Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and Half Stars)
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
What’s Good: The invigorating chemistry of Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. There is exhilarating energy, passion, thrill and romance in what they share onscreen.
What’s Bad: The film in its second half does get tedious and makes you queasy.
Loo break: Very few
Watch or Not? Bhansali has forever reveled in his esoteric world. Reigning as the master of films with operatic feel in Bollywood, Ramleela is one of India’s most novel takes on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. There is an alluring magic in the film that will enchant you. The primary reason why you shouldn’t miss this one is because of Ranveer and Deepika’s wonderful and visceral chemistry. It is quite a daunting affair to encapsulate the nuances of love’s wilderness and Ramleela epitomizes the menacing feral love between its lead characters with poise and ease.
The film tracks the story of Ram (Ranveer Singh) and Leela(Deepika Padukone) who belong to two feuding families, surrounded by the constant animosity of the long drawn enemity, in the prevailing aura of violence and bloodshed.
On the day of holi, Ram sneaks into Leela’s house. The two meet and fall in love. They two escape away soon to get married but are soon dragged back home creating further odds in their love story.
So do Ram and leela finish their love story and live happily ever after? This indeed is one Bollywood film that will never be made again.
Ramleela Review: Script Analysis
Set on the backdrop of Gujarat, the film is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s imaginative take on Shakespeare’s most popular play Romeo and Juliet. Indianizing it with intelligence, the script manages to infuse in a spellbinding originality. I frankly did not go in expecting any of it. Since the last adaptation of Romeo And Juliet in Bollywood was Issaq, I chided myself for being unable to fathom the caliber of Bhansali and underestimating him so gravely. Shakespeare would quite appreciate the imaginative vein of Bhansali’s work in Ramleela.
This film is definitely another enigmatic yet cryptic work from Bhansali. It begins with a whiff of color unlike the gloom we associate Bhansali’s films with. Luckily for us, Ramleela is one tremendously intense film. While watching it I felt a gush of myriad fervid emotions. Though it isn’t possible to gauge or analyse them, the film spins off an enormous impact. It is incredible how the most outrageous story that for me doesn’t really define love can be weaved out with such marvel and impeccable passion.
Scriptwriters Bhansali along with Siddharth and Garima have done a fantastic job in sketching out ferocious characters with well etched out characteristics. Ram and Leela especially are so different from each other but they share the same tenacity and vigor. To quote Emile Bronte, the best words to describe Ram-Leela’s chemistry would be, “Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
In a land where guns speak more than words, the younger ones of two feuding families fall for each other. Involving violence and bloodshed, the love of Ram-Leela simmers subtly amidst rage, love, frenzy and passion. For someone of this generation, it is hard to understand why and how Romeo and Juliet dying for love is justified. Somehow Ram-Leela validates the same so convincingly that for the climax and the sprightly chemistry of its lead pair, the film stands undefeated.
Ramleela Review: Star Performances
Ranveer Singh is perfect as Ram. Born into a violent family with warring opponents, he gives Ram a lingering charm. I have never been a fan of his acting but the gusto and the energy with which he plays every scene, every frame is so effervescent that he is nothing short of superlative.
Deepika Padukone matches Ranveer’s brilliance with her own fiesty and enthusiastic performance. It is becoming a norm that every time you see Deepika on screen, you feel she has become better than her last stint. She looks breathtaking in most scenes to her credit and more than her fiery nature and robust character, she gives Leela elegance and strength in equal measures.
Their chemistry demands a special mention as the film wouldn’t even have neared the epic mark if the two hadn’t been so scintillating at their work. They carve their on screen romance with such vulnerability, volatility and yet there is such unbeatable ferociousness.
Supriya Pathak is wonderful in her role. She menaces with brutality and that works well for the film.
Gulshan Devaiah is near brilliant as he plays his part without restraints or hiccups.
Another special mention for Richa Chadha who plays Deepika’s sister in law with marvel. Though Sharad Kelkar appears in a few scenes, in his last scene in the film he is first rate.
Ramleela Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
Sanjay Leela Bhansali gives us one emphatic piece of work which might not rank as his best but it surely is better than his last few films. He enmeshes the enemity of Rajadis and Saneras with the starkly unusual love between Ram and Leela. He renders poetry into his frames which makes certain parts of the film remarkable.
But it would be far too much of praise if you call this film faultless. There are its down moments. It tends to get over dramatic in places. A particular finger-sacrifice sequence is creepy. The bloodshed and violence is overdone, exactly like his tendency to overdo the corny romance. And the climax takes too long to happen.
But perhaps all these glitches are forgiven because the film is that exuberant. The vigor, the color, the passion, the high pitched emotions, the thrill – it all cobbles up into a spellbinding work of art.
There is this brilliant scene before the interval which wins you over. In between playing with guns and smashing bottles, calamity strikes. For such moments, the film is so satisfying. The editing in the last part slackens but in totality it’s worthwhile.
Ramleela Review: The Last Word
Sanjay Leela Bhansali still masters his marvel at making magical films. Picking up an unoriginal and much beaten about idea, he mystically tweaks out a work of genius. Indefatigable and supremely engaging, the film despite its ostentatious feel is at core a fierce love story enacted effectively by Ranveer and Deepika. Putting up an astonishingly prodigious chemistry, the duo pull through the film with might. I am going with a 3.5/5 for it. Cinema should be a fulfilling experience like this!
Ramleela releases on 15th November, 2013.
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