Archive for November, 2013

Ram-Leela

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Ram-Leela (Goliyon ki Raas Leela: Ram-Leela)
Release date: November 15, 2013
Directed by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Supriya Pathak, Abhimanyu Singh, Gulshan Devaiah, Sharad Kelkar, Richa Chadda, Barkha Bisht, and Raza Murad! (though only in a cameo)

Goliyon ko Raas Leela, which translates to a fair of bullets — holds true for a major part of the film, there are bullets being shot absolutely no reason. In my estimate, more random birds in the air must have been killed with guns than actual people. And that’s some figure, given the strong mafioso orientation of the film’s characters.

Ram (Ranveer Singh) is the comparably non-violent black sheep of a strongly violent Rajadi family, he runs neon-lit shady video parlors in a fictional village of Gujarat. Promenading through the small nooks, he dances with his roaring 6 (or 8?) pack abs, doing pelvic thrusts and never hiding his overt sexuality. This sexuality forms the bond between the rival Saneda’s wildly swaying daughter, Leela (Deepika Padukone)

LAHU MUH LAG GAYAAAA deepika-padukone-looking-ranveer-singh-still-from-film-ram-leela

Lahu Muh lag gayaaaaa 2
In a setting taken from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Ram-Leela’s first meeting is passionately raw and extremely, er, hot! A blood-soaked kiss (not down there) is just the start for this combustible couple. They incessantly text each other, exchange cheesy conversations just like any other contemporary new couple would. They click umpteen selfies and even talk about posting them on Twitter, only if they’d dropped an Instagram reference…

The love affair is everything right with the film. The drama surrounding them? Not quite. There are three dance numbers in the first half, making you wish for the interval to arrive at many points, but it doesn’t. Two more in the post-intermission part, testing your conviction and commitment to the film. Support characters like the two respective sister-in-laws Rassela played by Richa Chadda and Kesar done by Barkha Bisht, have more than one dimension to them, thus helping for a stronger depth. They aren’t the cruel bhabhis of our love stories, they are intelligent and somewhat righteous.

The men, on the other hand, are simply high on testosterone, and their lives are also shortened. Gulshan Devaiah’s Bhavani is the only male character with more to do, yet there isn’t much writing in his evil intentions. Writing, perhaps is the weakest department here. The raunchy jokes in the first half get increasingly boring (for me at least) owing to their lack of originality. Even strong players like Dhankor (Supriya Pathak) has so little rationale to the choices that she makes and the cold-heartedness that she portrays. The former jokes do help in lightening the subsequent grim climax though.

The violence isn’t in action as much as it is in its loudness. There isn’t much gore or blood, even if there are some real nasty things going on. Bhansali and his cinematographer S. Ravi Varman use masterful shots to make you feel the violence by minimalistic actual violence. They also paint greatly vivid pictures by using a diverse color pattern with their lighting. The rumored extensively long shooting schedule of 200 days seems justified by the production design, costumes and locations. Unfortunately, the same amount of detail is missing from the screenplay.

The music evolves with the growth of our protagonists’ characters. From the thrust-banging of Tattad Tattad to Ang Lagaa De‘s sensual ‘lovemaking’, it just suits perfectly. Hallelujah, Priyanka Chopra have some mercy on us! The picturization length could have been shortened in the synchronized dancing part which would have also helped reducing the film’s mammoth of a runtime. The end may put you off, probably due to its recent presence in so many films off late. It’s not repetitive, but rather a bit illogical. There’s storytelling logic missing in a few more places as well, and I better leave them unexposed as they might give away more of the plot.

Ranveer and Deepika look their parts and make you wish you were a part of the Ram-Leela universe, and maybe steal away either of them or both depending on your sexual preferences. Deepika’s every hip snap gets you swooning, turning up in your seat. Their kisses (probably chopped) are involving and tempt you for their next liplock. The Gujarati accent is present and its done well. It interferes with authenticity with the infused Hindi and that’s a personal grouse.

The actors, production designers and everyone except the writers and sound recordists/mixers/engineers try their best. Underwhelming to an extent, surprisingly entertaining even with the heavy end, Ram-Leela is just in the middle. Hey, Raza Murad’s back too!

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

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