Ram Leela Review – Now I Can Die in Peace For I’ve Seen a Bollywood Class Act

SI Thrilled – Ram Leela Scores Big at BO

I loath 99.9% of Bollywood movies.

The Bollywood affliction of a sophomoric story with zero visual appeal, a bunch of jackasses going through the motions of acting, 4 lifeless songs, 1 awful item number, and 40-minutes of filming in London, NYC or Holland drives me to a devilish fury.

So I had much reason to be pleased with the Bollywood aberration Ram Leela.

The genius of Ram Leela director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is to Indianize and contemporarize Shakespeare’s eternal love saga Romeo and Juliet, and meld it with nonpareil visual imagery, decent acting and above average music.

And Bhansali does all this by working within the constraining framework of Bollywood where song, dance and love are de rigueur.

Visually Stunning

If there’s one element in Ram Leela that towers over everything else, it’s the eye-popping visual appeal.

Every frame, and SI means literally every frame, leaps out at you and is a visual feast so unlike any seen in an Indian film before (I wonder if Selvaraghavan’s upcoming Tamil film Irandam Ulagam can match the visual appeal of Ram Leela).

Indoor or outdoor, be it costumes, background setting or adroit use of lighting,  Ram Leela is a stunning riot of colors that left yours truly bedazzled.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the rara avis Bollywood director who recognizes the basic wisdom that movies are, above all, a  visual medium.

Familiar Story

Ram Leela borrows from the essence of the bard’s Romeo and Juliet – the feuding families and star-crossed lovers – and embellishes it with the artifice of our Indian mythological hero Ram.

Given that the Rajadi and Sanera families have been at loggerheads for five centuries in a lawless Gujarat village on the Pakistan frontier, it’s safe to assume a romance between two members of the different families is a chronicle of death foretold.

No soppy, happy endings here. And I, for one, was glad of that.

Every member of the Ram Leela cast delivers a powerful performance.

Supriya Pathak, India’s Meryl Streep,  is dynamite as the ruthless chief of the Sanera family who doesn’t hesitate to chop off the finger of even her daughter for defying her!

I found little to complain about the performances of the film’s lead pair Ranveer Singh (Ram) and Deepika Padukone (Leela). They seem to have a good, easy chemistry.

Of course, there’s stuff to complain about. Hey, it’s a Bollywood film after all!

Leela falling into her innamorato Ram’s arms, soon after her brother’s murder at his hands is insanity.

While the visual appeal in the film is strong, I am always disappointed with the absence of innovative camera angles in Indian movies. Ram Leela is no different in this respect.

And the item number featuring some two bit *&%^ was below par!

Its flaws notwithstanding, by Indian standards Ram Leela is a class act. No less!

Ram Leela is the one-in-a-thousand Bollywood movie worth watching, the best Hindi film I’ve seen in a decade.

Related Stories:
SI Thrilled – Ram Leela Scores Big at BO

25 Responses to "Ram Leela Review – Now I Can Die in Peace For I’ve Seen a Bollywood Class Act"

  1. unknownvirus   November 15, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    I wasn’t a big fan of deepika until I saw her in the trailer of Ram Leela during the aarambam movie.

    She looked uber hot and even though the music looks like recycled SLB songs, the picturization of every frame is jaw dropping.

    The only other visually appealing movie that crosses my mind is the 2002 Chinese movie Hero.

    Will watch Ram Leela over the weekend.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    The music was alright but does not fall in the extraordinary category

  2. araj   November 16, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Are you in your right mind while writing this sir?

    Even without watching this, i can safely say this would be a lousy movie to the hilt…..

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: Are you in your right mind while writing this sir?

    Sweetie, other than groaning under the yoke of unending sobriety (imposed on me because of health reasons), I’m as alright as one can be under the circumstances! 😉

  3. Dr.Logu   November 17, 2013 at 4:47 am

    Are you aware of Sachin’s retirement???


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    I watched until he got out!

    Watching his speech in your link now.

    • boopalanj   November 17, 2013 at 9:36 am

      I think Sachin should take a philanthropic route post-retirement like Imran Khan (not politics though).

      That will add more meaning to the Bharat Ratna.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      You write: I think Sachin should take a philanthropic route post-retirement like Imran Khan (not politics though).

      Lo, here come the free advisers to Sachin Tendulkar.

      For 25-years, a billion Indians advised Sachin on what shots to play and what shots to avoid. Now they want to guide him on what to do with his life post-cricket.

      Sir, Sachin also wants to know where he should start his philanthropic activities, when to start, how to start, with whom to start etc.

      Besides philanthropy, please do not hesitate to provide your valuable career guidance to Sachin on other issues like entropy, misanthropy, encephalopathy, homeopathy etc.

      Do not delay in sharing your priceless wisdom because Sachin is waiting for your e-mail, continuously hitting the refresh button on his gmail account. 😉

      • boopalanj   November 17, 2013 at 10:45 am

        Oh yes, I’ll surely do.

        At least I won’t start a blog to share the priceless wisdom and cover who should / should n’t grope who, which spice should go into dum biriyani, which drink people should take, and which hotel should maintain a good toilet 😉

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        You write: At least I won’t start a blog

        When Brahma created the world, he divided it into two categories – Blog Followers (99.9%) and Blog Creators (0.1%).

        • boopalanj   November 17, 2013 at 11:15 am

          [Portion of comment came out garbled…Either quality of WordPress is going down or commenters can’t type properly] 😉

          By the way, have you decided on Moto G?


          No price plans are announced for India yet, but should be cheap, comparable to their Samsung counterparts. Seems, it releases on two waves and at the same time for US and India?

          SearchIndia.com Responds:

          Moto G is about 2-months from launch here.

          I’ll consider it depending upon carrier support!

          Apparently, there are spectrum issues also to be taken into account for carrier support.

          I’m a little unhappy over the frequent App crashes on my iPhone 5s….I rarely ever experienced a crash on iPhone 4.

  4. sam   November 17, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Watched the movie yesterday, was okay, too much violence and very long

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. You write: Watched the movie yesterday….too much violence


    More than what happens on the streets of India’s capital city Delhi where people insert iron rods into a girl’s private parts, gang-rape her, scoop her uterus out and kill her?

    More violence than that?

    2. You write: Watched the movie yesterday…very long

    Even a good porn movie extends to 60-minutes! 😉

    You should consider Vine – I hear the maximum length of a video on Vine is 6-seconds!

    3. You write: Watched the movie yesterday….was okay

    As I’ve said on countless occasions, quality is wasted on Indians since they can’t recognize it having been exposed to crap for several centuries. The Good Taste gene is missing in the Indian DNA.

    • sam   November 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      Does public violence justify violence in cinema?

      Tell me, does any English film extend for more than 2 hrs maximum.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      1. You write: Does public violence justify violence in cinema?

      Sweetie, art imitates life.

      Violence is inherent in humans, the basis of every society from times immemorial to this day. Law has merely clamped down on it a bit.

      Why do the oppressed engage in violence? Because violence yields results. Why does the state/police suppress violence? Because it yields results in curbing violence by others.

      Violence is the other side of the civilization coin!

      In any case, there’s absolutely no reason not to show violence, incest, love, rape, war, betrayal or any other aspect of human behavior on screen.

      The question of justifying or not justifying something like violence in cinema make no sense to me. It’s up to the director and the writer! The role of Moviegoers is restricted merely to voting on the display of violence with their wallets.

      2. You write: Tell me, does any English film extend for more than 2 hrs maximum.

      Tell me, who in their right mind would paint a church ceiling and that too in an uncomfortable position with the head tilted, at an odd angle, upwards day in and day out for several years?

      Only Michelangelo. I’m certain that many of Michelangelo’s contemporaries told him to paint on a small piece of canvas or paint portraits because they yield more money from rich benefactors.

      Honey, Great art has always been distinguished by non-conformity.

      Apart from talent, non-conformity has been the single-most reliable bedrock of Great Art, not banal stuff like length of painting, height, width, duration of film etc.

  5. Madmax673   November 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Off topic: A co-worker of my friend got something like this in her wedding clause “If Sylvester Stallone ever shows up, their marriage can be annulled”

    Not verbatim as I didn’t see it but I strongly passed my recommendation out for her to watch “The Party at Kitty and Stud’s”.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Where can I get The Party at Kitty and Stud’s?

    I want to see the Ramming before Rambo! 😉

    • Madmax673   November 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      How about Rocking before Rocky!

      It has bad reviews in Netflix. The DVD availability date is unknown. You can save it for later though 😉

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Actually, I don’t even have NFLX now.

      I subscribe only to Hulu, which I have been paying for since the last 6 months but hardly ever watch! 🙁

      I spend more time on Viki.com seeing all those Korean movies.

      Just watched a lovely Korean film on Viki.com – White Valentine. Strongly recommended.

      Viki.com is free!

  6. Naveen   November 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Hello SI, Pagination is gone from the Recent Posts and Recent Comments sections. Intentional or plug-in gone awry?

    Watching The Dark Knight for 20th time or so…

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    I had to remove the pagination because …..I’ll explain in an e-mail tonight.

    Like you see Dark Knight frequently, I keep seeing bits & pieces of the latest Bourne film (the one starring Rachel Weiz) often on HBO.

    • Naveen   November 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm


      Did you watch the new Arnie – Stallone movie, Escape Plan?

      SearchIndia.com Responds:


      Both look like they have been in rigor mortis for the last two decades!

      • Naveen   November 17, 2013 at 5:28 pm

        I saw it for nostalgic reasons with the barest of expectations and it turned out ok.

        Strictly for fans of Arnold and/or Stallone.

    • Naveen   November 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      Done with Dark Knight. Deciding between The Mouse That Roared and The Great Race…

  7. Naveen   November 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Ha ha ha.. joke of the day


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Rahul Gandhi is the Abhishek Bachchan of Indian politics!

    Hopeless, Worthless, Useless!

  8. DW-A(1/2)Dr.   November 17, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    So nobody saw this?


    Eye opener for me.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Brilliant…You Easily Win the Comment of the Year Award! 🙂

    Extremely interesting analysis.

    But Indians have already turned Sachin into a God.

    Who says Indian Gods cannot be Selfish?

    • DW-A(1/2)Dr.   November 18, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Thank you but now you have put me in a spot (greater expectations after this)! 🙂

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Sweetie, always remember one thing in life, long after I’m gone:

      Conventional Wisdom is often wrong!

    • Aswin_Kini   November 22, 2013 at 10:22 am

      I went through the link that DW-A(1/2)Dr shared.

      The writer has shared some valid points, but totally blew off his credibility when he pointed to only one end of the numbers.

      He mentioned that Sachin’s century scoring percentage in Indian Wins is the lowest at 67% while others like Ganguly and Dravid have very high win% in centuries, but conveniently forgets that Sachin has made almost more ODI centuries than Dravid and Ganguly (In fact, the cumulative total of Dravid’s and Ganguly’s ODI centuries are lesser than Sachin’s 49 ODI centuries).

      Let’s take an example: Ganguly scores 10 centuries and India win in 8 of them, Dravid scored 7 centuries and India win in 6 of them, while Sachin scored 20 centuries, but India win only 12 of them.

      Taking these numbers, you can argue for Sachin and against Sachin.

      For Sachin – Sachin has made more centuries in Indian wins (11)
      Against Sachin – Only 60% of Sachin’s centuries resulted in victories.

      The fun fact is nobody fails to find the reasons on why India lost the other 8. For instance, in the 2011 WC, India tied a game against England and lost a game against SA – In both these games Sachin scored hundreds, yet the team lost, why>
      1) In the match against England, Dhoni’s defensive fielding approach almost cost India the game. Only Zaheer saved the day.
      2) In the match against South Africa, almost every batsmen after Sachin and Sehwag failed to capitalize on the good start provided by them and lost wickets during the lats powerplay. Plus Nehra bowled a bad 50th over to lose the game,

      While Sachin can be blamed for a handful of Indian defeats and Draws *(242* against Aussies, his 100th international hundred against Bangladesh etc), he can never be blamed for most of the Indian defeats. I am a Sachin critic, but I always believed that the real Sachin Tendulkar retired way back in 2003 (Sachin lost his attacking instincts and cut down on his strokes after succumbing to a series of injuries). Sachin was a pale shadow of himself and even despite this, the SHADOW managed to score 15000+ international runs….

      Let’s give credit where it is due.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      It’s true, as you point out, that when you look exclusively at statistics, you lose sight of other influencing variables for loss or defeat of a match in what is essentially a team-sport.

      Still, statistics throws up interesting results that are often lost in the mindless hero-worship of demi-Gods!

      • Aswin_Kini   November 22, 2013 at 10:30 am

        Let’s also not forget that many of Sachin’s ODI centuries and Test hundreds have come in matches where the rest of the Indian batsmen collapsed like a pack of cards.
        To quote a few instances:

        In tests: Sachin scored 169 against South Africa in 1997 sharing a 260+ run partnership with Mohammed Azharuddin in 1997. Yet India lost the test because none of the Indian batsmen could manage to score enough runs to withstand the South African bowling attack.

        His 136 against Pakistan where he batted despite severe backpain. By the time he got out, India required a mere 24 runs with 4 wickets in Hand, India managed to snatch defeat again when the last 4 wickets were dismissed very cheaply.

        His 110 against the Aussies on their own soil in 1999. Again, the rest of the Indian batsmen succumbed to the Aussie bowling attack without a fight.

        His knock of 174 against Australia in 2010/11 while chasing a score of 350+. India lost the match by a slender margin of 2 runs.
        All his hundreds in the 2011 WC.

        Sachin in a way is an enigma… Love him or hate him, you cannot miss him while discussing cricket. Having said all this, I am not happy about him playing till Test no 200. I felt he retired from ODIs too early (His most favorite format) and retired tooo late in tests (He should have retired by late 2010). That was definitely due to his selfishness.

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        Again, in a team sport like cricket it’s often hard to isolate the variables responsible for success or defeat, be it an ODI or Test.

        Sometimes you can but more often than not, it’s difficult.

        There are far too many variables (the sheer no of players, pitch conditions, injuries, psychological pressures if it’s an Indo-Pak match etc) to make isolating a single factor look reliable.

        I think that’s the reason people tend to look at the forest and not the trees when they engage in analysis and make sweeping declarations like Sachin is the greatest batsman since the Don or stuff to that effect!

        All that said, statistical correlation remains a fun, different way of looking at a given set of facts!

  9. shadowfax_arbit   November 18, 2013 at 2:53 am

    Did Villa – Pizza 2 release there?

    It was a well made movie. The last 15 mins or so was outstanding.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Yes, but very limited release.

  10. boopalanj   November 18, 2013 at 4:29 am

    off-topic: Just was wondering if you knew him.


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    No, I neither knew him nor of him.

    Interesting character!

    But in the Indian milieu such lone acts of altruism accomplish too little and, often, too late.

    Only the state can be a powerful agent of change!

    That’s why Naxalites spend more time trying to capture power than on building roads, schools or hospitals.

    • boopalanj   November 18, 2013 at 8:05 am

      An angry scientist – C.N.R Rao (bharat ratna awardee).


      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Read that last night…Just Noise!

      Essence of Indian IT industry – U.S. wants cheap labor….India has excess labor.

      • boopalanj   November 18, 2013 at 8:08 am

        An interesting excerpt from another article about the scientist and his views on IT & Narayana murthy.

        Back in 2007, Prof. Rao raised many eyebrows, by saying that IT employees are like coolies who work for wages without producing any significant intellectual material. Did Narayana Murthy call to congratulate him? “No,” he said. “I don’t call him; he doesn’t call me.” The Infosys Foundation has started giving out a Science Prize, we ventured helpfully.

        “That’s not a very good prize,” Prof. Rao retorted. “There are far more deserving scientists. Besides, the Infosys Foundation tends to laud Indian scientists who are working abroad. They don’t need the help, while scientists in this country do,” he said angrily. “Narayana Murthy’s committees are full of nepotistic relationships.”

        Source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/131118/news-current-affairs/article/dc-special-govt-doesn%E2%80%99t-do-enough-science-we-try-says-bharat

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        After folks like Rajiv Gandhi, MGR, Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai got Bharat Ratna, the award lost all meaning.

        Just you watch, one of these days Abhishek Bachchan and Trisha Krishnan will also get it!

  11. Arun s   November 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    FYI, Trisha had recently got an award for her 10 years in Tamil film industry.

    Her yet to be released film Endrendum Punnagai looks promising!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. You write: FYI, Trisha had recently got an award for her 10 years in Tamil film industry.

    Now no one can convince me that Tamils have any sense!

    2. You write: Her yet to be released film Endrendum Punnagai looks promising!

    I pray all of Trisha’s films remain in the limbo of “yet to be released.”

  12. avynne   November 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I got already burnt when I decided to watch “Devdas” following the hype then.

    Never again.

    These morons will again try to send this movie also to Oscar and come back with eggs thrown in their face!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Ram Leela is not Oscar material.

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