Posted in featured, Food, Restaurant, Review

Que Rico – Spanish cuisine in Lahore!

A chance meeting with a friend led us to having had lunch today at Que Rico, the Spanish restaurant in Lahore. Ever since my return from Spain last year, I’ve been wanting to try out Que Rico, just to savour the Spanish delicacies, aromas and flavours.

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Que Rico is located where Yoglicious, The Urban Cafe used to be. We met the man and brains behind Que Rico, Taha Hammed, who shared with us his desire to bring the Spanish cuisine to us in Lahore. There were some teething problems, as he shared, but he has everything under control.

The general ambience was rather welcoming, and we were given a table next to the window. The weather was pleasant and we could have had sat outside, but opted for inside. We were greeted rather warmly and were looked after well by the servers and the floor managers (there were two!)

We were served a welcome bread basket (some delicious, crisp bread) and mango shots, which were fun to have but clearly over-hyped.

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The welcome bread was actually pleasant and salsa dip on the side was just perfect
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The mango shots were just a hype– nothing Spanish about it. 

 

I insisted in the Tapas, and while they were somewhat different than what I had experienced in Barcelona, I was still excited. We got the Croquettes and Chicken Taco.

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Croquettes- a miss! 
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Chicken Tacos- a hit!

The croquettes were basically mushrooms wrapped in a batter friend potato cover. It tasted just about all right, but nothing that would set it apart as distinctly Spanish in its flavours. The Chicken Taco, however, were a huge hit, and I fell in love with them. The right amount of salsa, guacamole and chicken just took me back to La Rambla in Barcelona.

The drinks were Passion fruit for me and Chilli Ginger for my friend. My drink was served in a beaker (that prompted shaving a conversation about using beakers in chemistry classes in school) into which the server poured in passion fruit. The beaker was served inside a bowl that had dry ice emanating from it. A gimmick which was used to keep the drink cool. The Chilli Ginger was a breezy drink that hit the spot.

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The passion fruit drink was brought in this beaker, which itself was placed in a bowl with dry ice
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Chilli Ginger drink 

For the main course, we opted for the Duck on a bed of quinoa. It was a very daring move on our part to go for the duck, and so we did. Sadly, the duck meat wasn’t soft at all, as mention in the menu. The owner Taha later explained how the duck is Brough in from Germany and kept in storage, and it all depends on how well the cook cooks it: overcooks or undercooks. In our case, it was overcooked. He profusely apologised and invited us again next time to have a better experience. The quinoa was much much better so we ended op finishing the quinoa.

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Sadly, the duck meat wasn’t soft and the owner bravely admitted that to us 

 

The churros were served to us to complimentary, and it wasn’t anywhere near the actual churros I had in Madrid– it looked the same but tasted rather different.

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Churros were tough and inedible

All in all, Que Rico is a brave on its part to enter the Lahore’s food market. There ‘s a lot of competition out there, and surviving as a Spanish only restaurant may prove to be a tough battle. However, Taha, and the other managers were adamant to succeed, and shared with us their future plans. We wished them all the best, but in all honestly, I don’t see myself going back there, mainly because when I am paying 2500 rupees for my meal, I want something worthy out of it. I could have easily gone down to a local Pakistani restaurant and got a better tasting meal for much less amount.

Having said that, I wish Que Rico lots of luck!

Posted in featured, Food, Restaurant, Review

Ganache Cafe — Zero Panache

Upon the invitation to try out a new cafe, I tagged along with my friend to try out the newly opened Ganache Cafe at Mall 1. I had heard about Ganache before, who was quite well known in the Lahore market for their delectable desserts. Even though they somehow never publicized themselves like the other more prominent bakeries out there, Ganache Cafe seemed to have made its arrival with a bang right amidst other popular eateries.

While walking up to the cafe, it was clearly obvious how packed the other restaurants were on a Thursday evening. Ganache Cafe was eerily empty, but we still went ahead and decided to give it a try.

01 Exterior

The layout of the cafe is exactly like The Deli and The Pantry. It wasn’t a very welcoming entrance and felt slightly cold and unwelcoming. We made our way down to the basement level, where they had placed the salads and desserts on either side. The menu isn’t extensive and after hearing the recommendation from the floor manager, we opted for the Risotto and Shepherd’s Pie. “They are our best seller items,” said the manager.

For drinks, we ordered Raspberry Lemonade and Fresh Juice. We had to pay the bill initially, which turned out to be Rs. 2195/-.

As we made our way up, we wondered why there aren’t more people. We had the whole cafe to ourselves. So we took out our laptops and started working on our assignments. Soon enough, a group of 3 people came and sat on the table behind us. Thank God, we said, otherwise this would have been a very sad experience being the only one in the cafe.

It took about 20 minutes for the food to arrive, and sadly enough, none of the dishes looked like what they are supposed to look like. The risotto looked like porridge, and the shepherd’s pie didn’t look like a pie at all. “Let’s taste it. Looks can be deceiving!” The risotto was slightly bland, tastewise, and it came nowhere near a proper risotto. The rice just seemed to be one big porridge-fest and didn’t really have any taste to it. I know it may seem unfair to compare, but when you are paying a hefty price for your meal, you expect to get what you asked for.

08 Risotto

The shepherd’s pie was just minced meat with potatoes and cheese. It had no taste and we weren’t sure why we were still eating. I’ve had my share of shepherd’s pie in other places and countries (and even made some on my own) but this pie at Ganache was another level altogether, not in a good way.

09 Shepherds Pie

 

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Just check out what a real shepherd’s pie should look like. sigh. 

 

By the time my friend was done with his meal, it was only then, did they bring his drink— as it turns out they mistakenly delivered his drink to the other group of people sitting behind us. Just the fact they mixed up drinks in a cafe where only two tables were occupied showed the poor customer service, I must say.

The Fresh Juice was basically Shezan Mango juice mixed with Club Soda. It was obvious as we’ve had enough Shezan Mango juice to taste its distinct flavors. My raspberry lemonade was basically Vimto with Club Soda, which fared slightly better.

Since we were so put off by the food, we opted to have desserts from The Deli, which really hit the spot for us. “We must come here to The Deli next time!” was our common sentiment.

Given that this is a new cafe, we decided to give it a chance as all new places go through teething problems, but little things, such as not setting up the table properly, late delivery of napkins, mixing up drinks, among other things just didn’t cut it well. I felt like telling them all to give me a chance to come and train you all so customers can feel more welcome at the cafe. Ganache Cafe should be given a chance, since the competition is tough out there, and perhaps this is just a soft launch. I noticed the customers at the table behind us had left half the chocolate cake and half the pizza uneaten. They were complaining about it, so that only reaffirmeded our own experience.

Oh, we couldn’t make sense of the Abida Parveen painting in a cafe like this. Totally out of theme.

12 Painting didn't fit in with the scene

All in all, Ganache Cafe is a miss for now. Perhaps, if they act on customers’ feedback, they can improve the quality of their food and retain their customers.

Posted in featured, Movie, Uncategorized

Over Coming Fears via #Xdubai #Zipline #Xline

It was in 2016 when I first heard about the XDubai, a group that advocated extreme sports and stunts in Dubai. It was the kind of thing I had always wanted to get into: jump off skyscrapers, ride BMX bike up and down the crazy routes, and ultimately skydive! On my recent trip to Dubai, the Xline caught my eye, and it turns out that this zipline is the world’s longest urban zipline.

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Just reading these statistics got my heart racing! 

I finally paid for my ticket (it cost me a whopping And 650/ $177) and showed up at the Dubai Marina Mall. There were about 10 other people, and either you could Go Solo or do the Double. Since I was on my own, I was paired up with another guest who was going solo. The excitement and the nervousness had begun to set in when they weighed me in– if you are over 100kgs, you cannot do the stunt.

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The took us to the building in their minivan. At this point, you are absolutely forbidden to take any recording devices with you. I wish I had my cell phone to capture the anticipation that was getting to all of us. Once we got to Al Amwaj building, we took the elevator to the 44th floor, from where we had to climb another four floors up.

So we were standing on the 48th floor, which makes it 170 meters above ground. There air up here was so different from down below. I could almost feel my legs giving away, as if I were standing on a shaky ground. The views from up here were no doubt gorgeous and something I mentally registered. However, my mind was focused on the ground below– I am literally standing 48 floors high!!

I chickened away from being the first one to go, so another group went first. I was second in line. They asked me to move forward to the main prep area, where they suited me up with a padded jacket and wrapped up all the straps behind me.

A guy was there with a camera who recorded what I was feeling at this point. I didn’t have any words but was just wondering to myself why the hell I signed up for this. What if I fall? What if I die? What if I fall and break and my body and don’t die and suffer the pain? I shared my concerns with the guy and he laughed it off and told me how super safe their equipments are. I had no choice to back out and so mentally prepared myself for this task.

Finally, I was strapped in, with my helmet and go pro camera attached. I was asked to lie down on one of those stretcher bed you see at the hospitals. I ay down on my chest while they strapped the zipline behind my back. I had no idea what was going on, as all I could see was the marina in front of me. Shit! I am about go down this zipline for an entire minute.

All I could tell myself at this point was how I need to conquer my fears. I need to do this. If I can do this, I can do everything. Everything I need is on the other side of fear. I need to tackle this fear, this unknown. I need to push myself. I need to defy my limits. I am a free spirited person, who refuses to stay put in a box. I need to feel this freedom. I need to scream all the way down!

 

 

“Are you ready??!!” screamed the guy. “NO!” I screamed back! He laughed some more. “Don’t worry! You will love it” he shouted back at me. The stretcher bed was lowered and now I was literally hanging from the rope line. I was still thinking about what if I fall. In a matter of few seconds, I changed my mindset– come on Mansour, this is an experience of a lifetime! you are about to zipline over the marina. take in this moment. enjoy this moment. it’s about conquering your fears. 

Ready, set go! My heart was literally pumping out my chest. I was instructed to hold my arms in till I cross over the edge of the building. My breathing had become heavy. I didn’t even discuss with anyone who will get what when I die. I felt like as if my own body was leaving my physical body. I felt lighter already.

The second I was released, I flung forwards, as if someone pushed me from the edge of the building. My screaming had begun. I could see the parapet of the building, and then the roads down below. Shit. That’s so far down. I could see cars and tiny little people. But I was also flying fast forwards. The air blowing into my face was strong and I could feel my speed increasing. I am supposed to go from 0 to 60km in 2.5 seconds.

The sensation of flying overtook my feeling of being scared. I was literally flying in the air. I felt so free, as if I were flying away from the world. The feelings turned rather quickly from fear into feeling so free and blissful. It was quiet up here too. A few seconds later, I spread my arms across and I was literally flying.

The entire experience last about a minute, and I cannot tell you what an experience it is. Flying over Dubai Marina, watching the water, the yachts, the people down below from up above was an incredible moment to register. It brought my entire life into perspective. Everything seems so petty and little– I was looking at the bigger picture on my life. I was realising how I needed to stay focused on he bigger picture and avoid the petty things. Yes, all of this happened in a matter of seconds.

 

I finally landed, and all I could feel was super accomplished. I conquered my fear. I wish I could have done it again. It’s incredible to be able to experience such stunts. It’s amazing to see how far one can push their bodies, mentally and physically. Overcoming fear is one of the biggest hurdle we all face in our daily lives, and just by overcoming our fears can push into directions we never knew we could go to.

I for one know I am a completely different person with a renewed perspective on life. All because I was able to conquer my fears.

 

Posted in featured, Food, Restaurant, Review

Sumo- A 失敗 (Shippai) Japanese Experience

After several months of waiting, I finally managed to try out Sumo, the Japanese fusion eatery located in DHA. Situated snuggly above Mandarin Kitchen, I was expecting to be blown away after reading rave reviews of Sumo on various online food groups and in Sunday magazines.

 

01 Exterior
Sumo is on first floor, above Mandarin Kitchen

 

Having arrived at 11pm, after having attended a Qawaali musical night out, the restaurant welcomed us in warmly and gave us great seating next to the front window.

For a few seconds, I felt like as if I were sitting in a restaurant somewhere in London. That feeling was merely a mirage as everything went downhill from here on.

We were given a welcome drink, which was basically Perrier and 7-up, with a lot of sugar in it. It didn’t really hit the spot as we were coming in from the cold weather outside. Maybe this welcome drink will work in the scorching summer heat.

10 Welcome drink

 

08 Menu
They go back as far as 1990, and aim to provide a “truly contemporary Japanese experience.”

 

From the small plates menu, we ordered the Edamame and Chili Calamari Salad. The Edamame, I ordered purely with the aim to relive my sushi experience at Sushi Samba in London, and yes, I truly did enjoy these Japanese beans. The Calamari salad, however, was a very average affair. Nothing to write home about.

 

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Edamame- My fav thing all evening!
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Calamari Salad

 

From the Sushi menu, we ordered Angus Beef Tataki and Crunchy Maki Tempura. On their own, both these dish were satisfactory and we enjoyed them. They tasted just fine but didn’t have the wow factor that one expects with the hefty prices. However, if we start comparing these dish to the sushi we’ve had from proper, authentic Japanese restaurants, then they fail miserably. I was reminded that Sumo is a Japanese-Fusion restaurant, so hence the taste not being entirely authentic.

 

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Crunchy Maki Tempura

 

 

14 Angus Beef Tataki
Angus Beef Tataki

 

The real disaster happened when the Hibachi Chicken arrived. Bland, tasteless and full of oil, this dish was merely inedible. I had it because I was hungry, otherwise, I think I would have not eaten it at all. It made me think whether the restaurant was recycling their leftovers or not (mind you, it was almost midnight by the time the main course arrived).

15 Hibachi CHicken

What could go worse? The complimentary dessert. It baffles me that the eatery would actually serve their customers with a fruit trifle, which is as Pakistani as a dessert you can get. Not good. For a restaurant like Sumo, that claims to provide a Japanese experience, this dessert totally ruins the Japanese experience.

 

16 Complimentary dessert
The Ultimate Pakistani Dessert in a Japanese Restaurant! Hah!

 

The total bill for two persons came out to be Rs. 6345/- A rather pricey place to be for average food at the most.

 

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Comment Card– They didn’t give any option below average! Sigh!

 

I know I may seem a little harsh here. As my friend and I were recalling our sushi experiences in restaurants in the US and UK, we felt like Sumo failed on many levels.

So here’s the deal: if you are used to having proper sushi from eateries abroad (for me personally, my sushi experience at Sushi Samba was more than awesome!), then Sumo will disappoint you, and if your sushi experience is limited to Pakistan (Wasabi, Fujiyama etc), then you will like Sumo. As for me, this was my first and last visit.

Sumo, your experience has simply been “shippai” -ied.

Posted in Food, Restaurant

Cafe Beirut- From Lebanon to Lahore (almost!)

One of my favorite cuisines in the world is Lebanese food! I cannot stop raving about their mezze– hummus, cheese sambousaks, fatoush, grilled halloumi cheese and the list goes on. Having lived in the Middle East has certainly made my taste buds accustomed to the Lebanese food!

So it was with much delight that a friend invited me to try out the newly opened Cafe Beirut in Gulberg. I was excited no doubt and was looking forward to having some authentic Lebanese food. It helps that there is a chef from Lebanon who is handling the kitchen, so we were guaranteed to get authentic Lebanese food, and not some Lebanese- Pakistani version!

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Since it was a weeknight, we had no issues with parking, and so thankfully we didn’t have to struggle to look for parking space. The front of the restaurant is somewhat inviting, and the rooftop area looked welcoming– that’s where I wanted to head. The interiors of the eatery didn’t feel as warm as some of the Lebanese restaurants I’ve frequented in the Middle East– the cliched colored hanging lanterns and paintings of Arabs were adorned on the wall. The steps leading up had Multani tiles placed on the riser (totally not Middle Eastern design!)

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Having said that, we got a great table on the rooftop and the manager was kind enough to arrange for the heater right next to our table. This was perfect as we sat there for the next two hours, catching up over some rather delectable food.

Here’s what we ordered:

Hummus, Fatoush, Baba Ghanouj, Cheese Fatayers, Meat Shawerma and Chicken Shawarma.

 

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Hummus
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Fatoush and Baba Ghanouj
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Cheese Fatayer

 

In short, I wouldn’t say that it’s the best Lebanese I’ve had, but being in Lahore, this is probably the closest I’ve been to having authentic Lebanese food. The hummus had just the right taste and texture, which was so good I was munching on it throughout the meal. Baba Ghanouj was a good attempt too, but something was lacking its taste- so that was left aside. The warm bread they brought along with the mezze was good, and it’s advisable you eat them bread immediately for they start to go hard once they cool down. At a moment like this, I did miss the soft Arabic bread that is usually served in Lebanese restaurants. Fatoush was also not bad, but it had spices that suit the Pakistani palate– I wish they had stuck to their original Lebanese flavors.

I thoroughly enjoyed my chicken shawarma, which again, was almost as close to the shawarmas I would eat in Dubai. I absolutely loved the white garlic/ mayo sauce they served with the shawarma. The meat/ lamb shawarma was something I wasn’t a fan of. There was just something different about the lamb, not in a pleasant way,  that made it less tasty.

 

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Chicken Shawarma Wrap
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Lamb Shawarma Wrap

 

The ambiance of the rooftop was great, which we really enjoyed and didn’t realize in that moment that we had been there for a little over two hours. They served us complimentary kahva- Sulaimania Tea– and that was indeed the most authentic item on the menu. It really sent me back to Turkey actually!

 

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Sulaimania Tea– just the perfect tea!

 

All in all, I would Cafe Beirut is probably the closest you can get to authentic Lebanese in Lahore. I applaud the Lebanese chef to provide us Pakistanis with genuine Lebanese food, and since this is a new eatery, I am sure they will take in constructive feedback from their guests and improve on the taste of the food.

The total bill- I just had to ask my host- would have probably been about Rs. 3000/- for two persons.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Articles, Book Fiction, Book Non Fiction

Liberty Books Blogger!

Finally! It happened! It’s official!

After a series of intense emails and phone conversations, I have been shortlisted to join Liberty Books small but exclusive band of Book Bloggers! This is very exciting as I was looking for a larger platform on which to share my book reviews. Liberty Books have been super kind to take me on to blog for them.

The best part? I will be given complimentary books and giveaways as part of the deal! How exciting is that!?

As it is, there are only two books stores in Lahore that I frequent a lot: Liberty Books and Readings. I also like The Last Word a lot, but shopping from there is an expensive business– and I stick to getting a graphic novel or an exclusive book when it’s not available anywhere else.

I am fond of Liberty Books because of the Loyalty Card program they have introduced. I collect points when I purchase books, and then I can redeem my points to get more books! In addition to this, I get all my magazine subscriptions from them as they provide very timely and speedy service!

In Lahore, they are located at Emporium Mall (Pop Up Store) and at Packages Mall, and can also be found online here. Liberty Books will also be seen at the upcoming Lahore International Book Fair being held from Feb 1st to Feb 5th, 2018.

As of now, I am in a moment of #gratitude!

Cheer!

 

Posted in Food, Restaurant

Che-Won: Korean Food in Lahore at its Best!

It had been more than four years since I went to Udon House, a small Korean eatery that had opened up by a cute Korean couple. The woman would prepare and cook the meals herself in the open plan kitchen, and I remember at that time how popular it had become with the Lahoris.

Last night, I went there again, though this time the two major difference are the name change- Che Won- and the fact it’s not a little eatery anymore as they have expanded the dining area.

Situated on the ground floor of Hotel One on Mehmood Kasuri road, there was a massive issue with finding parking space, but I didn’t mind since the food more than made up for the hassle.

Che Won

Che Won is simply a no hassle, no frills kind of restaurant. The menu is simple and straightforward and really only two major items that everyone seem to order. Right after we ordered our meals, they places two small bowls, one with cucumbers and the other with veggies covered with Korean spices.

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For starters, we got the veggie pancakes, which felt and tasted something akin to our omelettes, minus the Pakistani spices, and instead filled with Korean spices and mushrooms.

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I ordered the Bulgogi, which is basically under-cut beef that is marinated “to enhance its flavour and tenderness” and is eventually pan-cooked, and is served with rice. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed my meal. It has been literally months since I’ve enjoyed good quality beef that’s been cooked extremely well. I was able to finish my entire meal without feeling sick or overwhelmed.

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Bulgogi

My friend ordered the Bibimbab, which is apparently a very popular Korean dish. This is basically rice, topped with various vegetables, mushrooms, beef and fried egg, mixed with Korean chilli paste in a bowl. He added the soy sauce to it and mixed it all up.

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Che Won is a perfect place to have a quick, decent, good quality Korean meal with no frills and hassles that come along with eating at other restaurants.

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Please zoom in and read the details on the right side about idea behind the Korean Mask…..it’s used for exorcism purposes! Gasp!

We didn’t order any starters as the single starter and two main courses was just about right to fill our stomachs. Total bill for two person worked out to be at Rs. 2700/-

Posted in Bollywood, Movie, Review

Padmavaati

My biggest fear while watching Padmaavati was that it will be like Bhansali’s previous outing Bajirao Mastani. Both movies are based on historical characters, set in 13th century or so, revolving around a love triangle set in an era where matters are solved through battles. My fears were wiped away as soon as Padmaavati started and I knew I was in for an exciting ride into the times and lives of this woman known as Padmavaati.

Before I get into the movie, I did some research and it’s interesting to see where the source material for the movie came from: an ancient Sufi poem, Padmavaat, written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540. The epic poem revolves around Rani Padmini, Queen of Chitoor, who is wife to Ratan Sen, and Sultan of Delhi, Allaudin Khilji, who goes out of his way to get Queen Padmini. This is the basis for the movie. There is a lot of debate of how far the truth is, and allegedly the two men are indeed historical characters, but it is still not sure whether Queen Padmini actually existed or not.

Why the controversy? Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has indeed taken some liberties with the characters, for which he had to face a lot of protests and uproar from the Indians. One, the Rajputs are very upset for glamourizing the role of Khilji, the Muslim tyrant who desires Padmaavati; two, the women are very upset for making the movie more about the love angle rather than focusing on Padmavaati’s ultimate sacrifice; and three, general historical inaccuracies, and oh yes, Queen Padmavaati never really danced in front of so many men and women, as is shown in the movie.

Padmavaati is a grand, opulent film with the typical Bhansali’s excesses: huge sets, hanging chandeliers, royal costumes and jewelry, swords and shields, large forts and huge cinematic landscapes on which battles are fought. There is a lot to feast on visually—with each nose ring and necklaces, to the embroidery on the costumes and head gears, to the decorations of the rooms.

In the hands of a competent director, every scene is a piece of art- I mean I could easily take lots of pics and frame the scenes. The pacing of the movie works really well, and surprising moves at a decent pace to keep us audience engaged. The script worked well, the dialogue was not heavy handed—it was understandable enough for someone like me (otherwise I rely on subtitles in movies with heavy Urdu!)

The only part one starts to lose interest are the few moments before the explosive finale. It does tend to drag a little, and one song Khali Bali could have been shortened, or removed altogether. But it doesn’t ruin the movie watching experience.

Having said that, I cannot help but praise all three main actors: Ranveer Singh as Allaudin Khilji, Deepika Padukone as Padmavaati and Shahid Kapoor as Ratan Sen.

ranveer-singh-padmavati-7591Out of the three, Ranveer Singh comes out the strongest, for his role is the meatiest one. He plays a Muslim tyrant, who is hungry for power and wants to be the Sultan of Delhi. He is told about Padmavaati, and is hell bent on ‘seeing’ her. It is his desire for her that forces him to camp outside her fort for six months and striking a deal eventually to get to see her, with some disastrous consequences. Singh brings his usual energy to the character, and does an extremely incredible job of humanising an otherwise vile character. There are moments we hate him, and there are moments we feel for him- which is a trademark of an accomplished actor. Ranveer Singh has gone on record to say that essaying the role of Khilji, a character with such dark and evil shades, had a negative impact on him in real life, and actually had to work hard to come out of it to regain a sane mind. Singh is a brilliant, dedicated actor and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins all the major acting awards.

Deepika is not far behind in terms of strong acting, and I was worried she might do something similar to her role in Bajirao Mastani, and thankfully she doesn’t.

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Her eyes, her facial expressions, her body language are all so masterfully handled. She is currently my favorite Bollywood actress and with this role, she has another feather in her cap.

Shahid Kapoor, who is another brilliant actor, does a fine job of playing Ratan Sen, even though his role isn’t as fleshed out as Khilji’s.

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Despite that, Shahid Kapoor stands out in some of the more intense scenes, as well as the battle scenes. I was reminded of Shahid Kapoor’s role in another brilliant film of his Kaminey.

(On a completely different side note, both Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor have made me set some serious health and fitness goals– they have the perfect bodies with six packs and all, which I have noticed Bhansali loves to show in his movies! There are some homoerotic moments between Khilji and the male eunuch which had overtones of male bonding, including one where both of them are in the same bathtub).

I will also mention two other characters that stood out: Mehrunnisa (Aditi Rao Hydari) who is Khilji’s wife, and Malik Kafur (Jim Sarbh), a male eunuch who is Khilji’s right hand man. Brilliant acting all round.

The songs were adequate and Ghoomar actually stood out the most, with its mesmerizing dance sequences and music. The action sequences were fun to watch, especially when the arrows are shot and the catapults are used. There have been some complaints of some shoddy CGI work and unnecessary use of 3D, which wasn’t really an issue for us since it was 2D for us (yes, there are some moment when CGI is indeed shoddy, but at the moment it didn’t really matter for the movie was intense!)

Over all, Padmavaat will be a film that many will remember in years to come and will always be referred to as that definitive film on love, war, valor and sacrifice.

Which brings me to the finale—OMG! I was blown away. It is an ending that will stay with you for a while after the movie ends. It was such an unexpected ending, I didn’t even imagine it would end like this. The entire end sequence, with its loud background noise and ongoing battle, this one little sequence involving Deepika just tugs at you emotionally.

Bhansali and cast and crew—a job extremely well done!

4.5 out of 5

Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor
Rating: PG
Synopsis:  A period drama, the story unfolds as Allaudin Khilji, a Muslim tyrant, longs for Queen Padmavati, and the ensuing battles he faces with her husband Ratan Sen, set in 13th Century India.
Running time: 163 mins
Seen at: Cinestar, Xinhua Mall, Lahore