Ram-Leela movie review: best lovemaking & flawed climax

I would like to start with a quote by Marilyn Monroe, “We are all born sexual creatures, thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift”. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Romeo and Juliet in Ram-Leela are endowed with the ‘natural gift’ that is visually manifested in the epic beauty of Deepika Padukone and the raw machismo of Ranveer. The transformation of Bhansali’s characters in maturity from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam to Ram-Leela is evident in the Ranveer-Deepika lovemaking sequence, romanticized with the seductive melody of “Ang laga de re”.

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The lovemaking, a breath of fresh air in Bollywood

Ram and Leela’s lovemaking scene is a breath of fresh air in the history of Indian cinema, compared to the usual commercial bedroom scenes in typical Bollywood movies. It is neither overtly erotic nor childishly romantic. It is filmed in the Kamasutra style, with restraint and ease. It is as beautiful as Shakespeare’s love sonnets. Brimming with a rich mix of passion and love out of each pore, the Indian Romeo and Juliet overpower the other on-screen couples in the melodiously fluent, visually fabulous and emotionally flamboyant presentation of their combined ‘natural gift’. It feels like refreshment from the monotony of Imran Hasmi’s crude bedding and kissing scenes.

The epic, erotic & aesthetic beauty of Leela

The other highlight of the movie is the epic, erotic and aesthetic beauty of Bhansali’s Juliet and Deepika’s Leela. With all his creative sensibilities, imaginative powers and sensuous feels, Bhansali has created and shaped her. She floats like a cloud that is sometimes dense, sometimes light, sometimes dark, and sometimes bright across the canvas of colors. Leela is so sporty and dazzling that I would like to describe her as William Wordsworth’s Daffodils. If Yash Chopra was the discoverer of romantic beauty, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the creator of sensuous beauty in Indian cinema.

The forcefully scripted climax

Besides the unsuitability of the popcorn-flavored item number starring Priyanka Chopra in the ethnic frames of the story, what eminent film critics like Subhash K. Jha has not noticed is the forcefully scripted climax of Bhansali’s Ram-Leela. The order for the massacre of the Rajadi community signed by Leela unknowingly leads to the climax where the Rajadi people, left alive, become thirsty for Leela’s blood considering her responsible for the ultimate violence caused to them. When the Rajadis are burning with lofty flames of wrath for vengeance, Leela’s mother (played by Supriya Pathak) sends a message of peace (like a bucket of water to extinguish the raging fire) that the Sanera community and the Rajadi community would celebrate the Dussehra (ceremonial burning of Ravana’s effigy) together. It is an unconvincing effort by Bhansali’s scriptwriters to hasten the climax. The sudden (positive) change – the transformation of Supriya Pathak’s Lady Macbeth-ian character (merciless) into a natural woman of blood and flesh, love and affection is unconvincing, too.

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