A ticket to a Bansali movie is sure to leave you amazed with admiration. To me, Bansali has always been a better artist than a director. His direction succumbs to his imagination. And his creativity is boundless. It is a subject I can never dare to criticize. When it comes to visual appeal, Bansali knows best. In Ram-Leela he creates an unknown world that has all the ingredients to make your brain do multiple somersaults.
Ironically, in the haste of producing a visually delighting folk musical, this fine creator failed to conceive the prime foundation of a good movie, the script. Imagine a tipsy amalgam of Gangs of Wasseypur and Ishaqzaade. And we discover Ram-Leela! If this was inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, then Bansali was definitely reading it upside down.
So Bansali takes us on an Indian Romeo Juliet gujarati (yes, yawn) ride making us wonder if he is aware about the survival of other communities. But surprisingly unlike his usual movies, the gujjus in this one don’t just eat, sing and fart like the breeze. In here we have bullets! (Oh Joy)
If you’re under the misconception that gujjus are adorable people with voracious appetites and gargantuan appearances, wait till Bansali takes you to Ranjaar; the deathly town of boiling gujjus. A land of fierce men who fire more than they talk. Be it bullets or vulgarity. (Scary)
If you aren’t shitting bricks already, meet the two “extremely” dangerous rivals of Ranjaar; the Rajadis and the Saneras. Both so similar, yet so different. In the first ten minutes you will ‘Spot the Difference’,
Rajadi : Men with guns, women in black with patterned tattoos, hate Sanera
Sanera : Men with guns, women in red with patterned tattoos, hate Rajadi (Mindboggling)
The film begins with gunshots and screaming. The town is burning with rage seeming like a training camp of amateur shooters. Our hero RAM (Ranveer) breaks the ice with an obnoxious number. Choreographed by beggars with poorly conditioned hair and designed with the leftovers from the ladies changing room in circus tents, Ranveer gives his best to demonstrate the experience of an electric shock in his dance.
This is what I mean.
After you survive that, the script tortures you further with a nauseatingly profound insight into the excessive libidos of the Ranjaar dwellers. The main motive of the people is to Shoot and Seduce. Kill and Come. And mind you, they exhibit so with utmost “dignity”
After our Romeo has stuffed his gun into every rajadi woman, he ventures out for true love. (Wow)
But, he is not content yet. He now wishes a taboo experience with the rival. He storms into the Sanera territory on holi to find the only unmarried Sanera, Leela (Guess Who). Now Leela will stun you, not just by looks, but with the desperate devil within the ‘Gav ki Chori’ facade.
Ram sees her and likes her. (Crush) But his emotions deepen when she kisses him bravely amidst a celebratory audience of Senaras (Love, What Crap!)
And so begins a telepathic affair of gunshots, raging hormones and desperation.
They want each other and their families want them apart. They hide, play naughty, trespass and dance in merriment of their new found “love” and break Mallika Sherawat’s long kissing records. (Pity)
The rivals learn of their love and leave no stone unturned to keep them apart. People die, blood sheds, guns empty, screams get louder, women become widows and houses burn to ash.
Amidst the chaos all that despo Leela can think of is making love to Ram. (Unbelievable) And the once atrocious Ram suddenly now plays a saint.
Unfortunately for Leela, the script does not bestow a bonus night. They are separated.
Overtime, Ram and Leela move on in life to represent their people and become DON and JAYALALITA of Rajadi and Sanera. The brawls and killings continue, but the LOU remains the same, irrational.
She loses a finger, he cuts a finger. (So mature)
At this point we wish that everybody dies soon so we can go home.
But after a tiring 2.5 hours, Ram and Leela action to the cries of people and end the madness, sealed with a kiss. And we sprint to the door before another song or gunshot is heard.
Although weak in its very foundation, Ram-Leela does give back a little of your money’s worth. It is an absolute visual treat! Throughout you will be spellbound by the larger than life ambience, sheer grandeur, kinky but aesthetic attires, textured veneer, exciting vibrancy, intense folk music, high spirit ed dancing and audacious passion.
The soundtrack is not earth-shattering, but Nagada Sang Dhol, Laal Ishq and Lahu Muh Lag Gaya create an exceptional magic on the ears. The other compositions can be easily forgotten and unnecessarily remind the audience too much of ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ and ‘Devdas’.
Here’s an visual excerpt of Lahu Muh –
The leads Ranveer and Deepika do complete justice to their erratic and erotic characters to support the tumbling script. Beneath the vulgarity, their dedication is the only reason that keeps us glued to our seats. Through their soaring intensity and beautiful bodies, they subtly create a magnetic pull that is realistic and warm. Sanera Godmother Supriya Pathak is outstanding.
A weirdly vibrant potpourri of blood and hormones, Ram-Leela is sadly just a pretty face with no soul.