'Samrat Prithviraj' review: A period drama riddled with historical loopholes
After many speedbumps, Akshay Kumar and Manushi Chhillar's film Samrat Prithviraj finally made its way to the big screens on Friday. Judging by the epic saga that unfolded on screen, we can confirm that the film has definitely been worth the wait! Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi's directorial is based on Prithviraj Raso—an epic poem narrating the life of emperor Prithviraj Chauhan. Here's our detailed review.
Samrat Prithviraj revolves around the warrior's (Kumar) story and his quest to protect his motherland against a foreign invasion led by Muhammad Ghori (Manav Vij). It introduces us to Chand Bardai (Sonu Sood) the king's trustworthy aide and poet, counsel Kaka Kanha (Sanjay Dutt), and his wife Sanyogita (Chhillar). Ashutosh Rana, Sakshi Tanwar, Lalit Tiwari, Ajoy Chakrabarty, and Govind Pandey also feature in it.
The first half focuses on Prithviraj Chauhan's heroism and his morals to respect and protect those who ask for help. With a lot to cover, the film cuts to sequences without giving a proper account of the actual incidents. In the second half, the narrative shifts toward women's empowerment and equality in an era where a woman's presence in the royal court was laughable.
Irrespective of the film's lack of depth in certain war sequences, the actors have definitely tried to give their best. Kumar's portrayal of the great king is not too convincing given the visible age goof-up. Chhillar, who made her debut with the film, seems to be no rookie in the game. However, some characters would've added more impact if they were given more prominence.
The film has its highlights, but no epic tale is complete without a dramatic war sequence, which is missing in the film. Romance often overlaps the serious tonality of the film and runs as a separate sequence that gets connected rather abruptly. One of Chhillar's standout sequences toward the end definitely deserves a special mention as the debutant gives it a great shot.
Manush Nandan's cinematography is commendable. But compared to other historical sagas, Samrat Prithviraj runs short in terms of grandeur. Given that the film reportedly had an Rs. 200cr budget, a lot could have been done differently. The background score adds gravitas to important scenes. Although, the tracks could have been better. Costume selection, too, is subtle and nothing too over the top.
As far as history is concerned, Dwivedi has clearly dismissed many real and important events in turn for a more pragmatic approach. Further to this, since the film is based on Chand Bardai's poem, it does feature an overly-exaggerated version of what actually occurred. If you can ignore all the historical flaws, Kumar's film is a passable period drama. Verdict: 2/5 stars.