'Goliyon ki Raasleela... Ram-Leela' is the most entertaining Bhansali film of the decade, as of now. The film brims with a true sense of aesthetic, that decorates the film with textures and colours. The film features the decor you want to see on the screens for a cinematic experience, with sweeping, swaying costumes and brimming with productivity drama.
But what's more that this love story adapted from William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is that everything else is realistic and it uses real gore and sex, something which you never get to see in a Bhansali film.
The performances are also playful and superb- while Ranveer Singh as Ram might be the best performance in mainstream cinema this year, and Deepika Padukone is joyous, cherishing and amazing as Leela. Supriya Pathak's Dhankor is very fantastical, making one of the best supporting characters in Hindi cinema. Richa Chadda proves mainstream is her thing with an outstanding performance as Raseela.
But what makes 'Ram-Leela' work is its unhealthy entertainment and amazingly working sounds. Yes, the lines are cheeky and the emotional highs don't lift off as much as the frequent sexual intimacies, but it still works. I am going with 3.5 out of 5 and sure that it is one of the best Hindi films of this year.
This is not exactly Bhansali's comeback or even fourth best work (the best being Devdas, Hum Dil Chuke Sanam, Khamoshi and Black - in that order), but there is a feral chemistry between the lead actors which drew me into buying this version of the classic. In my book, Deepika Padukone proves her mettle with this film. She is pitch perfect for the role. Ranvir Singh may not be a lady-charmer like Ranbir Kapoor, but he is sincere and endearing as the fearless Romeo. Visually, the film is beautiful in parts but not flowing eye-candy like 'Hum Dil De Chuke..' or 'Devdas', even though it's the same excess of fictional locales and costumes in Gujarat. Some of the scenes are straight out of Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film 'Romeo and Juliet' - like Leela leaning out of her balcony that overlooks a pool, to talk to Ram and some are repeat Sanjay Leela fare - like Garba and dhols.
Supriya Pathak deserves the best villain award this year for her impeccable performance and accent. Rarely do we see an intimidating female antagonist in Bollywood, so that was greatly refreshing. The story feels baseless from the beginning and struggles to keep you invested till the end. But I did care about Ram and Leela.
There are two kind of directors in one Sanjay Leela Bhansali. First makes silent noise in Khamoshi, Black and Guzaarish. Second one overindulges in Devdas, Saawariya and latest Ram-Leela. It was only Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam where he mixed lavishness with subtle emotions beautifully. Ram-Leela comes after he failed to impress us with Saawariya and Guzaarish. So he went back to Devdas style and gave his own interpretation of Romoeo-Juliet love and fights. He does four things right with six things wrong leaving you dissatisfied at the end. There are colorful sets, excellent choreography, tight direction and supreme performances by confident Ranveer Singh, gorgeous Deepika Padukone and my favorite extraordinary Supriya Pathak. At the same time, there are few extra songs, too many twists in second half, few plot holes, too much of gun sound, movie being at least twenty minutes extra long and overdoing many scenes in order to make an impression of epic proportions. No doubt Sanjay understands cinematic art to the core but he tries to impress too hard. You are left amazed by his work in some scenes but then you are completely baffled in few scenes. At the end, you are drained out so much that you don't feel like appreciating even the good parts.