Maara maari chumma chati

MUMBAI: For Ram-Leela that changed overnight to Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram Leela, Sanjay Leela Bhansali takes his inspiration from Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet and sets it up in the background of Kutch region in Gujarat. This gives the director an opportunity to add all the colour he wishes to the film which has always been his desire.

To depict the warring families, the film borrows from the story of the real life lady don of Saurashtra, Santokben Jadeja (whose life was portrayed on screen by Shabana Azmi in Vinay Shukla’s 1999 film Godmother), played here by Supriya Pathak Kapoor, which accounts for the head of one family don. On the other hand, we have Homi Wadia from stage leading his clan which basically consists of shepherds. While the Jadejas are Rajputs and are known to wield swords and carry guns, Rabaris don’t carry weapons except for the occasional sickle tied to a pole to cut tree leaves for the herd. The town folks, supposedly from historical town of Anjar, are shown to have only two options all day: shoot bullets or drink booze. In short, this is not how things happen in Gujarat (or even Bihar or UP for that matter) and is all just the filmmaker’s imagination.

Producer: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Kishore Lulla.

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Supriya Pathak Kapoor, Richa Chadda, Gulshan Devaiah, Abhimanyu Shekhar Singh, Homi Wadia, Raza Murad and an item song by Priyanka Chopra.

This town is occupied by two warring factions, Saneda (Jadeja) and Rajadi (Rabari), whose enmity goes back 500 years. The men as well as women on both sides carry arms and are always game for a shootout. Traditionally, both sides avoid stepping into the other’s area because when they do, there is always bloodshed. However, there is macho hero, Ranveer Singh, who seems to have been through all the girls on his side of town and decides to venture out into the enemy zone. It is Holi and easy to hide behind the colours. Once there, he and Deepika Padukone spot each other; it is not love at first sight but rather lust at first sight! Thereafter, both are inseparable, at least physically. They love to cling to each other and the name of their kind of love is called smooch and neck.

The pair is very bold about their romance and it is not long before it becomes obvious to the girl’s brother and mother, Supriya. It is time to arrange a quick fix wedding for Deepika with an NRI of her own community. The plan is to keep him as ghar jamaai. After all, Supriya is a don and even NRIs have to be scared of her. It is these kinds of things that take the film out of the hands of its makers as they go on adding up as the film moves into its second half.

Howsoever they may lust for each other, they won’t celebrate honeymoon till they tie the knot.  So they decide to elope to some temple town, get married and check into a lodge to consummate their marriage. So far so good but the fodder for the second half has to be created and thus Ranveer is betrayed by his own friends and Deepika’s people catch up with them.

Post interval, the romance is over and so are the light moments. Instead there is some forced melodrama which is not interesting. The story is now about people betraying their own respective dons. Gulshan Devaiah wants to become the don instead of Supriya but when she is down with a bullet wound she appoints Deepika in her place. Why, in that case, did Devaiah bring Deepika back? By now the film is all about creating situations for crowd scenes to fill the small bylanes of the location and, hence, the screen. The ending is on expected lines but the approaches to that is rather long winding and tedious as there are only crowds on the screen with no one knowing who is on whose side!

Bhansali has been able to make the film colourful, keep the first half light, full of songs, inspired choreography and comic moments with a generous dose of dialogue that is double meaning at times and just vulgar at others. Bhansali also takes the credit for the music score in the film. However, almost all songs are set to the tunes of Gujarati folk songs but with richer orchestration and have mainly sectional appeal. Songs are too loud to say much about the lyrics. Locations are interesting and the cinematography enhances their effect. The film loses pace in the second half, which needed to be trimmed heavily.

Deepika is excellent in light as well as emotional scenes while Ranveer has been constant since his first film. The only change here is he has grown muscles instead of expressions. Supriya is at her natural best with Richa Chadda holding her own.

Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela has healthy opening response with the best being in Western India and weak spots being single screens, especially in the Hindi belt. (The collections improved after Sachin Tendulkar, playing his 200th and last test in Mumbai, got out.) The film will have varied outcomes in different circuits yet generally satisfactory.

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