Bhansali Productions and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures’ super hit historical fiction Padmaavat (2018) features the song Khalibali. Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the movie was produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Sudhanshu Vats and Ajit Andhare. The movie starred Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapur, Ranveer Singh, Raza Murad, Aditi Rao Hyadri, Anupriya Goenka, Aayam Mehta, etc.
Circa: 13th century. Place: Afghanistan. Jallaluddin Khilji (Raza Murad) wants to overturn the throne of Delhi. Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh) is his nephew and captures a whole ostrich when Jalaluddin had requested only a feather for his daughter Mehrunnisa (Aditi Rao Hyadri). For doing this favor, he asks Mehrunnisa’s hand in marriage. On the night of their wedding, he is sexually engaged with another woman and kills the courtier, the witness of the act. Mehrunnisa is informed of the incident and she is horrified, at the turn of events. Jallaluddin is successful in overthrowing the Delhi rule and sends Alauddin to deter a Mongol attack, in which the younger man is successful. Alauddin turns out to be an ambitious and ruthless plunderer and womanizer. He kills the Sultan and usurps the Delhi throne.
On the other hand, in Sinhala (Sri Lanka of today) Princess Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) mistakes the Rajput King Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapur) for a deer while hunting in the forest and wounds him accidentally. She takes him to the nearest Buddha Vihar and treats him until recovery. Maharawal has traveled all the way to Sinhala to get some rare pearls for his first wife Nagmati (Anupriya Goenka). Maharawal and Padmavati fall in love, getting married. The newlyweds travel to Chittor in Mewar and the royal priest Raghav Chetan (Aayam Mehta) blesses them. Most of the people in the palace and the kingdom accept Padmavati as the queen.
Soon, Raghav Chetan is caught watching the king and the queen during an intimate moment and is banished from the kingdom. He goes straight to Allauddin and tells him about Padmavati’s beauty. The mere description mesmerizes Alauddin. The Sultan sends an offer to Maharawal to become a vassal king to him. But, the self-respecting Rajput declines the offer. Despite the discouragement of Mehrunnisa, Alauddin declares war against Chittor. Maharawal is prepared for the attack and defends the city, enthusistically. He first informs all the citizens living around the fort to come and stay inside it for protection and to avoid hostages. He also makes other arrangements. They celebrate Diwali despite the knife of uncertainty hanging over their heads.
Soon, the other Rajputs refuse to assist Chittor in fighting the invader. Thus, Maharawal decides that Chittor would defend themselves on their own. At night, he and his soldiers burn the tents of the opposite camp. There is unrest among Allauddin’s soldiers. He takes his time to speak to them but eventually convinces them to continue fighting. The festival of Holi arrives and Maharawal becomes a little carefree since it will be a beginning of the summer season and the invaders would not be able to survive through it in the desert, according to him. Despite the warning of his deputy Gora Singh (Ujjwal Chopra), Maharawal goes to his young queen Padmavati to celebrate Holi, in a casual manner.
Allauddin decides to visit the fort and asks the permission of Maharawal to be his guest. After accepting the royal hospitality alone, Allauddin requests Maharawal to be his guest at the camp. I was finding the entire goings-on very boring. Then, things began to move fast. Having seen Padmavati through a smoke wall, Allauddin gets enamored by her. He kidnaps Maharawal from his camp and puts down a condition for Padmavati to come to Delhi for the safe return of the Maharawal. Padmavati agrees to it. But, she also puts down some terms of her own; like she would come with several maids, the death of Raghav Chetan and that she would only meet him after the Maharawal returns home. Allauddin accepts all the conditions and is busy merrymaking and singing this song, as Padmavati travels to Delhi.
Song – Khalibali:
A M Turaz penned the lyrics of Khalibali. This song is a Sanjay Leela Bhansali composition. The tune of this song is vaguely similar to Malhari… from Bajirao-Mastani (2015).
This song expresses the man’s desire to be with the girl. He thinks he has been successful in winning her. The man is waiting for her to join him, excitedly. It appears that he has even lost his sleep over it.
The cinematography is by Sudeep Chatterjee. Dance choreography is by Kruti Mahesh.
The video opens with Ranveer Singh menacingly rotating his head. The music slowly begins and he starts to dance in tune with it. When he begins to jump, his turban shakes, hilariously. I think it was a little loose.
Ranveer Singh removes the turban and places it on a pair of hands, ready to take it away. Several male dancers accompany him in the dance. The dim lighting is very apt for the negative character of Ranveer Singh. The men including Ranveer Singh perform some steps together.
Their co-ordination is perfect. We can understand that the dancers might have practiced a lot. Ranveer Singh slaps a dancer while he sings and dances. The choreography is on the fiercer side, going with the requirement of the movie.
Soon, the song comes to a close with the music rising to a crescendo and the video also ends with arrows being shot at Ranveer Singh. The video has had 150 million views. The tune is no doubt, very catchy. But, the lyrics are nothing to write home about.
Shivam Pathak and Shail Hada have sung the playback and Ranveer Singh and others have the onscreen presence.
Khalibali, which follows the Holi song in the movie, is a fusion. But still, the typically Bollywood element is still present. The song and the artists are good. The video is watchable for the same.