariker and his co-writers take the decision to flesh her out as a woman with agency. So Parvati Bai accompanies her husband and the troops on the road, she offers to initiate talks with a reluctant ruler whose support the Marathas need, she is her husband’s bouncing board, and a true ally. Kriti realises the character nicely, even if her styling appears a bit modern for those times.

The men are let down by the stilted writing. You don’t get a sense of what’s going on in their heads or hearts beyond the obvious, so they never feel like fully carved out characters. Arjun Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt fill out their costumes, and deliver their lines, but we’re never able to pierce beyond their armour to get a glimpse of the vulnerability of these stony faced men going into battle.

There is no doubt over the commitment and the effort that’s gone into crafting this film. Everywhere you look there are handsome sets, elaborate costumes, busy CGI battle scenes, and immaculate detail. The problem is they’re all in service of a plodding script that seldom rises above its own shortcomings. The film’s first half feels especially dry, but it gathers momentum post interval. The war scenes are impressive but never spectacular.

Panipat ultimately is overlong and unwieldly. It may have its heart in the right place but its other organs are all over the place. Gowariker, who kept us engaged and invested through 3 hours and 40 minutes of Lagaan, or even through the genteel romance of Jodhaa Akbar, can’t seem to recreate the magic of his finest films. I’m going with a generous two out of five for Panipat. You come out feeling like you’ve survived war…just about.

Rating: 2 / 5

Tags: #Action #Arjun Kapoor #Ashutosh Gowariker #Drama #hindi #hindi reviews #Historical #Kriti Sanon #Panipat #Rajeev Masand Movie Reviews #sanjay dutt
Rajeev Masand
Written by

Rajeev Masand

Trending articles

‘Vakeel Saab’ Is Pawan Kalyan’s Show All The Way
Movie Review

‘Vakeel Saab’ Is Pawan Kalyan’s Show All The Way

A remake of Hindi superhit film ‘Pink‘, Vakeel Saab marks the comeback for Power Star Pawan Kalyan. The last we saw him on screen was ‘Agnyaathavaasi‘, after which he plunged into active politics. Also featuring Nivetha Thomas, Anjali, Ananya Nagalla, Prakash Raj and Shruti Haasan in prominent roles, the movie is directed by Venu Sriram and bankrolled by Dil Raju under ‘Sri Venkateswara Creations’ banner. S Thaman has composed the music and background score and the album is already a runaway hit. PS Vinod heads the camera department while Prawin Pudi is the editor.
By Ajay Mudunuri 2 min read
From Powerful Performances to Soul-Stirring Music, Here’s Why We Loved ‘Vakeel Saab’
Telugu Movie Article

From Powerful Performances to Soul-Stirring Music, Here’s Why We Loved ‘Vakeel Saab’

While Pawan Kalyan’s presence is enough to book a ticket for ‘Vakeel Saab‘, let us see the other top five reasons why you need to watch this movie:
By Ajay Mudunuri 2 min read
Video: The World Needs A Real-Life ‘Vakeel Saab’ Like Pawan Kalyan

Video: The World Needs A Real-Life ‘Vakeel Saab’ Like Pawan Kalyan

Power Star Pawan Kalyan’s latest theatrical Telugu film, Vakeel Saab, released in select theatres across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on April 9. Kalyan plays an angry, young lawyer, Satyadev Konidela in this film which is a remake of the Hindi film Pink starring Amitabh Bachchan and Tapasee Pannu. Vakeel Saab has already garnered great reviews and box office success.
By Manasi Rawalgaonkar < 1 min read
See more articles
Privacy Note
By using www.bookmyshow.com(our website), you are fully accepting the Privacy Policy available at https://bookmyshow.com/privacy governing your access to Bookmyshow and provision of services by Bookmyshow to you. If you do not accept terms mentioned in the Privacy Policy, you must not share any of your personal information and immediately exit Bookmyshow.
List your Show
Got a show, event, activity or a great experience? Partner with us & get listed on BookMyShow
Contact today!
Copyright 2021 © Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
The content and images used on this site are copyright protected and copyrights vests with the respective owners. The usage of the content and images on this website is intended to promote the works and no endorsement of the artist shall be implied. Unauthorized use is prohibited and punishable by law.