Samrat Prithviraj (2022) Review: The Lion Of India

When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say “Why me?” Just say, “Try me!” Watch the heroism of the lionhearted Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan in Samrat Prithviraj, as he faces the tyrant Sultan Muhammad Ghori in an epic rivalry for power, and pride.

Featuring; Center: Akshay Kumar as Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan; Left: Sonu Sood as Chand Bardai; Right: Sanjay Dutt as Kaka Kanha in Samrat Prithviraj

Samrat Prithviraj (2022): The Lion Of India Trailer:

The Good:

Terrific Screenplay

Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s screenplay in Samrat Prithviraj was gripping. Samrat Prithviraj is a historical-action drama like none other! The screenplay is loaded with intense battleground scenes, hand-to-hand combats, sword fights, and traditional weaponry combats which are for sure to thrill you to the brim.

Akshay Kumar as Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan, and Manushi Chhillar as Princess Sanyogita in Samrat Prithviraj

Besides the action-laden screenplay of Samrat Prithviraj, the plot which is based on Prithviraj’s court poet Chand Bardai’s poem “Prithviraj Raso” is exceptional. I mean; what a story! If you are not aware about the charismatic personality, and brave deeds of this daredevil warrior emperor, after watching this movie you are sure to remember him forever! The story portrays Prithviraj’s morality, bravery, and determination which will have a huge impact on your minds. His pursuit for his love Sanyogita, and his morals to protect the good and destroy the evil will impress you, and you will feel respect for this brave emperor who in spite of being made blind by Muhammad Ghori, fought with three lions at a time, and in the end with Ghori himself.

Manav Vij as Sultan Muhammad Ghori in Samrat Prithviraj

The screenplay of Samrat Prithviraj includes some mind-blowing and powerful dialogues which will get engraved in your minds as well as hearts once you hear them. Some of the dialogues are intensely patriotic, and are bound to make the hearts of every Indian beat with patriotism. One such epic dialogue from the movie goes, “Apni Zindagi Ke Badle Main…Main Sultan Ko Vatan Ki Mutthi Bhar Mitti Bhi Na Du” which means, “In exchange of my life, I won’t give Muhammad Ghori even an ounce of land from my motherland”. Second dialogue goes, Valmiki Hain To Shri Ram Hain, Aur Chand Hain To Prithviraj Chauhan Hain!” which means, “If Saint Valmiki is there, Lord Rama is also there. If Chand Bardai is there, then Prithviraj Chauhan is surely there!” The third dialogue goes, “Dharam Ke Liye Jeeya Hoon, Dharam Ke Liye Maroonga” which means, “For the sake of duty I live, and for the sake of duty I die!” And the last epic dialogue is, “Jiske Peeche Sau Sir, Sau Samanth, Watan Aur Vachan Ke Liye Sar Kaatne Ko Taiyaar Ho…Woh Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan Hota Hain” which means, “The one for whom hundreds of soldiers are ready to protect their promises and motherland, he is known as Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan!”

Sonu Sood as Chand Bardai in Samrat Prithviraj

After reading these lines of dialogue, you will surely agree with me about how intense, and powerful the screenplay of Prithviraj Chauhan is. Besides, you won’t want to miss out on the scene where Prithviraj Chauhan is captured and blinded by Muhammad Ghori, and he goes one-on-one with three lions at Ghori’s arena! Prithviraj Chauhan was no ordinary Emperor. He lived for his pride and dignity and was one of the bravest warriors that Indian history has ever seen.

The Editing

The editing and scene placements were aptly performed by Aarif Sheikh which ensured understandability. A period action drama like Samrat Prithviraj involves a lot of narration and storytelling. In spite of this enormous plot, the editor has successfully kept the runtime as compact as possible. The movie runs for 2 hours and 15 minutes, which I believe does justice to its immense script and screenplay. There are absolutely no slow patches in the screenplay except for a few songs which most Bollywood movies have. This historical drama is for sure to enthrall you with every passing moment.

Sanjay Dutt as Kaka Kanha in Samrat Prithviraj

Enchanting Cinematography And Visuals

If you ever wished to watch a movie that is a VFX masterpiece, I suggest you go for Samrat Prithviraj. This movie is loaded with VFX and CGI from top to bottom. The backgrounds comprise battlefields, traditional weapons, animals like horses, elephants, and lions, and beautiful artistic palaces, everything is computer-generated. In fact, this entire movie has been shot inside various studios. However, the cost of the sets was immense, and this made the movie’s budget go up to a whopping 300 Crore INR!

I must say, the cinematography and visual effects in Samrat Prithviraj are captivating enough to keep you engrossed throughout the entire run duration. If you look at the VFX animals like the horses, and lions; you won’t be able to make out that they are actually computer-generated. They appeared strikingly real!

Manushi Chhillar as Princess Sanyogita in a scene from Samrat Prithviraj

Besides, I bet you will be amazed upon watching the battleground scenes which showcase thousands of soldiers in heavy armors carrying traditional weaponry charging at each other will full force. Many scenes also portrayed the latest destructive weaponry used in battles, which were available during that era!

A scene from Samrat Prithviraj: Prithviraj Chauhan and Sanyogita get married

Appealing Costumes

The costumes used in Samrat Prithviraj were colorful and were at par with what Indians during the medieval era actually wore. Akshay Kumar himself revealed that the costumes with armors that they wore during the battle scenes were extremely heavy, and the cast had a tough time shooting the battle scenes in such heavy clothing, and armors. The swords, spears, and other weapons used during the battle scenes were real and were awfully heavy.

Such heavy costumes were no big deal and were worn by the emperors of historic India, who used to possess immense physical strength. Such was their strength that some of them could even take down lions. One such example was a legendary Indian King named Maharana Pratap who stood 7 feet 5 inches tall, weighed around 200 kilograms, and used to carry 160 kilograms of the armory with him on his horse Chetak. That makes a total of 360 kilograms of weight which he used to carry on his horse!

Battle scene showing the clash between Prithviraj and Ghori’s armies

Great Effort By Chandraprakash Dwivedi

Chandraprakash Dwivedi is a popular television series director, and now he has made his mark in Bollywood after directing such an awesome historical epic like Samrat Prithviraj. Even if to date the actual story of Prithviraj Chauhan is not clear, as these incidents occurred a thousand years ago, still I appreciate Dwivedi’s decision to create a film by taking reference to the most relevant text available on Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan’s legend, which is “Prithviraj Raso” written by the emperor’s most trusted courtier, and warrior Chand Bardai himself.

Samrat Prithviraj (2022) Official Trailer 1:

The Bad:

Certain Shortcomings In The Cast

If you got carried away with my praises for the screenplay of Samrat Prithviraj, it’s time I made you aware of a few shortcomings in the film. The major problem seemed to be regarding the casting of the characters. Samrat Prithviraj has been played by the aging Akshay Kumar, who in spite of being the fittest actor in Bollywood, seems to have lost a lot of vigor with age. Even if the dialogues in the movie are powerful; when they are narrated in Akshay’s shrunken voice, they fail to have an impact. In fact, the 55-year-old Akshay didn’t appear to be a great fit for this intense role of the daredevil warrior emperor, who was in his early forties when he died.

Prithviraj is captured by Ghori’s men

Sonu Sood was given the role of Chand Bardai, and the most astonishing fact is that Chand Bardai seemed to be a more intense physical specimen as compared to Prithviraj Chauhan in this movie. Sonu Sood stands 6 feet 2 inches tall and has a much better physique as compared to the aging Akshay who stands 5 feet 11 inches. Chand Bardai appeared to be gaining prominence over Prithviraj Chauhan in this movie, and I believe this was the reason why the filmmakers might have decided to shorten the screen time of Sonu Sood as Chand Bardai to a great extent.

Manav Vij has skillfully carried out his role as Muhammad Ghori. However, by his appearance, he has the least resemblance to an Afghan. The Pathans of Afghanistan are tall, fair, and extremely well built. Manav Vij as Muhammad Ghori failed these specifications. He looked more like an “Indian version” of Muhammad Ghori to me. As a matter of fact, he is an Indian only.

Sanjay Dutt as Prithviraj’s general Kaka Kanha played his role quite efficiently. However, he got very little screen time to prove his talent. In fact, what astonished me is that a legendary Bollywood veteran actor like Sanjay Dutt has been given such a petty role in this film. Might be that Sanjay Dutt is getting old, and he happens to be a cancer survivor as well. So, intense action-oriented roles might prove to be too much for his health.

Manushi Chhillar, the 2017 Miss World title holder, who played Princess Sanyogita lacked chemistry with Akshay Kumar as Prithviraj Chauhan on account of their huge age difference. She is 30 years younger than Akshay. I believe as Sanyogita happened to be Prithviraj’s niece by relation, that’s why the filmmakers might have considered casting Manushi Chhillar opposite Akshay. So, the huge age gap between the two is justified!

A scene from Samrat Prithviraj: The lion vs. Prithviraj Chauhan

This Story Is Not What Actually Happened!

If you are amazed by Prithviraj Chauhan’s heroism, and have already started idolizing him upon hearing my narration, it’s time you got disappointed! Because this story of Prithviraj Chauhan which has been converted into a film by Bollywood is far from reality, and is not what actually happened. I won’t say that Bollywood has “tampered with historical facts” here as this story of the daredevil emperor was written by Chand Bardai who happened to be his most trusted, and faithful courtier. So, it is obvious that he will be all praises for the emperor in his texts.

The blind Prithviraj senses the lion approaching before axing it to death

However, the real story of Prithviraj Chauhan is very much saddening. Prithviraj never killed Muhammad Ghori as history reveals that Muhammad Ghori died on a much later date as compared to him. In fact, it was Ghori who has been said to have horrendously tortured Prithviraj to his death upon capturing him. So, the climax of the movie showing Prithviraj shooting, and killing Ghori is not at all true!

No doubt, Prithviraj was a daredevil emperor, and one of the greatest warriors in Indian history. Even if he never killed Ghori but his bravery, and sacrifices towards his motherland are sung by all Indians even a thousand years after his death.

Muhammad Ghori steps into the arena, and charges toward the blind Prithviraj

Samrat Prithviraj (2022) Official Trailer 2:

The Verdict:

The songs in Samrat Prithviraj are a mix of patriotic, and romantic ones. The majority of the tracks have been composed by the music composer trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Listen to the tracks, especially the “Hari Har” track, which will instill a sense of patriotism in you.

Prithviraj Chauhan shoots and kills Muhammad Ghori

You will be amazed at the lion fights, and horse-ridden battle scenes in Samrat Prithviraj. In actuality, no animals were harmed during the making of this movie as all of them were purely the outcome of VFX. Now, let me disclose something that may make you fall off your chairs! Samrat Prithviraj took 18 years to be made! Many of you youngsters who probably would be watching this film now might not have been born when this film was decided.

Samrat Prithviraj is the brainchild of Chandraprakash Dwivedi, and the idea of making a film on this legendary lionhearted warrior emperor originated in his mind 18 years back, in the year 2004. As a scriptwriter and director, he was able to put his plans into action in the year 2019, and finally come out with the movie in 2022! The original name of the film was decided as “Prithviraj”, but due to legal issues and political opposition faced by the filmmakers, they had to rename the film “Samrat Prithviraj” just a few days before its release.

Even if this is not the actual story of Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan, still I feel that Bollywood did its part in giving the Indian citizens a taste and feel of his legend through this movie. This historical-action drama is sure to keep you engrossed till the end. You will feel the thrill with every passing moment as situations begin to turn out tense and result in ferocious battles between Prithviraj Chauhan and Muhammad Ghori.

You may find the incestuous relationship between an uncle and his niece shown in Samrat Prithviraj to be disgusting. Prithviraj Chauhan was Sanyogita’s uncle by relation as her father Jayachand was Prithviraj’s cousin and brother. In modern times, such relationships are highly unacceptable. However, such incestuous relationships used to be common in medieval India.

Akshay Kumar did play his role of Prithviraj Chauhan with enthusiasm, as I believe that like Ajay Devgn and Shahid Kapoor, he too was very much eager to step into the costume of a historical action hero. He did appear decent as Prithviraj but it was his age that probably made him lag behind in vigor during the action scenes as well as dialogue delivery. If you examine the scene where Prithviraj has been shown captured and tied up by Ghori’s men, and Chand Bardai and other men of Prithviraj were enslaved and made to pull the cart on which he was tied up; you will notice how Akshay Kumar’s hands were not tied at all! If you notice closely, you will see that his hands were just allowed to hang from the ropes, which created an illusion that he is actually tied up. I must jokingly say that as Akshay is a superstar in Bollywood, the filmmakers might have decided to make him as comfortable as possible during the torture scenes. He might be pulling away from his hands from the ropes in between the shots, and ordering the crew members, “Get me a soft drink!”

Leaving all the analysis aside; if Indian history interests you, you can choose to watch Samrat Prithviraj at theaters, and experience this thrilling action ride as Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan takes on three lions, and Muhammad Ghori as well.

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  • Acting - 7/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 9.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 9.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 8.5/10
  • Watchability - 9/10
  • Rewatchability - 7.5/10
User Review
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About Subhadeep Kumar Ganguli

Meta film critic. Never make the same mistake twice. Make it three or four times just to be sure 😉

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