Ram-Leela - Review

Ram-Leela

quick review:

Is an engaging first hour that takes you downhill through a stretched, predictable and melodramatic rest of the film, good enough? Just might be.

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[Poster for Ram-Leela]

From love at first sight to till-death-do-us-part style, crazy love via the banter and misunderstandings that any relationship goes through - Ram-Leela has it all, in gorgeous frames, amongst lots of song and dance. That also makes it predictable, long and over-dramatized.

For a better part of the first half Ram-Leela is completely engaging. The set-up is intriguing, the language brash and earthy, the characters draw interest and of course it is all very pretty. What also happens hand-in-hand though is that everything is a little overdone. For example, the songs are breathtakingly beautiful but go on for a little too long; I actually laughed out loud at an innuendo and then it is stretched further to kill the joke; similarly the characters, at least the side characters, get a little too repetitive.

The two central characters though keep you hooked - for the first hour. It is difficult to say whether that is because of the vivacious performances, or the strong-minded characters, or the chemistry between the lead pair or just that they look jaw-droppingly beautiful, or their colorful costumes or lack thereof. Or it could be just that you are soaking in the atmosphere. Or all of the above - you are hooked. Even so much so that you overlook the implausibility of it all. You enter the fairytale, alright.

The side characters too, hold their own both in terms of performances and the screen space they are given. Gulshan Devaiah and Richa Chadda have nicely layered characters - especially considering they are a part of a large canvas and there are many small characters to share the space with. Similarly, given how uni-dimensional Supriya Pathak's character is, she does a pretty decent job of instilling fear.

Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone themselves are oozing oomph. At the same time, their presence is more than that. The pulsating sexual tension between them isn't a regular feature in Hindi films. Ranveer Singh is creating quite a space for himself as a romantic lead hero. Deepika Padukone too, not only looks prettier by the day but also engages as a performer.

After that first hour though, because of the impact of how the film began, you wait for something more and better to happen. Unfortunately, the film pretty much takes the route you predicted at the end of this first hour.

Other than the overall love angle, the story tries to touch upon a current social issue. But, it comes out of nowhere and doesn't get too much attention in the main scheme of things, later. It thus, ends up looking like an afterthought. Sure, there are a few twists that you sit up to, but the impact fizzles out, because again it is either long-drawn or melo-dramatized by slow motion.

These things only slow down the proceedings towards a climax that you know all about. There's loads of violence too and some of it gory. While it does become all about one shooting the other shooting the one, there were a couple of chase sequences that I really liked - despite the slow-motion. The sound design and choreography is slick.

In fact, each frame is picture perfect, the lighting in each frame looks divine. But, that is the very least you expect from a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, right? And I can watch almost any film of his for just that atmosphere. Even though, he goes all masala on you this time, barely clad men, women with backless blouses in a conservative set-up, item number and all!

If you can too, you just might not mind Ram-Leela. Once, any way.

- meetu, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots. A couple of gory bits too.
  • Language: Lots of innuendoes in the first hour, abusive language too.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Show of cleavage. A few kisses, making out scenes. Sexual tension. A couple of rape scenes. References to porn.
  • Concept: Love story amidst a violent environment.
  • General Look and Feel: Gorgeous frames with a magnificent color palette.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3
  • Story: 3
  • Lead Actors: 4
  • Character Artists: 4
  • Dialogues: 3.5
  • Screenplay: 2.5
  • Music Director: 3.5
  • Lyrics: 3

Ram-Leela - Movie Details

Ram-Leela - Trailer

Comments (27)

Fan:

Impatiently looking forward.

Huge fan of SLB, even though was disappointed with Saawariya and Black (was too slow and dull look and feel).

Fan:

And yes I agree some songs and dance sequences remind heavily of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam; but hey zho is complaining :-)

Anuj:

I'd love this to flop badly so as to benefit Krrish-3 in its 3rd week at the box office :P Bhansali is a synonym for disaster anyway :P

Anuj:

@Fan:You criticize Anurag Kashyap for being self indulgent and you actually end up being a fan of the most self obsessed,over the top and drama queen director of them all?
P.S : Bhansali films have made bigger losses than Kashyap films thus far.

Fan:

I have never claimed Kashyap to be self indulgent. I just find his films as worthless and massive majority of paying audiences believe the same as me; mediocre films not worth spending time and money on.

Anuj:

@Everyone : Here is a brilliant write up i found on one of the blogs on the changing dynamics and styling of Bollywood films based on the changing sensibilities of its target audience!

http://bomodel.blogspot.in/2013/11/krrish-3-review-part-iii-closure-for.html

Fan:

Taran Adarsh review is out. 4.5 stars out of 5.

I did not expect anything less given the beautiful mesmerising music and dance sequences.

If it turns out to be as good as I expect it then this will certainly end a fabulous year for Deepika after giant hits like Race2, Yeh jawaani ...., Chennai Express and now Goliyon Ki rasleela RamLeela.

Fan:

8-o

And TOI gives a clean 5 out of 5!!!

For a movie full of lust, sex, violence - this would be a first time thing on TOI.

Fan:

Waiting for some more and probably more realistic reviews today. My biggest concern is the parental guidance part with the number oof kisses, the number of making out scenes, the vulgar language.

Anuj:

@Fan : Race 2 is an Above Average performer and nowhere near being a hit. It netted 94 cr domestic while its investment was in the range of 75-80 cr!

TimELiebe:

This is currently showing in one of the theaters where I live in Upstate New York, which is starting to cater to the large NRI audience we have. Sadly for us, it pushed out KRRISH 3, which we'd hoped to see last night. ...

Anup:

The first half has been beautiful,,,,with full of colours superb chemestry and alot of double meaning jokes which i dont mind atall because they were really good,,,,but the reason why Ram and Leela fall for each other is not clear atall,,,,yes its a love at first sight case,,,,but it looks less LOVE more LUST to me....
The political twist are just average,,,,and doesnt shock u as compared to the movies of tigmansu or a kashayap,,,,but this could be good for the start because for the first time SLB is out of his usual comfort zone,,,,
Whats bad is the lenthy songs,,,,some of which could have been easily edited,,,,and the lengthy pre climax part,,,,u have to wait alot for the climax to come,,,,becoz of which it would be good to watch this movie for sure but at home not in big screen

Fan:

Marne ki sau wajah hai jeene ki sirf ek

Bada badtameez, besharam, khudgarz hota hai par pyaar toh aisa hi hota hai.

And the opulence grandeur colourful detailed sets. Can and must only be enjoyed on giant screen.

And garbas are beautiful superbly choreography: you wish that they were still longer.

SLB succeeds superbly in making you long and your heart ache for the protagonists and then it does not matter that what started as lust is now genuine love. The best test of a love story is when the audience roots for the lead pair. It's an extremely intense film which is normal as it's based on a Shakespeare tragedy; so don't saunter in expecting a HDDCHS. Finger sacrifice requires a stone hearted guy to sit through it.

Language is of rustic Gujarat Rajasthan region; me being exposed to such rural belts did not find it extreme/vulgar but if you or your family have no idea of the daily vocabulary of that region then you need to think twice. Loads and loads of violence - as the film's name makes it clear Goliyon ki Rasleela.

Overall verdict: must see on big screen. Shakespeare would certainly have approved of this honest and excellent Indianisation of Romeo and Juliette without the Bollywood extra tadka to mask the original story.

Final word for Supriya Pathak who is superb and DP who is bringing a career best year to an end.

Fan:

Quick clarification on my rustic Gujarat Rajasthan region language. In that language the words used do not have vulgar connotations and so are used in day to day talk. Similar sounding words in Hindi have vulgar connotations and so the audience might feel that the language is vulgar - which is not true.

vishal:

...enjoyed the movie...loved performances... But hey ! There was sth missing in your review this time...usually for big movies ...you write so well...besides sth about the movie ...there are well crafted detail about sth totally random but very beautifull... Case in point ...lootera review...the analogy with thaharav.... It was missing here ....and that too for this movie....review was pretty bland...especially for a SLB movie...where sets , costumes, etc. Also are part of the story...am not criticizing...just felt if it was from some guest reviewer...

shilpa:

Meetu... Is Shveta Salve there in the movie? Which character?

meetu:

@TimELiebe So, did you watch it?

@Anup Thanks for your review.

@Fan Thanks for writing in. So, you didn't mind the sexual overtones in the film? I ask because you sound concerned about it across films.

@Vishal Thank you for the feedback. Much appreciated. Maybe because at the end I was underwhelmed by the film. Will keep your words in mind for the next time.

@Shilpa She is certainly in the cast, can't place what role she played. Drawing a total blank here. Sorry.

Anuj:

@Fan:Check out that Bharadwaj Rangan bog review of K3 and laugh out loud at the ignorance and pseudo intelligence of some of their readers'. Enjoy!! -

PS:In case u missed out on the K3 post!

Suman Chakraborty:

Direction: 3
Story: 1.5
Lead Actors: 4
Character Artists: 3.5

Dialogues: 3.5
Screenplay: 2
Music Director: 0.5
Lyrics: 1

Mahaveer:

Nice review; I agree.
Something that could have been 'Watch on Big Screen', killed badly...my 5 cents:
- every now and then Bhansali brings beauty on the celluloid and this one seems to be prettiest (and so are Deepika and Ranveer) of them all, I can foresee a lot of other makers taking a leaf or two from this one
- Why, Why, WHY.... Mr. Bhansali; you could have taken it somewhere amazing, why kill the second half with a confused story and equally confused characters and worse (over dramatised) climax. It was the second half of Hum Dil De... that I still like you for and you spoiled it this time....badly
- I don't know why, but a few recent movies come to mind while watching this one, and I so wish you could learn from them a bit Mr Bhansali (may have Spoilers)....
Raanjhana - I was listening to each word uttered by Kundan at his deathbed and here I didn't care what Ram/Leela said to each other at the end.
Ishaqzaade - I disliked the movie but felt for Zoya/Parmar throughout, here I guess Ram/Leela went too far in their love/hatred/antics and were too volatile to connect with me.
Dev D - agreed, you are inspired by an epic novel but you don't have to necessarily kill the protagonists
- I don't think it's very cool to start the movie with an SMS joke (khud hi pakdna padta hai), especially when you have pretty good one liners later on
- I think the quality and timing of the music sucks....only the visuals are good

Anuj:

@Meetu : 50 cr in 3 days and counting! A certified Hit. This is what happens when even mediocre self obsessed film-makers like SLB shed their inhibitions and start making "mass entertainers" than self indulgent ott trash like Black,Saawariya and Guzaarish (wish Hrithik had never done that one). Long live commercial cinema!

Fan:

@Meetu: sorry for delayed response. Kisses, the loads of them, are totally unnecessary to the story or film. Like in every film, Hindi or English, they have no influence whatsoever on the story. And I cringed each time it happened. The few pornogrpahy incidents, were best avoided, not reqd. Although some scenes (not all) gelled in smoothly but overall they are avoidable. So yes, sexual overtones or undertones were not needed. The seemingly vulgar language - I clarified above, is not vulgar if one knows what those words mean in the spoken language.

@Suman: you are breaking my heart with such low score for music. For garba lovers it is sheer delight. I do admit that if there is a competition between Nagada Sang Dhol Baaje and Dholi Taro Dhol Baaje then the latter is better. But does not take away from the fact that on its own Nagada does stand up. And so does Ram Chahe Leela, and various other songs. Lot of folk music was regularly used as background scores and it was like a breath of fresh air.

@Mahaveer: Ranjhanaa came to my mind too, it was an equally intense and well enacted love story. Kundan's character stays longer in mind because he was an underdog (typical ordinary looking ordinary back street boy who knowingly sacrificed his life for somebody whom he knew did not love him). So it is natural that our heart aches more for Kundan than Ram who is a hero in all sense of the word, leader of his galli with the best chiselled body in town, whose masculinity could be confirmed by every village damsel, always playing lead role in local festivities, cracking the smartest jokes, son of clan leader. But for me it is unfair to say that I listened to every last word of Kundan but I did not care what Ram Leela were talking. I was in the heart of my heart hoping to see a twist in the story, especially with Rasili knocking.

For me, the 2 most powerful films this year that stuck with me for several days after seeing them on big screen are Ranjhana and Ram Leela. Both should win several accolades at film awards in the next 2-4 months, assuming that as always SRK and Roshans and Dharma and YRF do not influence the jury.

Mahaveer:

@Fan: I totally understand and accept what you might feel/felt for Ram-Leela but I did not, really. I am a huge fan of romantic cinema but this one just did not touch me, as I said, maybe Ram-Leela went too far in their love/hatred/antics and their characters were too volatile to connect with me. [SPOILERS] [comment edited because it gives away too much of the movie] I mean it all seemed fine before....and whatever happens after that. Just put me off.

TimELiebe:

@Meetu - no, Tammy and I both came down with a NASTY flu over the weekend, so we didn't see anything. :(

It's still showing at the "Bollywood Screen" we've got at our multiplex - and I'm still not really that interested in seeing this in a theater. The more I read about this, the more it sounds like a "Rent from Netflix" for us….

meetu:

@TimELiebe oh hope you are feeling better now. :D

ashok bansal:

It is a revenge drama; revenge by SLB on the audience for rejecting GUZAARISH. As producer, he has already done that with ROWDY RATHORE but his thirst was not quenched, so THIS. The only good features are camera, dress, art and music and the worst are story and lyrics.

TimELiebe:

@Meetu - finally, yes, thankfully! We've had a very harsh winter here in upstate New York, which meant we all got sick a lot (except for Bruce, who never seems to catch anything!). It's in my Netflix queue, so we'll see….

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