Planet Bollywood
Ram-Leela
 
Producer: Kishore Lulla, Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Gulshan Devaiah, Richa Chadda, Abhimanyu Shekhar Singh, Shveta Salve, Supriya Pathak, Girish Sahdev
Music: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Lyrics: Siddharth-Garima
Genre: Drama
Recommended Audience: General
Film Released on: 15 November 2013
Reviewed by: Lidia Ostepeev  - Rating: 7.0 / 10
 
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Opinion Poll: What is the best thing about Sanjay Leela Bhansali´s Raam Leela?

Ranveer Singh’s six-pack and Deepika Padukone’s beauty will not be salient points in this review of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela. It is easy to wax lyrical about the gorgeous sets, detailed costumes, magical cinematography, detailed costumes, melodious songs, their rich picturization and choreography. It is equally easy to fall under the spell of the chemistry between the leads - so well crafted are the romantic scenes in the first half. But the insular world of our Romeo and Juliet is dashed pre-interval and somewhere in the blur that follows, I found myself losing touch with the lovers.

Shakespeare in his Romeo and Juliet didn’t allow this to happen, keeping us constantly in tune with their innermost feelings. Bhanshali is intent on modernising his tale so i-phones ring ad nauseum - it’s all digital and there’s even a terribly forced reference to Twitter. Also forced is the pointed way in which the matriarchal character of Leela’s family is exploited for its modernity rather than contributing to the emotional integrity of the narrative. ‘How cool - women have such power - so many strong women!’ - it screams but did we need a barrage of viewpoints - especially from a host of characters that we met only in passing. The way the lovers were swallowed up by societal forces was disconcerting - not because it wouldn’t happen but because the power-games lacked credibility, were introduced mid-stream and allowed to overwhelm that which had been a pleasure to watch - a fully realized relationship.


At least the emotional aura of Ethan Mascarenas (Guzaarish 2010) stayed with us throughout that film even though the intricacies of his court case were at times clumsy and distracting. It would seem that Bhansali is at his best in the lyrical stretches of a film - working each frame with the aesthetic precision of a master. In Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela he lovingly creates a Gujarati folk-fantasy world - a tribute to his place of origin. Credit for the visual beauty of the film must also go to award-winning cinematographer Ravi Varman.

It is appropriate to compare Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela with Guzaarish because it is the second film where Bhansali has had a hand in all areas of filmmaking - production, direction, screenplay and music. Both films have endings which rest on resolutions which have been worked into the screenplay purely for effect. It is not a case of dramatic effect because the build-up and tension necessary for drama are missing.


Ranveer Singh (Ram) and Deepika Padukone (Leela) do indeed make a wonderful couple. This is Singh’s fourth film and as such there is no denying his talent. He is a charismatic performer but his handling of the romantic scenes was better than subsequent scenes of rage. This possibly had something to do with the way the later scenes had been written and directed. Motives simply lacked clarity. Deepika is much improved with more subtlety than she showed a few years back in Love Aaj Kal - probably the combined result of experience, chemistry and direction. Both actors performed the challenging choreography with fluidity and apparent ease. Priyanka Chopra’s item song "Ram Chahe Leela" was also a standout for its interesting postures, balances - heaving isolations and floor work. A team of choreographers was responsible for these beautiful sequences among them - Ganesh Acharya, Samir Tanna, Arsh Tanna, Vishnu Deva and Terrence Lewis.

When I am too interested in Bhansali’s aesthetics I know ‘I have lost the plot’ and so it happened halfway through Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela. The pairing of Singh with Deepika Padukone and the gobsmacking visuals made the experience worthwhile nevertheless.

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