(Spoilers ahead. Please watch the movie before reading further)
At the first glimpse of the trailer of Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela we could guess that the movie is based on the famous and tragic Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. And it is just that. Two warring families, the children of both the families fall in love, they elope, they are forcibly brought back by their respective families only to meet a tragic end.
And this theme isn’t new for Bollywood. Various movies have been already made based on this play. From Aamir’s QSQT way back in 1998 to Hulchul (2004) to Ishaqzaade (2012) to the recent Issaq (2013), probably the play has been replayed and retold in Bollywood in all the ways possible and there is nothing much to add to it. Then what makes Ram-Leela different? The answer is Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Ram (Ranveer Singh), a casanova of sorts, belongs to the Rabadi clan in Ranjaar, the make-believe world of SLB, at the borders of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Leela (Deepika Padukone), the strong, wild and passionate woman, hails from Sanera clan. Both the clans are always battling out and ready to slit each other’s throats at the earliest. The smashing beer bottles in the beginning of the movie give us a glimpse of how they battle out whenever their paths are crossed.
Amongst all this hatred where everyone is thirsty for each-other’s blood, Ram and Leela, kiss in their very first meeting and keep kissing in her pond-facing balcony of Leela’s bedroom [a la Romeo And Juliet (1996) by Baz Luhrmann] whenever Ram sneeks into her mansion clandestinely. That was pure ‘lust at first sight’ for the lead pair.
The brothers of Ram and Leela die in a very stupid feud where they were showing off their shooting skills to each-other. Fed up of all the rivalry and blood-shed, they decide to elope to a near-by town and get married. And they get married. When the poor Ram was in the middle of ‘it’, his friends take him out for a ‘treat’ where he gets sloshed and falls asleep. He wakes up to the screams of Leela who is being forcibly taken back to their town by her brother Bhavani (Gulshan Devaiah).
Interval. Till here, the movie is mesmerizing, beautiful, energetic, romantic and seductive. You can’t help but immerse yourself in it and ‘feel’ the passion and emotions.
Post-interval. Bummer! You feel like you’ve totally entered into a different movie. Ah, the curse of second half has done in to many a movies and Ram-Leela is no different. Suddenly, the romance evaporates and it becomes a political thriller.
Both Ram and Leela stand by their families and thus, stand against each-other. Their love for each-other soon turns into the hatred for the ‘head of the other clan.’ They put their love for each-other on stake and take some harsh decisions for the sake of their families. ‘No more wars’ is their motto.
But, of course, their are villains in both the families. If there is Bhavani in Leela’s family, there are Ram’s friends who don’t want peace but want each others’ blood. So, they plot heinous schemes deceiving their respective ‘heads’ and leading the movie to it’s climax with a tragic end, beautifully captured in slow-motion.
SLB has done a marvellous job with the camera, yet again. That cinematography, that colors, that choreography, that inherent talent of evoking those emotions from the lead pair and enthrall the audiences, he has it all. Not just that, SLB is also credited for screenplay, editing and music besides direction.
Deepika Padukone has followed up her last year’s form with Cocktail to perform in varied hits this year like Race 2, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, Chennai Express and now Ram-Leela. This film, just like this year, belongs to Deepika Padukone, making the character of Leela, a memorable one.
Deepika as Leela is strong, level-headed, energetic, passionate and hopelessly romantic. She dances brilliantly too, especially in the garba sequences where she enthuses immense talent, energy and skill. Garba is never easy.
And in the post-interval session, her eyes speak more than her lips do. She shines in both the roles, that of a girl madly in love and that of the leader of a clan.
Ranveer as Ram is another powerful aspect of the film. His unabashed shamelessness, that extrovert behavior (totally unlike Lootera), that lustful obsession for Leela, all add up to a power-packed performance. If in the first half, he sings and dances and romances, in the second half, he grieves and emotes and makes you cry with the rendition of a forlorn lover.
More than Ranveer and Deepika, it is SLB who deserves the accolades for bringing out the Ram and Leela out of Ranveer and Deepika. Also, their crackling on-screen chemistry makes it all the more beautiful to watch.
Although each and every supporting actor has his/her own moment at-least once in the movie – like Abhimanyu Singh and Sharad Kelkar as Ram and Leela’s brothers respectively, Barkha Bisht and Richa Chadda as sisters-in-law of Ram and Leela respectively, Gulshan Devaiah as Leela’s evil brother – it is Supriya Pathak (Hansa from Khichdi) who steals the show among the lot.
Supriya’s ‘Baa’ is menacing, scary and a powerful woman. She doesn’t mince words and would prefer to cut a finger of her own daughter than to take a ‘no.’ But her best moments are when she is stops speaking all of a sudden and looks up and those kajal-filled eyes scare the living day-lights out of the people around her and leaves the audience in splits. Such was her performance.
The dialogues are wonderful, some powerful, some corny, some humorous and some rhyming. (Probably Baba Sehgal assisted SLB in the rhymes, because they are really stupid yet funny). Some are totally unlike SLB too. For instance, Leela is asked to give her measurements for stitching and Ram prompts as 36-24-36, to which Leela retorts as, ‘No, it’s 136-24-36’ and Ram jumps on her staring at her cleavage and stating, ‘then let me immerse myself in those.’
The songs, although melodious, hummable and beautifully choreographed, are way too many. There are as many as 10 songs amounting to at least 45 minutes of the total running time of over 2.40 hours. ‘Ishqyaun Dhishqyaun’ (the dance steps in this song vaguely similar to stands out among the lot and so does the ‘no dandruff in my hair advertisement’ ‘Tattad.’ Priyanka shows off her toned and curvy body in ‘Ram Chahe Leela’ where the steps are exp(l)osive, but Priyanka looks beautiful.
On the downside, why doesn’t Ram go and meet Leela in the post-interval session? Also, in one scene, Ram enters Leela’s house and leaves his blood marks on the door. She doesn’t even look at it and nothing is added on that front. When he enters her house, why doesn’t he go and talk to her?
And, since when did people start kissing in their first meet in villages, let alone cities?
And, adding a ‘che’ at the end of every sentence doesn’t make it Gujarathi either.
Of course, it is the make-believe world of SLB, so….
It is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie. SLB is synonymous with exaggeration. Everything Sanjay does is extravagant. The sets, the plot, music, costumes, melodrama, stunning visuals, beautiful choreography, tragic romance and grandeur, everything in Ram-Leela has a touch of SLB, yet everything is so unlike SLB.
Over-all, the first half entertains and makes you laugh. The second half gets a bit boring and makes you cry (sometimes the movie’s plot, sometimes the stupidity). Yet, this musical tragic romance, Ram-Leela, is worth a watch. And SLB’s extravagance is best witnessed on silver-screen.
Pics credits : https://www.facebook.com/RamLeelaMovie