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Set in medieval Rajasthan, Queen Padmavati is married to a noble king and they live in a prosperous fortress with their subjects until an ambitious Sultan hears of Padmavati's beauty and forms an obsessive love for the Queen of Mewar.
Thankfully, Padukone's Padmavati gets to be more than a pretty face in the second half of the film as she rallies the Rajput women in the lead-up to the stirring climax, which is masterfully handled by Bhansali.
Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's latest period film is an embarrassing display of Hindu nationalism and male machismo. Not even the grandeur and refined spectacle for which Bhansali is known can cloak its shameless denigration of Muslims.
Padmaavat's sumptuous palace interiors and classically inspired music lend elegance to the film without overpowering it - a welcome shift in tone from the director of the lavish but uneven Devdas and Saawariya.