Panipat | Bollywood Movie Review by Anupama Chopra | Arjun Kapoor | Kriti Sanon | Film Companion

Panipat | Bollywood Movie Review by Anupama Chopra | Arjun Kapoor | Kriti Sanon | Film Companion

If Ashutosh Gowariker was your history teacher
in college, you’d always be wondering whether to go for his class or skip it. Because sometimes, he creates
a masterpiece like the Oscar-nominated Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India. Other times, his ability to merge
spectacle with intimacy and emotion fails him and
he delivers the unwatchable Mohenjodaro. But in both cases, you have to admire his earnestness,
passion and the studious gaze that he turns on Indian history. In Panipat, he recreates the
third battle of Panipat. The 18th century battle is considered to be one of the biggest clashes of two armies
– the Afghans led by Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Marathas led
by Sadashivrao Bhau. It’s estimated that
more than a 100,000 Marathas died during and after the battle. The Marathas lost because
they were outnumbered and betrayed. Do not scream spoiler. This film is called
Panipat: The Great Betrayal. But Abdali never
invaded India again. It’s a rousing story filled with noble warriors,
feisty wives, power struggles and selfless courage. With its emphasis
on masculinity and motherland, it’s also a story that speaks directly
to our hyper-nationalistic cultural climate. There are enough opportunities for
impassioned speeches on deshbhakti, defending our country and
the glory of the mard maratha. At one point, a character says:
Ishwar kare kesariya dhvaj ko nayi unchai mile. The ultimate goal is to
keep the saffron flag flying high. The enemy is Muslim which makes the fit with
the current polarized political narrative, perfect. It’s revealing that Sadashivrao is portrayed as an enlightened warrior who,
despite being warned by his own army men, includes a Muslim as head of the artillery.
But Abdali, like Khilji in Padmaavat, is a barbarian – in one scene, he bludgeons a
man to death using his crown. This film should have been
the 18th century version of Uri because the josh of Sadashivrao
and his men is always high. Instead we get a labored history
lesson, which stretches for an interminable
two-hours and fifty-one-minutes. The biggest hurdle is the writing– Ashutosh,
Ranjeet Bahadur, Chandrashekhar Dhavalikar and Aditya Rawal are credited with screenplay
and Ashok Chakradhar for dialogue. I always get a little worried when I see
too many writers because a film needs a unified vision. This is writing by committee
and it shows on screen. Instead of an organic story,
we get a fractured, leaden structure that moves from one scene to another
with the help of a voice over and animated maps. The road to the battle is long, literally
– the army travelled 1300 kms from Pune to Panipat and it seems like the writers decided
to document every twist and turn along the way. On screen, this translates into a series of conversations
with smaller kingdoms to align with them, dwindling supplies, the battle strategies
and of course the continuing romance between Sadashivrao and his wife Parvati who enters
key meetings to provide ready solutions. The screenplay is essentially a check-list of
events that are being ticked off. The characters have more layers
in their clothing than their personalities. Sadashivrao is heroic
and Abdali, vicious. The writing doesn’t flesh them out
so there isn’t much that Arjun Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt can do except
inhabit the characters in the most superficial way Like standing erect to appear noble,
delivering long dialogues without blinking. The physicality might be a fit – we are told that Sadashivrao does 1500 surya namaskars. But underneath the posturing,
there isn’t a beating heart. We get a hint of complexity in
a few scenes with Sadashivrao and Parvati. In one, Sadashivrao explains to Parvati
that he is made for battle, not for politics. But there isn’t enough
of this vulnerability and fear. Kriti Sanon’s demeanor is too contemporary
but she adds color and emotion to the story, which often becomes repetitive.
Arjun veers between sincerity and monotony. Meanwhile, Sanjay plays Abadali
as a one-note Afghan who speaks Hindi without
a trace of an accent. But yes, his eyes are rimmed with Kohl. Sadashivrao and Parvati are Maharashtrian
in the same cosmetic sense. Every few lines, there is a sprinkling of
Marathi to remind us. Nitin Chandrakant Desai’s production design, Neeta Lulla’s costume design and the cinematography by
C. K. Muraleedharan are strong but I wonder if after so many
historical films, a certain fatigue has set in. It feels like we’ve seen it all before –
the beautiful costumes, the staggering jewelry, the grand sets.
I still remember how dazzling it was when we first saw it in Jodhaa Akbar but now
Ashutosh seems to be cannibalizing his own work Like the memorably erotic sword play between
Jodha and Akbar in that film, here also, you get a scene in which
husband and wife wield weapons romantically but it pales in comparison.
The beats of the genre are also becoming familiar. Padmini Kolhapure who plays
the scheming Gopika Bai will remind you of Tanvi Azmi’s
Radha Bai in Bajirao Mastani. The events of this film
take place 20 years after that one. Bajirao and Mastani’s son
is a key player in Panipat. We are in the same world
except this one is less enticing. Some of the key scenes like Abdali crossing the Yamuna river
or Parvati watching the final battle from a hill are clumsily staged.
And the digital effects are sloppy. Panipat finds its footing in the last hour
when we finally get into the ferocious battle Ashutosh succeeds in creating
palpable horror and valor here. The other plus point
is Ajay-Atul’s music. From the testosterone-filled Mard Maratha
to the exuberant Mere Man Main Shiva. I wish the energy and tempo of these
songs had seeped into the rest of the film.

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  1. What are your reviews of Panipat? Also check out Anupama Chopra's review of Pati Patni Aur Woh here:

  2. Why are u saying that it is hindu vs. Muslims.. very unfair Anupama… Maharashtrians have many many such stories.. and swarajya has been the motive.. not hindutva… don't misinterpret history for god sake… u r creating a divide.. probably unknowingly..

  3. Same movie make Arjun Kapoor a muslim king fighting against a hindu sanjay dutt and youl have Anupama Chopra swooning all over and declare the movie best ever!

  4. Ok I sometimes justttt can't listen to you..even though I like you generally…what do u mean the enemy is Muslim…should gowarikar change the religion of abdalis…like how dumbbbbbnb

  5. So called Liberals will not like movies like this. They thiks this movie is communal. They will praise Dabang 3 and Veere di wedding.

  6. What is wrong with you movie critics!!! this happened in India and why are you comparing with today Political Situation!!! OMG… Stop this kind of reviews where again and again Hinduism is bashed. There is Patriotic Song which is "jhanda uncha rahe hamara" and next will you start criticizing this song too!!!

  7. Fits with current political climate? It justifies the current political climate given the century long religious expansionism by Muslims. Unless the film is fiction, which it is not, there is nothing wrong with the portrayal of the film, no matter how much non-PC Anupama considers this to be? It's called FoS, get on with it.

  8. Anupama Chopra, when you talk about historical events, kings, empires then don't use such words like barbarians. People won't take you seriously then. You really sounded like an uneducated and biased person.

    Ahmad Shah Abdali was a great Emperor/King! He had an empire!


    He won the Third Battle of Panipat. I fully understand that you Indians are patriots and it is hard for you to accept your defeat, but it is the BITTER TRUTH. Please don't try to make excuses like: we lost the war because of cold weather, because of betrayal, long journey, hunger, thirst etc…
    Let's see how much of the history has been changed in favor of Marathas in this movie.
    Mr. Sanjay Dutt said in an interview in Bollywood Hungama that please don't call Ahmad Shah Abdali a villain. He was a KING!
    Salaam and Namaste 🙏

  9. Thanks Anupama pointing out the political point of this film..Rewriting the history for current polictical advantage & polarizing..Yes 100 books can’t do what Ramayan tele serial to Saffron politics in our diverse culture..plz don’t forget before there was no India, small kingdoms fighting each other..

  10. Well said Ma’am! I really respect the few people like you who aren’t afraid to say the ugly truth like it is. I really hope you inspire more people to be unabashedly honest and to always stand your ground.

  11. Ashutosh is far far better than Bhansali, but because Bhansali gave bigger hits with his caricature villains and glorifying feudalism Ashutosh too is following his styles of storytelling, which is very bad

  12. Its ok , perfectly ok to criticise on the acting , screen play..but i dont understand the abalogy that Anupama always makes with hypernationalism..
    Mam the movie is set in that era where india was under constant attack from islamic yes people who are indian mainly hindus are shown in power and say yeh bhagwa ucha lehrana chahiye….
    We were not always dharm nirpeksha…
    Or secular…
    Every country has a religion…

  13. The movie is basically a parody of all the previous historical dramas we have seen. Don’t waste your time and money

  14. All betrayed Maraths specilly ( Rajput , Jats etc) only sikh stands with them .

    Maratha and Sikh are the real patriot of India

  15. Surely no Afghans will watch Bollywood movies anymore . The boycott starts with me forever . Sorry Bollywood u lost us .

  16. In 1761 , Third Battle of Panipat which was the largest battle of 18th century with over 1 lakh causalities,brutal and bloodthirty for its time, more than 70 thousand afghans and 85000 under marathas including Ibrahim khan who had the largest contingent of marathas, and around 3 lakh camp followers, more than 75 % were massacared and children and women were sold as slaves , marathas lost punjab above north of sutlej to durranis , shah alam was restored but marathas were resistant as hell, by 1947 the marathas continued to rule swaths of subcontinent with in the shape of tens of princely states ,the afghanis never attacked again

  17. When the secular idiots like this chopra lady are all out saying bad things about the movie, it is a sign that it is a good movie indeed. I am going to watch it now. Secular brigade will definitely not like it, because Peshwas were Hindus and Abdali was muslim. So their first objection is why Abdali "the muslim peaceful invader" is portrayed in bad light. And why Peshwa "the Hindu defenders" were portrayed as patriotic. The sickular brigade is out, trying everything to make such movies a flop, so that they are not made again. This is a good enough reason to go and watch the movie..

  18. Your a freak Westernised white pale witch.. I respect your husband's work who made great film like parinda.. and munnabhai.. may be he should have taught you to give some reviews.. u and Rajeev masand are the most cheap reviewers who want indians to make unrealistic movies like Hollywood…Panipat is a an untold history and which one should be proud of..But it seems the saying that "Angrez chale Gaye but mem chod gaye" fits ur personality.. get some other job witch coz u should be beaten to death by generations Indian women who lost their ancestors in the battle .

  19. What do you trying to say that the enemy is Muslim? Present situation in politics. Are you expecting a war again on Barbi masjid as it was demolished today.

  20. Great epic movie….. Amazingly potrayed… Loved it.. N will watch 2nd tym tommorow… Mazaa aa gaya… Request trollers to STOP trolling n simply watch the movie… M sure every INDIANS will love it…. N thanx again Ashu n team to bring such a epic movie on screen.. We love u 😍

  21. Anupama, India's enemy was Muslim and that's a fact, as various Muslim emperors tried to capture Deccan…
    However, it has nothing to do with current Indian Political or Social sentiments.. Today, NO one is enemy.. It's just few people are little more possessive about their religion and it is with all religions… Pls don't spread hate & Don't mislead people..

  22. U r the reviewer who gave URI Movie 2 star rating…..comeon mam…I have watched this movie…very well made movie I have watched in theatre..Solid movie every Indian must see this movie …Must watch movie see in theaters

  23. First of all this was not a battle of Hindus and Muslims!!! It was battle of locals and invaders!!
    Have some shame for mis-interpreting the piece of history. This was a battle fought against an invader by both Hindus and Muslims. Your thoughts are polarised for sure!!!!

  24. I haven't seen the movie and it doesn't look that good to me personally the trailers shows less of acting craft.

    But i don't like the fact that representing history now is seen as religious bias???

    Come on stop sawing seeds of hate for useless things.

    History is history it was that Era for those people and now those people are mostly dead we can learn their stories and learn from them that is it or just watch it as entertainment.

    Don't make it more than that by association

  25. As someone has already pointed out, didn't she hit below the belt,on finding that this fits some present narrative…?
    As someone already said,the colours you perceive from the colours thrown on the wall by an artist, depend on the lens you view them through,if any.

  26. I know what she would say even before watching the review (noticing her pattern of reviews) – Jingoistic , Saffron Nationalism & full of Masculinity. This is the problem with English speaking elite reviewer who are far from ground reality and never effort to read history. However, even an average movie goer would have rejected this movie as a failed attempt by the first look of movie. But why to digress from reviewing and enter into uncharted territory when history is not your forte ? – Invasion and Conquest of India was Bloody & so was URI attack. Do you remember how Utopian ideal of South Mumbai was Invaded by 10 invaders on 26/11 – How can you ask for normalization of barbaric invasion when they were not (Why double standard).

  27. I now felt like that I should stop your review anupama that another girl gave better and true review to viewers, you are sold anupama

  28. I saw this movie today and enjoyed most of it….except for one person, Kriti Sanon playing the role of Parvati (Arjun Kapoor's wife). Someone with excellent acting talent should have been chosen for this role. But unfortunately the director chose Kriti Sanon who at her best, is a super light weight in acting. Her character Parvati, in real life, must have been a pillar of strength to her husband Sadashiv Rao. But Kriti Sanon is unable to provide that strength through Parvati.

  29. How can you call Ananya’s acting passable and then go on to criticize Kriti Sanon in Panipat. Kriti is so much better. I’m really beginning to doubt if you’re a Karan Johar suck up. It’s a pity, I had so much respect for you

  30. Isn’t that the purpose of making historical movie to show history though it’s long!!! Maratha will definitely showcase Maratha dialogue. Some very stupid comments by her!!!! Atleast with big sets came truth of the past than making it look superficial!

  31. WTF is wrong with Anupama Chopra? 'The aim to keep the saffron flying high and the enemy is Muslim. Which fits very well with the current polarized scenario'. By saying this what is she trying to imply? This is not a movie based on cricket that has released around the world cup. It is based on historical facts. This is nothing but subtle communalism coming from the bollywood elitists.

  32. i like how anupama while reivewing the film inserts liberal propoganda without understanding the life of the real people ( i mean non elites who live outside of south bombay ) or having much understanding of the civilization .

  33. This is just criticism and not a review….atleast we should praise the hard work gone in making such a magnum opus..

  34. Before giving useless review please go and read about our history
    Pta ghanta kuch hai nai panipat k bare mai or shuru ho gyi gyan dene

  35. First time I have liked arjun’s acting. And sanju baba is all time incredible actor! Personally I really liked this movie!

  36. Why these liberals can't digest the facts???. This movie has nothing to do with religion . Gets urself a history teacher Mam.

  37. Comparing current socio-political scenario with Panipat era is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard.

    Why to equate Indian Muslims with Abdali? Indiam Muslims are land-dwellers and Abdali was invader.

    Today's problem are domestic. Panipat war was against an outsider.

    Stop this non sense and please edit the video.

  38. What a stupid review…comparing to current political climate is stupid as that is how things were back then…..unnecessary and not helpful

  39. How comfortable it is for leftists to whitewash the barbarian Islamic invasion! Islamic invaders are and were the greatest enemies of Hindus. We cannot forget the atrocities done by them just bcoz present day Muslims get offended! Petty woman!!

  40. The film deserves a watch. It is a war movie, with greater emphasis on stretegy used by the 2 rulers and kingdoms to win the 3rd battle of Panipat. Thus, it is different from bajirao mastani which was a love story at its core. The performances and direction do not match bhansali's cinema but here they are earnest at doing what they are. I will rate it as the 4th best Ashutosh Gowarikar movie after Lagaan, Swades andJodha Akbar.

  41. I liked the movie.. movie is quite slow.. Arjun kapoors acting is not good.. but still movie is very nice..!! I loved it.. 4/5 rating..!! My all family and friends liked the movie..

  42. Anupama Ma'am, please start assigning the ratings. There would hardly be an actor who may reach the caliber of Ranveer Singh the way he delivered as Bajiro & Khilji.

  43. Ashutosh Govarikar had even heard about Ahmadiyya Karar signed in 1752 between Mughal's and Peshwa's???
    First understand what Panipat means??

  44. I don't know why these modern movie reviewers have the problem accepting the Hindu-Muslim side of Panipat which is the reality? How can the portrayal of historical facts be labelled as 'Hyper-Nationalism'? These so called liberals would have termed even Chhatrpati Shivaji Maharaj, a hyper-nationalist, had he been alive today ? Shame on you, hinduphobic, liberals.

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