There is a scene in which Vishwas tells that he is happy that Sadashiv is staying because then he could learn how to do 1500 push-ups but then after seeing the stiff posture of Sadashiv during the fight you think that all the body-building sessions were a total waste.
Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Panipat -The Great Betrayal is methodical, invests ample amount of time in the build-up of the battle and its problems but forgets to carry the emotion or the heart of audience into the war. Sadashiv Rao Bhau ( Arjun Kapoor) is muscular and the most skilled type of strategic leader needed by the army of Marathas but his stiff posture makes his actions feel less energetic and impressive.
The brewing romance of Parvati (Kriti Sanon) with Sadashiv is all okay but you cannot expect the complete emotional connect from a romantic story which is also lost the detailed build-up of the battle just like the characterization of all the characters, movies like this deserves to have a longer runtime or may be told in two parts like Baahubali. There are a few references to Bajirao Mastani like Parvati telling Sadashiv that she has often heard that the kings return with a “Mastani” when they come back from a campaign or expedition. The son of Bajirao Mastani “Shamsher” plays a handy role during the battle. The Marathas come to know about the intentions of Abdali about capturing Delhi, so the Peshwa king orders Sadashiv to help Delhi and protect its allies but the condition is that they have to do it with the limited resources of food and men.
We all know the Third Battle of Panipat and how it turned out to be and Ashutosh rightly mixes the facts and his creative license to tell the story but it isn't so creative or enthralling after all.
The set is grand and rich and beautifully decorated by Nitin Chandrakant Desai, the makeup by Vikram Gaikwad, clothes and costumes by Neeta Lulla everything looks very grand and accurate. The cinematic build-up almost takes 2 hours 30 minutes for an ultimate battle. After gathering the support of allies we see a war between the Marathas and the Afghans only to see the shoddy CGI and bad action choreography. You can see the flickering background during some fight scenes.
Ahmad Shah Abdali (Sanjay Dutt) gets a similar opening as Khilji had in Padmaavat, a brutal killing to show his barbaric nature. Abdali is all smart and strategic during the war with his military suggestion of forming “Eid Ka Chand” against the opposition’s square formation. He also ruthlessly warns his soldiers leaving the battlefield to go and fight or else he will himself kill each one of them. Many characters are left hanging in the air. Also, a piece of Parvati’s mind palace dictated to us while she is all unconscious, I will say the voice-over choice isn’t clever. The cinematography by C.K Muraleedharan is well shot but the side effects of bad VFX fall on everything. Music by Ajay-Atul is energetic and contains the required Maratha flavor.
All things considered, Panipat -The Great Betrayal does a betrayal to his earnest work of slowly jotting down all the small points which happened during the build-up of battle but wastes it when everything comes down to the end battle which looks very similar and shoddy.
FINAL VERDICT - 1.5 / 5
Skip it, Skip Pati Patni Aur Woh, skip everything up this week.