Posts Tagged ‘SLB’

Ram-Leela (and I am not going to bother with the long form name forced on it!) could easily have been christened Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam 2.

Not in the sense of being a sequel, but having a whole lot of similarities – from a tale of romance, from a proud parent who will not allow the daughter to marry someone she loves (including the SAME dialogue, “tum mera garoor ho..”!), from the Saurashtra / Kutch base of the story, the songs and the dances, the colours and the music, the vivid pictorials of the desert, etc. I absolutely loved (continue to do so, in fact) Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, and considering that backdrop, I also liked Ram-Leela, though of course, it was nowhere close to the original HDDCS.

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Highlights of the film for me, in 7 points below:

1. The film has the Sanjay Leela Bhansali stamp all over. In fact, you can see it in the credits to begin with. From editing to screenplay, production, direction, and even the music, its Sanjay Leela Bhansali all over. The rich sets, the colourful clothes, folk music and dance, etc. all bear his stamp.. and his class!

2. The story / plot / theme has been done before. SLB gives credit for inspiration to Romeo and Juliet in the titles. That may be the case, but there is again a unique way of presenting the same plot / story, and which SLB does well. In addition to HDDCS, there are shades of Virasat, QSQT among others..

3. My forefathers come from Saurashtra. I have not spent any decent time in Saurashtra, but I am fascinated by the place, and like in HDDCS, SLB brings out the richness of the culture really well. I love the traditional clothing (of men and women), the music (nagara and dhol to the fore), the dances (yes, amazing garbas), the beautiful visuals of the desert stretching out far and wide, the language, the names, etc. All of these tug at my heart, as there are few films that actually focus on Gujarat and Saurashtra and Kutch, to any extent.

4. Supriya Pathak has a brilliant role. She’s clearly an actress who has been grossly under-utilised by industry. After noteworthy supporting roles in films like Bazar, Sarkar, Wake Up Sid and the slapstick comedy, Khichdi (on TV and on the big screen), she’s got a big opportunity here, and plays an extremely strong character of Dhankorba, very competently. (I remember my childhood days, and vacations spent at Balodyan near 5-gardens, run by Supriya’s mama, Dr. Vipin Gandhi, and where, I had the occasion to work with Supriya, on some puppet shows that we did together!).

5. SLB ground his teeth with Vidhu Vinod Chopra, assisting him on films like Parinda and 1942-A Love Story. One thing I’ve admired about Vidhu Vinod Chopra is his ability to get his heroines look their best (for the films he directed). SLB has learnt that well. From Manisha in Khamoshi to Aishwarya and Madhuri and others, SLB excels in bringing out the inner beauty of his heroines. Does so again with Deepika here. And also makes her emote well, and dance really well too!

6. In Ranveer, we have a solid actor, who puts is hard work and dedication to do justice to his character. Had liked him a lot in Band Baaja Baraat, and he was not lacking here as well.

7. I am sure SLB and team would have agonised about the end. And I am not sure if they picked the best option. Like in case of Sholay, the end will continue to be debated for this film as well. As I don’t want to spoil it for those who have not seen it yet, won’t say more here.

In summary, I would say that SLB has made better films in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (his best), Black and Khamoshi. But would rate Ram-Leela as a good one too, perhaps as his 4th best one. I never like Devdas as a movie that much, though I had enjoyed individual performances there!

At a time when decent movies are rare to come by, I would rate Ram-Leela as one that makes the cut, and would recommend seeing it.

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Confession: I am an ardent fan of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and my views may be influenced by this fandom and admiration for his work 🙂

He took us to the beaches of Goa in Khamoshi. And then to small town Saurashtra in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Both were still close to ‘reality’. I will skip Devdas, the one aberration from SLB!! From Black to Saawariya and now to Guzaarish, Sanjay Leela Bhansali takes us beyond reality. To sets that have a sense of fantasy about them, to places which are imaginary in nature, and yet not quite Harry-Potteresque..

So although Guzaarish is supposed to be based in Goa, it is a Goa that most of us may not be familiar with – not the house, not the people and their dresses, not exactly the beaches-and-feni Goa! So it may as well have been some European country.

But to me, this mystique about the location, is a part of the enigma of SLB. Harry Potter fans love the magic there, I love the magic of SLB’s vision, his fantasies, the mystical world he creates and shows us.

So the first thing I love about the film are the awesome visual effects. The detailing in the house, the wooden floor, the wall with the various frames, the ceiling with the frames and the mirror, the poster bed, the chairs in the room, the radio station with the old style equipments… creates an impact. Also the few outdoor scenes – the time they get into the car and drive by the countryside. The visuals are captured beautifully.

The subject matter itself, about euthanasia, generates enough debate and hence an interest in the treatment given to it. And all in all, it is a balanced treatment. For one who has been reduced to being a vegetable, the choice to die as much as he has the choice to live. Makes a lot of sense.

SLB gets some good performances from the supporting actors. His old favorite, Shenaz Patel, delivers a spunky performance. We have a surprise in the form of Suhel Seth. While we have seen him dramatize his TV shows, it is pleasantly surprising to see him convert that drama to real acting, in his role of Hrithik’s doc.

I have been disappointed by recent performances of Aishwarya. But back in the safe hands of SLB (after HDDCS), she comes up with a good performance, as the extremely devoted and dedicated nurse, serving Hrithik, for 12 long years!

But that brings us to Hrithik. And the film is all about him.

He is absolutely outstanding. Sad for all those actors who had good runs in films that came from January to November, 2010. Because they may have nursed ambitions of winning awards for the year. But late in the year, comes Guzaarish, and a Hrithik performance that is a class apart. Award-winning, stunning, masterful.

He emotes brilliantly, just with his face. Happiness, sheer joy, laughter, anger, depression, tenacity, fight.. these are all conveyed through the eyes and the twitching of the muscles of the face. Now that is acting.

And this is supported by some fabulous voice modulations while delivering the dialogs. He speaks in different tones, at different times. And which is part of his acting. When a dashing, action hero is rendered to ‘deliver’ his performance with just his face and his voice, all of that energy and skill comes to the fore. Brilliant may yet be an understated word to describe his performance!

The few flashback scenes when he is shown to be performing his magic tricks on stage, only remind us of the amazing physical skills that he undoubtedly possesses, the flexibility of his body, the fantastic dancer that he is! And he sings too.. a skill discovered in this film.

So as I said, other actors of this year, are only competing now for the second spot, in terms of the performance of the year!!

And of course, the film is finally all about the director. And as mentioned at the outset, I am a HUGE fan of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s. And he shows again, in this film, why I like his work so much. An absolute penchant for detail, striving for perfection, beautiful editing, getting excellent performances from his cast, all that makes him as good as he is. He conveys his vision beautifully.

And this time, he composes the music too. And does a great job for a first time. We are aware that in all his films, he participates deeply into the music creation. This time, he removes the middleman!! And wields the music baton himself, and creates some magical tunes.

Yes, clearly, I loved the film. And I would highly recommend it…