Ram Leela is an Indianized, modernized version of Romeo and Juliet, starring Deepika Paadukone and Ranveer Singh in the lead roles, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Leela and Ram are members of mobster families who have been arch enemies for 500 years, yet they fall in love and this changes life as people knew it for everyone in the village.
All technical aspects of Ram Leela, like cinematography, choreography, costumes, dialogue in verses as a nod to Shakespeare, are superb. It is a joy to watch Deepika and Ranveer put their acting muscles (and in Raveer's case, his literal muscles :D) to good use. Their chemistry is remarkable, these two set the screen on fire whenever they are in the frame together.
A big shoutout to SLB for promoting gender equality on many different levels. First off, Ranveer is semi or even full on shirtless all the time. And shallow as it may be to say this, Ranveer is very very nice to look at :D (I wish he hadn't had a beard, but the gorgeous long hair made up for that and Ram Leela makes good use of his, and Deepika's, hair. Bollywood, I love you for your flying hair scenes). Ranveer's introduction song is a non at all sublte invitation to drool over him, an item song for the females and gays amongst us. So thank you for this, SLB.
|Yes, he IS taking off his shirt :)|
On a more sophisticated level, women aren't damsels in distress or meek homemakers, they rule, case in point Leela's mother, who is a female don who puts the fear of god (or rather the goddess) in the men she commands. Leela herself is quite the feisty girl.
So did I totally love Ram Leela? No, I didn't. I had major problems with the actions the lead characters took and more importantly to figure out their motivation for doing certain things. I first thought it might be a cultural issue, Desi fine points I was missing, but a conversation on twitter has revealed I'm not the only one who's baffled by certain things. I can forgive and ignore logical faults very easily in a movie when it's about technical aspects or continuity, etc., but I do need to be able to understand (not necessarily relate to) why the characters do what they do. I will now go into detail of what confused me, which means:
MAJOR SPOILERS! DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE WATCHED THIS MOVIE!
|Here's another shirtless screen shot of Ranveer, just because ;)|
First off, I'm not into Romeo and Juliet all that much, but they have the good excuse of having been over-hormonal teenagers, which is not the case for Ram and Leela. Leela's brother kills Ram's brother in an accident due to male stupidity and Ram immediately shoots him (on purpose). What transpires when he meets Leela shortly after that is this:
Leela: "You shot my brother!"
Leela: "Oh, ok, nevermind, let's screw, you look like Ranveer after all and you're super hot and semi naked all the time."
So yeah, Ranveer is really hot, but I'd have expected her to mourn her brother and be pissed at Ram for longer than 2 seconds. No matter how much I loved a guy or how hot he was, shooting a family member would be a deal breaker. But maybe that's just me.
And the second big thing that irked me was the ending. I get that killing off your lead pair is supposed to add drama and depth, but in this case, it was so very un-necessary, since everyone changed their opinon and was perfectly happy to let them live happily ever after and rule together. So their legacy is they turned their village into a peaceful paradise, but it would have been the same outcome if they had lived. Their mutual murder/suicide wasn't heroic and self-sacrificing (especially since they didn't know that their love had reconciled the village), it was stupid and selfish.
FINAL VERDICT: Watching Ram Leela was enjoyable for many reasons, but it missed the chance to get on my list of fave movies due to its lead characters' stupidity.