KAMAL AMROHI is an Indian cinematic auteur and he made four movies in 40 years as he was a 'perfectionist' and this was his last labour of love ,where he indulges in a fervently passionate and visually stunning biopic of the MUSLIM queen from 1136-1140,who is the first woman sultan in Islamic history to be officially proclaimed and recognised as an official sovereign of sultanate of Delhi .
The movie initially gives the viewer a dramatic prelude of the reign of SULTAN ILTUMUSH -[PRADEEP KUMAR ]-who is aware that his daughter ,RAZIA is a brilliant administrator and warrior and he leaves his throne to the turkish princess rather than his sybaritic and corrupt son ,much to the chagrin of his queen shah Turkmen [Veena ].
This portion of the movie is brilliantly rendered with powerful performances and literary dialogues in pristine URDU ,while it is revealed that Iltumush entrusts both his will and the mentorship of his daughter Razia to his loyal African slave warrior,and military chief YAKUT-played in machismo bravaura by DHARMENDRA .
But the divine and outrageously bewitching queen is played by HEMA MALINI ,who as RAZIA steals every scene and the whole movie away from the rest of the crew as she both struggles to obtain her rightful status as ruling queen in a male dominated milieu while she also finds true love ,respect and a profound loyalty for her formidable ally and confidante -Yakut .
The racial divide here is subtly captured as the White Turkish Muslim aristocracy do not approve of her choice in bestowing her highest favours on a Black Abyssinian slave warrior .
This leads to a clash between the great female ruler and the establishment and a human tragedy ,but it is the splendour of the sophisticated set pieces adorned with exquisite colours and ingenious cinematography which makes this a unique historical epic adorned with the best musical soundtrack from the Eighties composed by Khayyam ,and the classical script in celebrated linguistics is peerlessly rendered in flawless Urdu by a great cast .
Hema malini acts with a subtle flourish capturing the awe and dignity of a great woman with an excellent grasp of the dialect and the nuanced narrative where the drama is underplayed and a glance is used to express a whole sequence .
The royal dignity is rational as this is not a typical love affair, but a rather platonic and intellectual bonding between two intellectual soul-mates ,and the musical score by 'Khayyam 'penned by two great 'Urdu'poets, is the phenomenal highlight of the beatific and poignant narrative ,which enhances this historical epic to a philosophical treatise ,particularly the phenomenal song 'ae dil e nadan sung by 'Lata Mangeshkar' ,and the iconically metaphorical and raw 'aye zanjeer ki jankar 'in the uniquely distinctive vocals of 'Kabban Mirza' ,are masterpieces of audio-visual enrapture, which fascinate me with their content audio-visually persistently in an ever green mode.
The visual artistry is combined with the technical wizardry that KAMAL AMROHI alone can bring to the silver screen in a feast of subdued colours with a surreal yet exotic atmosphere created with the aid of elaborately designed and painstakingly constructed sets and a crew of thousands dressed in the most authentic costumes represents the era in Islamic history from Eleventh century .
This is a rapturous historical lesson about a revolutionary female icon in early Islamic history which has a hypnotic atmosphere and it reflects the visual grandeur of the exotic Delhi sultanate sparing no expense or detail with the gorgeous Hema Malini giving one of her most subtly authentic dramatic performances .
HEMA MALINI --RAZIA SULTAN -