Bhansali's magnum opus was in the headlines since last year, leaving many a Rajput in furore.
Bhansali's magnum opus was in the headlines since last year, leaving many a Rajput in furore.

Padmaavat caused quite a stir but the hype didn't do the film any major favours, judging from reviews by Indian critics.

Bhansali's magnum opus was in the headlines since last year, leaving many a Rajput in furore. However, all that controversy and hype only led to a major setback as film critics across the border gave Padmaavat less than 3 stars.

Though they all lauded the film for putting on an extravagant display on screen, the clumsy CGI, never-ending narrative, lack of depth and stark divide between the good and bad made the film a bore for most.

We rounded up seven reviews from Indian critics. Here's what they had to say.

Scroll.in feels the film belongs to Ranveer Singh

"Through a simplistic and conventional chronicle of domestic calm ruined by foreign invasion, Bhansali explores his pet predilections and gives his current muse, Ranveer Singh, the role of a lifetime. The movie’s working title was Padmavati after its titular queen, but its most memorable character is Singh’s kohl-eyed degenerate. Singh, acting as much with his body as his face, ensures that his Khijli both repels and attracts.

Sudeep Chatterjee’s elegant tracking and frontal shots and muted red and amber tones and the magnificent costumes by Rimple, Harpreet Narula and Maxima Basu compete for attention with Ranveer Singh’s magnetic performance."


The Hindu calls Padmaavat a 'snoozefest'

"Forget these ideological, political, feminist quibbles, my biggest issue with the film is that it is a yawn fest. If there’s one disclaimer that Padmaavat should have rightfully sported, it is "any lapse into boredom is purely unintended and coincidental". For once, the tired reviewer in me demands the indulgence of adjectives — Padmaavat is an interminable expanse of unadulterated dullness.

In Padmaavat, however, neither does he manage to hit the right notes when it comes to the soundtrack, nor is there a single sequence which lingers on. No character reaches out; no moment is able to move you. Padmaavat may well be Bhansali’s most sterile and insipid outing since Saawariya and Guzaarish. It manages to wear down and exhaust rather than engage."


Indian Express says Ranveer Singh is Padmaavat's saving grace

"Deepika Padukone has never been lovelier. She wears those stunning costumes, never letting them wear her, even if her waist is decorously covered in the Ghoomar song (alert viewers may see a flash of the said body part in other parts of the film). Shahid Kapoor sports kohl in his eyes, and clearly articulated muscles in his chest, often left bare. But this film belongs to Ranveer Singh’s Khilji, who bites into mounds of meat (serving well the prototype of the Muslim savage) and his part with such relish that you can taste it.

If there’s one thing that keeps us from brooding too much through the film, it is Ranveer Singh. Not once does he try to make us like him, and that makes us like him even more. As a performer, he has always been unpredictable, in a good way. As Bhansali’s Khilji, he is electric. And try as anyone might, so is the attraction between the outsider and the queen: it is their doomed love story, whose embers rain on the screen, that we take away with us."


NDTV believes that Padmaavat didn't do justice to Deepika Padukone

"Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, a man well versed with excess, lays it on thick to the point of being tiresome. This is an all-out assault on the senses, a circuitous take on an old legend that is now being flogged to breaking point.

Alas, Bhansali takes an unbearable length of time to spark the flame. Things go on and on and on, with characters it is impossible to care about. They may appear attractive from time to time, certainly, but these protagonists are inconsistent, infuriating and test the patience. There is only that much of a damn that can be given about window dressing, and about people who dress like windows. (I'd accuse the film of navel-gazing, except visible midriffs have since been cloaked by our censor board.)"


Times of India lauds Bhansali for his film direction

"Sanjay Leela Bhansali has added his own flair and interpretation to Padmaavat, giving it a fairy-tale sheen. This makes all the controversy pointless, and pale in comparison to the spectacle that unfolds.

The director's expertise in heightening opulence and grandeur is well-known, further distinguishable in 3D. Cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee compliments him by beautifully capturing some jaw-dropping scenery. However, the effects in the action/ war scenes don't meet the expectations raised by a film of this scale. Also, the songs don't do much to further the narrative other than providing visual delight. Granted, it could do with a tauter screenplay and shorter run-time but Padmaavat is an entertaining, large canvas experience, brought to life with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's stroke of visual brilliance."


Anupama Chopra calls Padmaavat a work of art that fails to deliver

"Padmaavat is a thing of beauty – the rich fabrics, the jaw-dropping jewelry, the sumptuous, palatial interiors and of course, the sheer gorgeousness of the leads

I have no idea how much the ugly politics surrounding Padmaavat has distorted the director’s original vision but what we get is an unapologetic valorisation of Rajputs and an unqualified demonizing of Khilji and his entire clan. The valorisation makes the Rajput characters cardboard.

I clinically admired each frame. But I wasn’t seduced by the story telling.

I’m an admirer of Sanjay’s passion and rigour, of his operatic sensibility and his commitment to creating epics. He isn’t subtle but he always plays for broke. To steal a line from the poet Robert Browning – Sanjay’s reach always exceeds his grasp. That’s what a heaven’s for. This time he doesn’t quite get there."


Deccan Chronicle criticises Bhansali for a lack of depth in storytelling

"Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat is the most ambitious film to emerge from Bollywood's stable in quite a while. Sadly the results are not very impressive. The film that is a war epic, love story, and costume drama, all in one, is bogged down by mediocre execution.

This film has a fine production design, costumes and camera work. It’s the technical finesse on display which makes you realise how much hard work Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his team of technicians has put in making this film to look exquisite. But even Sudeep Chatterjee’s stellar cinematography that carries on all the way through fails to compensate for run-of-the-mill storytelling and conceptual inconsistency.

The clunky CGI in the film is pretty awful and distracting. The inconsequential 3D effects and a glossy crowd-wowing star spectacle make Padmaavat look like pure product which manipulates the audience to love it. But the fact is, it lacks the real depth and hence the high of watching a good piece of cinema."


Padmavaat releases in Pakistan on January 25

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