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Panipat (2019) Hindi Movie Review

In the 18th century India, Shadashivrao Bhau, commander-in-chief of the Maratha army, commands his force in the Third Action of Panipat facing Ahmad Shah Abdali, the leader of Afghanistan.

Panipat (2019) Hindi

Director Ashutosh Gowariker
Stars Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Kriti Sanon
Country India
Genres Action, Drama, History
Initial release 6 December 2019
Language Hindi

Ashutosh Gowariker’s magnum opus ‘Panipat’ is based on historical realities, taking some creative liberties along the route. Shadashivrao Bhau (Arjun Kapoor), is an able leader in his cousin Nanasaheb Peshwa’s (Mohnish Bahl) command. After a victorious action against the Nizam of Udgir, Shadashivrao Bhau is taken by the Maratha Peshwa to command their army to Delhi. Ahmad Shah Abdali (Sanjay Dutt), the leader of Afghanistan, has set his inroads into India after allying with Najib-Ud-Daula (Mantra) to defeat the Marathas and curb their expanding power.

Connecting Shadashivrao Bhau and his soldiers on this arduous thousand-kilometer travel from Pune to Delhi is also his partner, Parvati Bai (Kriti Sanon), his nephew and the Peshwa heir – Vishwasrao (Abhishek Nigam), his relative, Shamsher Bahadur (Sahil Salathia) and his trusted aide, Ibrahim Khan Gardi (Nawab Khan). As they traverse through the expanse, they form friendships with other kings to form a robust army to counter Ahmad Shah Abdali’s one lakh soldiers. And almost mid-way they come face to face with Ahmad Shah Abdali’s soldiers, with only the raging waters of the Yamuna separating the soldiers.

‘Panipat’ packs in a layered narrative that delves into the complicated politics of the time, the intricate performances of battle strategies versus might, negotiation dynamics, and the importance of forming alliances. And it also weaves in the love story between Shadashivrao Bhau and Parvati Bai. The chemistry between Kriti Sanon and Arjun Kapoor as their love story begins is one of the high points of the movie. But a run-time of close three hours and the various roles and plot points the movie touches upon it converts a lengthy and at times, tedious observer.

Kriti Sanon pulls in a reliable, effortless performance with a well-etched out character graph. Arjun Kapoor is earnest and shines in the final battle sequence and the romantic views. Sanjay Dutt channelizes a menacing performance effectively.

The movie has been mounted on a lavish range, and it comes through in almost every view. The costume design (Neeta Lulla) and the sets and production design (Nitin Chandrakant Desai) are spectacular and stand out. The songs (Ajay –Atul) add to the mood and are well choreographed. However, it is in the final fight set in 1761, where the mammoth struggle that has gone into making the movie comes to the fore, as we witness a compelling battle sequence. One that almost induces goosebumps. The cinematography (C.K. Muraleedharan), sound design (Stephen Gomes), and the visual impacts also blend in seamlessly to give an authentic setting to this period movie. The ensemble cast of Mohnish Bahl, Padmini Kohlapure, Zeenat Aman (special appearance) add to the milieu.

‘Panipat’ delves into an essential section in the past and is a battle drama that lauds the unshakeable courage, spirit, and the energetic laws of the Marathas.

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