After a long winter of blacks, blues and melancholic shades of grey (Black, Saawariya, Guzarish) it is delightful to watch Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s return to the effervescence of colour, theatrics and love of the most enigmatic kind: lust. That is what Ram-Leela is: a contemporary story of how two lovers override 500 years of enmity between two rival clans. Loosely based on Romeo Juliet, it is destined to have tragic undertones but Ram-Leela isn’t a period drama nor a tragedy rather a celebration of life and of love in violent times. It’s also unbelievably light-hearted.
“Post this on Twitter,” Ram says as he poses cheek to cheek with Leela, “And it’ll make it to tomorrow’s headline news.”
I did notice the loopholes – the film is not as perfect or consistently riveting like Hum Dil Chuke Sanam (my all time favourite) – but it offers what is very close to my heart: a perfect picture. The clothes, all Rajashtani/Kutch costume in its finest, and the jewels: Amprapali all the way through. Those ear clusters, multi-tiered silver chunks around the neck were simply awesome. The wardrobe, designed by designer Anju Modi, lacks the Sabyasachi magic but serves the purpose just as well. How difficult can it be to make Deepika look hot anyway?
And just as much as the clothes and jewellery, the body art in Ram Leela tells a story of its own. Scripted mostly in Hindi I, for one, could not figure it out but that bold body inking looked downright exotic. On the face, around the neck, on the outer palms and feet…a befitting hard core substitute to the pretty, temporary stain of henna. And speaking of exotic, Priyanka Chopra in her item girl cameo, has to be the weakest link in the film.
Supriya Pathak, however, rules the screen as an overwhelming Don/Godmother of the Rajadi clan. It would be unfair to say that the film rides on Deepika Padukone alone because the entire cast contributes just as unequivocally. And this could very well be Ranveer Singh’s second breakthrough film (because Band Baajaa Baaraat was a hit too) and launch his career. He looks good and delivers a solid performance, pun intended and you’ll understand if you’ve seen those unbelievable abs. Does he look as hot as DP? Not quite; she absolutely rocks her role!
As you can see, I’ve been swayed by the visual attraction of the film, and there’s enough romance, passion, music (also good) and story to carry it through without it become a bland bore. Ram-Leela is Sanjay Leela’s best since Hum Dil… and it shouldn’t be missed while it’s up in theatres.
PS: my only objection would be the careless and often unnecessary use and display of guns. In feuds it’s understandable, but in songs and even lovemaking: not so much. It’s a good thing Ram Leela is rated Adult.