Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela (2013) Film Review

Inspired by Romeo and Juliet’s unforgettable tale, Sanjay Leela Bhansali brings us a new take to the love story in Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela, short for Ram-Leela.

In a small city of Ranjaar based in Gujarat, two opposing tribes; Rajadi and Sanera survive by thrusting hate on each other and approaching violence. The Rajadi’s and Sanera’s have this strong enmity in which has been lasting for 500 years. Relying on guns and thrashing of beer bottles is their idea of revenge. Yet Rajadi Ram and Sanera Leela cause a twist in the usual battle. After bumping into each other at the festival of Holi, Leela welcomes Ram in a very lustful way. A kiss on the lips is what surprises Ram and automatically they cannot hold their feelings for each other. Being the youngest incentives in their family circles, Ram and Leela don’t believe in societal concepts and regardless of their barrier of being a Rajadi and a Sanera, they fall in love otherwise. Their secret acquaintances and passionate moments of desire don’t last too long. Thus when the tribes acknowledge their closeness, war begins.

Indeed, Ram-Leela is a passionate love story between two pure individuals whom simply want peace. Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone ultimately portray such a realistic relationship between Ram and Leela, where you can not help but thrive for their triumph. Padukone presents us with a very passionate yet powerful character. As Leela she proves her true love for Ram, where she would sacrifice anything. Going against her Ba (Surpriya Pathak) and believing in fate, she sets of on this romantic adventure which is injected with moments of despair and violence.

Likewise, Singh ultimately is shown in the light of a Don, merely a womaniser and owner of a gruesome business. His playable persona is overcome when his eyes meet Leela, thus we finally see his truthful personality shine, where he looks at no other girl in the same way. Ram fights for peace; repetitively he raises the question of why there is such binary between two tribes and how a final handshake needs to be approached to end this war. Yet his heroic behaviour and moral thinking is not liked by his fellow Rajadi’s. Unfortunately, being trapped by an unlawful trick, Ram ends up becoming further away from Leela. Though Ram is brave enough to go against the world, where his masculinity is heightened in the fight scenes.

Bhansali and team create such a voyeuristic tale which not only moves you, yet produces various emotions. For example, a scene played twice yet in different parts of the film can have such remarkable effects on the audience. We are confronted with disastrous decisions, intense drama complimented with sparks of sweet romance. The story gradually unfolds where Ram-Leela encounter societal concepts of force marriage, traditional norms and values, and this aim of winning. Leela’s Ba in particular pushes this portrayal of an alpha-female, where her assertive attitude and may I say terrifying dialect is stunningly performed. Pathak’s every word is absorbed; where on screen she owns power, everyone dances beneath her feet.

Ram-Leela has a fast paced feel to it, where the momentum of love-at-first-sight happens quite quickly than anticipated. Along with a strong cast whom deliver their lines, what highly pushes the narrative is the beautiful shots and scenes. Cinematographer S.Ravi Varman memorably captures exquisite shots ofthe village and landscapes which pleases the eye. The culture of India together with bold colours are significantly focused upon, giving the audience a stunning visual experience. A few shots in particular that I admired were the extreme close up of the broken glass, blood and flies. The depth of field technique was used quite frequently, where the long paced shot of Rasleela exiting the scene through the corridor whilst being out of focus, was beautiful. Moreover, Varman incorporated slow-motioned shots where fine detail of water droplets, dust and candle light was gratifying.

Overall, Ram-Leela is a strong film with a powerful storyline and great cast. Even though the narrative is fairly predictable, the relationship between younger generation Ram and Leela is likeable. Ram-Leela is beautiful to watch, where Deepika’s dance numbers are phenomenal, giving you a taste in celebratory festivals of Navrati and Holi. The choreography and musical score are superb, making you feel like getting involved. Having said that, the only crucial disappointment with the Film was Priyanka Chopra’s unnecessary item number.

The first half of Ram-Leela is stronger than the second half, yet don’t let hope fool you. We are left feeling moved and a strong moral to take home with us.

My Rating: 8.5/10
Written by: Meera Darji

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