This Bollywood historical period drama explores the troubled personal life of the eighteenth-century Maratha warrior, General Bajirao (Ranveer Singh), who fought and won numerous battles against the invading Muslim Mughals with the aim of creating a unified Hindu India.
Sparks fly when the apparently happily married Bajirao meets feisty female warrior Mastani (Deepika Padukone). When the high-caste Bajirao takes the half-Muslim Mastani as his second wife, he faces inner turmoil and opposition from everyone, especially (and entirely naturally) from his dutiful wife Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra).
Perhaps aware of the numerous objections he was bound to face from the moral guardians of Indian society – indeed, there have already been calls for the film to be banned for historical inaccuracy – director Bhansali opens with a long disclaimer in the credits. Still, historians need not fret, since the focus here is on bedrooms, boudoirs and hallways. Since this a Bhansali film, style triumphs over substance and camp excess is embraced. The physical beauty and real acting talent of the three leads rises this to just above sud-level. Its central message that ‘all religions preach love, but love has no religion’ is to be commended, especially since it is still so pertinent to India today.