First Look: Ram Leela

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BOOYOW! Or should I say, BONK! CHICKA! BONK! Romeo and Juliet just got sexy with Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s Ram Leela! Since the poster dropped earlier this year, I’ve been waiting to see what on earth this film was about or at least how Bhansali would venture to retell a story that never seems to get old. Therefore, I was ecstatic to wake up to news of a press launch and trailer drop on the 16th.

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Monday evening in Mumbai, Ranveer Singh, leading lady Deepika Padukone and Bhansali revealed Ram Leela with jovial poses, a few longing stares and a couple’s director’s kiss. From the preview alone, this film will be classic Bhansali saturated in a vibrant color palette. For he is the guy that gave us classics like Devdas (2002) and Black (2005), not to mention (but of course, I will) my all time Bhansali favorite Hum DIl De Chuke Sanam(1999). This marks three years since he’s been away from the director’s chair, his last project being Guzaarish (2010), starring Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan.

With Ram Leela, Bhansali will attempt to convey his interpretation Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with a Gujarati setting and flavor. Yes, yes, we’ve seen it all before but incredibly, I’ve encountered a couple films lately that have taken the model and made it heart-wrenching and moving, in ways I no longer thought were possible (*cough* Ishaqzaade).

Singh and Padukone play our titular Romeo and Juliet of 2013, but they don’t come across at all as youngsters caught in the throes of family woes and wars but rather willing and vocal participants. Their love story seems to be a sweet and solid one, that begins with a playful flirting, that develops to a sensual heat. But as always the real world encroaches and collapses that smokey hue and the sparks fly even higher!

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Chemistry is one of those things I believe is all relative, a little overrated, and in most cases, has more to do with an actor doing his or her job over anything else, therefore, it’s more expected than lauded in my book. But with all that said, Singh and Padukone melted a speck of my irises during this trailer. Whether they are walking, talking or balking they brim and that elevates the premise that much more for me. For, this story is one that centers on the connection and bond of these characters, therefore, the selling point is the desire to have them fight for that relationship, beyond familial or territorial concerns and obligations. All romances require the viewer to root for its pairing but this story has built-in consequences and resolutions that demand an impenetrable investment in the couple to journey against all odds. And thankfully, Singh and I seem to agree, for Indian Express quoted him saying, “It [Ram Leela] is a love story like Romeo and Juliet and it forms the core of the film. I think chemistry is the driving force of the film. I hope it works.”

Like I said, I don’t see this being a star-crossed, innocent lovers romance, but rather a grown-up version of a die-hard premise, therefore, I wonder if Bhansali has another twist in store. This idea actually excites me even more, for Romeo and Juliet is one of my least favorite Shakespearean plays and notions. Also, I still hold out hope that Padukone will renew a faint warming to her on my end. Singh on the other hand, has yet to disappoint, therefore, it’s no surprise he has engrossed himself in the Gujarati culture and dialect for this role. I am a huge proponent of his work but it doesn’t hurt that the man’s also virtually liquid in this film, which makes all fan girls everywhere terribly happy.

Here’s hoping Bhansali births another classic with Ram Leela on November 15.

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[all stills courtesy of Indian Express]

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