Ram-leela – Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela’

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Deepika Padukone & Ranveer Singh in 'Ramleela'

Deepika Padukone & Ranveer Singh in ‘Ramleela’ by Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Deepika Padukone & Ranveer Singh in ‘Ram-leela’

 

When I was a kid, I remember going to the Ramleela for the very first time in the grounds in Old Delhi, full of excitement, anticipation, not knowing what I would be seeing. I came out, thoroughly mesmerized  – the bands of monkeys, the giant Jatau bird, the ten-headed demon and the explosion of fireworks did it for me.

Now years later I went to another kind of Ramleela  – Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Ramleela’, also known as Goliyon ki Rasleela, and I have to say, I was knocked out once again – but not quite.

 

Deepika Padukone & Ranveer Singh in 'Ramleela'

Deepika Padukone & Ranveer Singh in ‘Ramleela’

 

Bhansali is such a master at creating a unique visual world, giving substance to what exists only in his mind, that I felt that same rush of excitement. ‘Ramleela’ is a beautiful, surreal canvas- and to see it is to  enter a world of fabulous colors, of red chilies drying in the sun, of arid deserts and ramshackle towns, of great beauty, peacocks and shimmering water.  There’s just such a feast for the eyes with this imaginary Gujarati town, the fabulous folk dances and the catchy music. The swashbuckling Ranveer Singh has a strong screen presence and the pitch perfect Deepika has never looked more gorgeous. There’s tremendous smoldering chemistry between the two – you can’t take your eyes off this beautiful couple.

Ram-leela – Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

 

 

The superb cinematography by Ravi Varman and music (by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Monty Verma)  just make it all magnetic. The film has a zany blend of cultures, time zones and styles mixed up so it’s all kind of timeless and fun to watch. And men with earrings – this looks so good it could start a trend!

It’s a satisfying film experience with the mind and senses fully engaged. It sometimes feels like you’ve wandered into Anurag Kashyap territory with the bullets madly ricocheting all over the place. I’ve never before seen a couple romancing each other with guns. In fact,  the way the guns star in this movie, the gun lobby in America would really love it!

 

Ram-leela: Guns and Drums

 

Sometimes, it even feels like Vishal Bharadwaj territory with the whimsical and the offbeat, touches of humor when you least expect it. Yet it is largely a Bhansali landscape and one to be savored and enjoyed. Superb performances by Deepika and Ranveer, as well as Supriya Pathak Kapur as Ba, the fearful matriarch of the  clan.

The film, while a feast for the eyes and ears, kind of evaporates like a dream on waking – the love story just doesn’t touch you deeply. Bhansali has said it’s inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet yet it just doesn’t ring true. It doesn’t get you in the gut like other films inspired by the Bard, such as ‘Maqbool’ or ‘Om Kara’.  There are so many tragic love stories where the ache stays with you days after the movie is over – ‘Ramleela’ is not one of them.

‘Ramleela’ – You get drawn in by the aesthetics, you almost over-dose on the colors, the music and the beauty but you never get fully engaged in the goings on.

It doesn’t get you in the heart.

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What did YOU think of the movie? Please add your mini-review in the comments section!

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Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

16 Comments

  1. Lavina Melwani on

    Aarti Balani, while many media have given the movie five stars, I’m sure there are many people who agree with you. Bhansali’s movies evoke all sorts of reactions. When I saw it at the premiere in NYC, some people didn’t like it while others just loved it.I’m among those who loved it – to a degree.

  2. Lavina Melwani on

    Surekha Demarest via Facebook

    Thank you, Lavina, for a balanced critique. I will now go with an open mind and not compare it with Omkara or Maqbool!

  3. Ayush Shah via Google +

    +2
    Movie is quite OK, music is fantastic.. Deepika looks best, but Ranveer’s dialogs are loud and sometimes funny & misplaced. One-time watch movie, not great but not bad either!

  4. Oh, no, now we know the couple died so why even watch the movie! There should be a spoiler alert for comments.

  5. Lavina Melwani on

    Meera Hari via Facebook

    Loved the acting, some of the powerful dialogues, the riot of colours, the attention to detail….the richness

  6. Lavina Melwani on

    TS, my apologies but since the film is based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the ending is basically known to everybody! We all know how Romeo and Juliet ends!

  7. Sukanya Chatterjee via The Ladies Club on FB

    I loved the title track – the folk song! Awesome! Apparently the writer / poet was inspired by Tagore’s poem – don’t know which one but I think it might be “Nilo anjana ghana kunj chaya sombrit amber, he gombhir he gombhir”!

    Here is where I learnt about it from – http://www.bollymeaning.com/…/mor-bani-thangat-kare…

  8. Eva Sashankar via The Ladies Club on FB

    I think the last time I watched a flick where both died in the end was QSQT.

  9. RE: movies where both die in the end, I think there are not that many. Either the hero dies – or the heroine!

  10. Radhika Khanna via Twitter

    Lavina Melwani
    @lassiwithlavina

    #Ram-leela – a rich blend of styles so it’s fun to watch. Men with earrings – looks so good it could start a trend!
    bit.ly/1ioTHPI
    – 19 Nov

    Radhika khanna
    @radhika0323

    @lassiwithlavina
    after reading this… I am definitely watching Ram Leela this weekend.. ☺️

    03:15 AM – 20 Nov 13

  11. Nice movie review. I must say that your blog is awesome. I have also launched Social Tota, a movie prediction engine that predicts movies and provides pre-release prediction about the movies based on user generated content available on social media.