Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013)
 गोलियों की रासलीला रामलीला (2013).
This is my second Indian film, and first Bollywood movie, that I’m critiquing on my blog.

Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in 'Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela'

Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela’

On Sunday, 16th of February, 2014, I watched Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013), when it was shown on, the cable network, Sony. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed this modern day (the modernity of the period set in this movie is pretty ambiguous) Bollywood adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic romantic play, Romeo and Juliet, written between 1591 and 1594.

Deepika Padukone won the Best Actress trophy at the 59th Filmfare awards 2014

Deepika Padukone won the Best Actress trophy at the 59th Filmfare awards 2014

Before I start on pros of this movie, let me finish off the cons, the negativity, that should have, but thankfully didn’t necessarily, ruin the movie for me.
Starting off, the setting. Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, would have actually worked better if it were set at least a couple of centuries ago or more. Especially since the Romeo and Juliet style of family rivalry, run with ‘Goliyon’ (bullets in Hindi) instead of swords (which was good), along with beautifully magnificent ancient costumes (great), along with everyone speaking on mobile phones (what the #@ç§ ???), kind of made it a bit unrealistic. Even though it was most probably set in a fictional village, in the actual Western Indian state of Gujarat, with one sequence in the actual lake city, Udaipur, in the North-Western Indian state of Rajasthan. Then, on and off, there were few men dressed in bellbottoms, late 60’s & 70’s, with mobile phones, anyone??? And there were plenty of secret pornographic DVD’s in a refrigerator, as the protagonist of the movie, runs a blue-film parlour. So basically it was the mobile phones, DVD’s and some sequences with the latest low waist jeans and boots that set it in the 21st century. The bells made it to mid-20th century, and the Rajasthani/Gujarati traditional, expensively mirror worked, style costumes; with a village ruled by guns, and the opposing mafia style Godfather and Godmother; and the story, made the whole setting feel like some ancient violent period within opposing clans, which was the next best thing about the movie.

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra

So what I loved about it, what really worked.
The best thing about the movie was the – acting, acting, acting. The cast was superb. Ranveer Singh as Ram, whose films I had never seen till date, was excellent, as was Deepika Padukone as Leela. The two shared a great on screen chemistry, and were perfectly cast as the lustful lovers. Romeo and Juliet, was about two innocent teenage lovers, while here the two mature imperfect protagonists were more Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’ Hara from Gone with the wind (1939) than the innocence of Romeo and Juliet. Ram was more Rhett Butler, but Leela was less Scarlett O’Hara. Even the posters felt a replica of the classic Gone with the Wind posters. The whole supporting cast was excellent in their respective roles, but the icing on the cake was Supriya Pathak, as the Godmother of the Sanera clan (a fictional clan), and mother of Leela (Ram belonged to the opposing fictional clan, known as the Rajari, the younger brother of the head of the Rajari’s). Pathak was brilliant, I’ve never seen her do such a negative role, the woman was quite intimidating and scary. She felt like Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972). She deservedly bagged the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ award at the 59th Filmfare awards held last month, along with a Best Actress win for Deepika Padukone.

Supriya Pathak Left: with her award Right: playing 'Godmother' in the movie

Supriya Pathak
Left: with her award
Right: playing ‘Godmother’ in the movie

Along with the superb acting talent rounded up for this movie; and the beautiful costumes, the bright colours, the sets, the set decor, the cinematography; were the songs and dances that blended well into the movie. A rarity in today’s Hindi cinema. The surprise package was the special appearance of Priyanka Chopra, a superb actress herself, in a sultry avatar, who appeared for a dance number, where she buttons up her blouse (an anti-strip tease, if you may). Love the songs, love the story, love the movie, despite all it’s flaws.
Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela was nominated for seven Filmfare awards, and took home three, including for ‘Best Choreography’. One of the better films directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, since Black (2005)
A must watch for any Bollywood fan. Near Excellence!!! 9/10

नुवन सेन
Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Goliyon Ki Raasleela Gone with the Wind——————————————————————————————————————————————————–