Now before reading this, you should know I’m a Sanjay Leela Bhansali fan. I’m the guy who cried during ‘Black’ and consider ‘Devdas’ to be amongst the finest Indian films ever made. So nothing in the world could make me hate a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, but Sanjay Leela Bhansali himself. And BOY, has SLB (name too long, let’s abbreviate) managed to do that with 'Ram-Leela'!
‘Ram-Leela’ is a perfect example of team effort, with the collective spirited work of 3 big names working together. Sanjay. Leela. And of course, Bhansali. The film is directed by Bhansali. Produced by Bhansali. Written by Bhansali. Edited by Bhansali. The music is also by Bhansali. The character of ‘Ram’, played by Ranveer Singh, is also in turn played by Bhansali (where do you think all that facial hair came from?).
Anyhow, (in no particular order) here are the 10 reasons I LOVED ‘Ram Leela’. (Sarcasm |ˈsärˌkazəm| noun ; the use of irony to mock or convey contempt).
1. Supriya Pathak
Supriya Pathak Shah is a fine, fine actor. It must have taken stupendously bad direction to make her act this horribly in the film. Though she plays a godmother/don, she ends up looking more of a madam at a brothel looking to sell off Deepika Padukone to a London-gujju boy. Tch tch.
2. Gujju Accent
Sure, you’re making a film about Gujaratis in Gujarat. But that does not mean you have all your characters talk like they’re sidekicks from ‘Tarak Mehta ka Oolta Chashma’. Gujaratis in the film are reduced to caricatures, specially the painful opening scene of a gun seller (to begin with). There are literally moments when Supriya Pathak Shah seems to give-up and get into her ‘Hansa’ mode.
3. Sexual innuendos
Okay. THIS really made me sit up. The film is peppered with SO many cheap sexual innuendos and cheap dialogues that you end up forgetting you’re watching a Bhansali film. In essence, ‘Ram-Leela’ was like Sanjay Leela Bhansali ‘Grand Masti’ (or Grandiose Masti, if you please).
To be honest, I was sort of glad for the songs. They served as convenient toilet breaks. My only regret (apart from entering the movie hall), was that I didn’t drink enough water; as a result of which, after my first two loo breaks (called “Tattad Tattad" and “Lahu Muh Lag Gaya”) I had to SIT through the rest of the painfully mediocre and below-average songs. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I missed Ismail ka Darbar.
Somewhere during the film, (as if there weren’t enough characters already) SLB seems to get bored and introduces the character of a VFX peacock. I can imagine SLB at the VFX studio telling the VFX artist “Yaar.. yahan ek peacock daal dete hain”. The result being we see a very uncomfortable animated peacock looking as aesthetic as Manmohan Singh at a Bunga-Bunga party.
The basic idea behind the look of ‘Ram-Leela’ was a major shift in color from Blue to Red. Bas. Also, there seemed to be empty efforts in making the film look like a grand scale production. The efforts fall flat. And all we see is a bloodied movie lying in the theatres, bleeding red.
7. Ranveer Singh
Though I find Ranveer Singh repulsive enough as it is, there was something extra-special about him in the film that made me wish his character would die in the intermission. So while I was having a difficult time choosing between his beard and his face for the reasons of repel, an over-zealous lady seated next to me murmured to her friend “Kitna tel laga rakha hai yaar”. And that was my eureka moment. His body is almost always covered/splattered/dipped in oil. Is he a masseuse’s love child? Any more oil, and the US would have invaded his body. If THIS is what the women of my generation are drooling over, I want to live in Mars.
At 23 years and 4 minutes, ‘Ram-Leela’ is one of the longest films I’ve ever had to sit through. My moment of joy in this film was watching the Google:Reunion ad on the big screen during the intermission. And going home.
While SLB read ‘Romeo & Juliet’, his team had only one work before the film started shooting – to find as many SMS shayaris they can with words that rhyme with ‘Ram’, ‘Leela’ and ‘Wife’. And incorporate the same into the film’s script. Which brings us to intense and sad moments in the film where the characters are too busy finding rhyming words to construct a reply. (Also, anyone from the team who did not find a shayari rhyming with ‘Bhansali’ was fired).
10. Priyanka Chopra
Having made up her mind to be part of every trashy film/song/video, Priyanka Chopra continues to embarrass us with an embarrassing item song performance. Though her appearance in the film was (thankfully) short, we must all thank the Lord that she did not sing the song. Throughout the not-so-Exotic song, Ranveer Singh is ogling at her, as if thinking ‘What is she doing In My City’.
Deepika Padukone was the only saving grace, looking fabulous through the film. Except for that scene where she performs a very scary voodoo dance on the bed with a smoke pot in her hands – all to seduce Ranveer. SLB really needs to get his erotic seducing tactics right.
In all, ‘Ram-Leela’ is a thoroughly enjoyable film which you can watch while your children grow old, learning the art of being chivalrous in life from Ranveer Singh.