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Set in medieval Rajasthan, Queen Padmavati is married to a noble king and they live in a prosperous fortress with their subjects until an ambitious Sultan hears of Padmavati's beauty and forms an obsessive love for the Queen of Mewar.
In the 1970s, Om, an aspiring actor, is murdered, but is immediately reincarnated into the present day. He attempts to discover the mystery of his demise and find Shanti, the love of his previous life.
Shah Rukh Khan,
Bhansali's another self-obsessed film, which is visually stunning with few notable performances but how many times I am supposed to watch the same story again & again.
To begin with RAM-LEELA remains another self-obsessed, colourful but over-stuffed painting on the celluloid with some exceptional brush strokes failing to generate any huge impact on the viewer in totality. The film does have its worth watching moments which are mostly to be found in its first half watching the lead pair together doing their lusty sexual acts (questionably) portrayed as Eternal LOVE. But post intermission it all fizzles out drastically and the director tries to add too many unconvincing twists and turns taking it to an unnerving end sadly. No doubt few magical moments do come in at various intervals, consolidating the director's famous status in the industry. But regrettably they are not something fresh or path-breaking, since either they remind you of a song sequence of his mega hit "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" or of a powerful scene of "Devdas" giving you a seen before kind of feel, repeatedly. The soundtrack too is able to impress only partially with a few good tracks in the initial reels and as the film progresses their excessive use starts becoming annoying, particularly in the second half.
To say the truth, being a powerful love story as per its theme, I found the famous "Bhansali Feel of Love" also missing in the film replaced by lust, sex and double meaning dialogues quite surprisingly. For instance, I may sound to be an 'old timer' but I don't think a girl can easily come forward and give a straight smooch to a boy if he looks good and of her own type just in the first meeting itself in a public place. Moreover the way both the boy and girl start rolling over each other on the bed with several kisses one after another in their second meeting only , for me it wasn't anything close to 'Pure Love' but only lust, sex or body hunger and nothing else.
Interestingly such depiction of love was not there in any of Bhansali's earlier films. The director never showed his love birds in this kind of sexy, lusty avatars ever before. Hence undoubtedly this time Bhansali is more interested in reaching the masses with cheap insertions of a blue film parlour, David Dhawan like rhyming dialogues, guns, bullets, murders, rape attempts and bloodbath, may be in a state of desperation. Yes, he begins well with an exceptional sequence of rivalry between two groups in the first scene and then handles another sequence depicting the same with a superb camera-work & vision. But actually this isn't a Bhansali genre at all and once the love birds get separated, going into the violent mood, the film falls flat with everyone behaving in a confusing manner not suiting their actual character as defined in the first hour.
In the performance section, the actors simply surrender themselves to the vision of their director and the three winners coming out of entire cast are Deepika, Supriya Pathak, and Richa Chadda unarguably. Following the above are Abhimanyu Singh, Gulshan Devaiah, Sharad Kelkarand Barkha Bisht who play their parts well but the director should have given more mileage to Richa Chadda alone. Along with these good performances there are some pretty ordinary ones too including Raza Murad, Homi Wadia and the deliberately added poor item number of Priyanka Chopra. Talking about the lead pair, Deepika once again scores over her hero and she even goes shockingly bold this time as instructed by the so called love-guru i.e. SLB. Ranveer on the other hand, doesn't offer something new, as he plays the same old flirty lover boy with the only difference of his Rajasthani attire and nothing else through a great script too with something novel to share.
Revealing the controversy, SLB's film has nothing to do with either Lord Ram or his sacred Leela at all. So the director had a clear intention of using the phrase "RAM-LEELA" for his film's instant publicity alone and all this controversy could have been easily avoided by using any other name with a regional touch.
Regarding its subject based on Shakespeare's "Romeo-Juliet", I remember watching QAYAMAT SE QAYAMAT TAK when I was in school and then few other films too with the same theme. Plus just recently there was not one but two films made on the same subject namely ISHAQZAADE & ISSAQ, which forces me to think that perhaps except Vishal Bhardwaj, very few have read the other classics of William Shakespeare in reality in our own Bollywood. And that might be the reason why they repeatedly pick the same old, over-used Romeo-Juliet again & again to bore the innocent audience quite arrogantly. However there is one more reason which comes to my mind regarding the use of this same theme again and that is the 'Fear of Rejection'.
Anyway, for me CINEMA means "The Art of Storytelling" and if a film hasn't got a new or interestingly fresh story to tell then it is quite a waste of time despite all the great visuals, drama, music, performances and execution. To elaborate on the same, we have a small life here to live on this planet with a limited capability to read or know all the worth studying literature of the world. So we need the medium of cinema to introduce us to many unknown and unexplored gems written within as well as out of the country following a wider vision. And that is exactly what I search for while watching every new film coming my way in any form.
So with a hope that these reputed film-makers of our industry would soon find their old courage back, I can only recommend RAM-LEELA to the viewers who are more interested in just the bodies and not their souls.
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