Old Wine, New Bottle & Gift Wrapped
Film: Ram Leela
Cast: Ranvir Singh, Deepika Padukone, Supriya Pathak
Directed by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Duration: 2 hrs 33 mins
Rating: * * 1 /2
Like most Sanjay Leela Bhansali films, RamLeela has a big canvas, stunning visuals and is very self indulgent. On the flip side, the story inspired by Romeo and Juliet is one of those that have been churned out with clock work regularity. In fact, you wish that Bhansali had treated the story a little differently than just to indulge in those ‘oh-look-how-beautiful-this-is’ kind of shots.
Excessive songs, including an item number and a not so convincing screenplay is not how you want to see another version of one of the Bards most popular tragedies.
“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo” he wrote. The reason for the woe here is the enmity between two clans, on one side is the relatively calm Ram (Ranvir Singh), his brother (Abhimanyu Singh) calls the shots. On the other side of the fence we have Leela (Deepika Padukone) whose mother runs the show in the family. Not a very pleasant woman you want to be around, she can even chop off a finger is she feels like it. The two communities fire more bullets in the air and each other than you saw in The Expendables.
Ram and Leela fall in lust first and love comes later, both cause severe consternation in the communities. They decide to elope but their families won’t give up. It is easier to understand Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle rather than figure out the unnecessarily twisted complications and misunderstandings in the latter part of the film.
There is no doubt that Bhansali has a remarkable eye for visuals - the colors, framing and lighting is extraordinary. There are a few scenes that have the chutzpah but inconsistency mars otherwise. The songs keep popping up (including an item number by Priyanka) like any other film and the editing is very lenient. Take the scene for example where a widow is being chased by men from the opposition camp, first it goes on in the narrow lane, then there is a long shot along with a couple in slow motion and it is in scenes like these that the indulgence shows.
The dialogues are apt and full credit to the writers, Garima and Siddharth for the same. On the acting front, Supriya Pathak as the don smolders fire playing her character with élan. Richa Chaddha is convincing, Ranvir Singh and Deepika Padukone share a good chemistry, the actress though impresses with every outing.
Ram Leela is old wine in new bottle which is gift wrapped.
(Published in The Navhind Times on 17th Nov 2013)