CAST & CREW
Although based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, “Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela”, is an out and out a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film – co written, co edited, co-produced, composed and directed by him. Naturally with so much commitment from his side, SLB has attempted to make it a grand spectacle with a heady combination of colours, clashes; songs and dance, all revolving around the unbridled romance of the two central protagonists.
Plot: For basing this classical literary masterpiece in the Indian context, Bhansali has chosen the backdrop of a Gujarati village called Ranjaar, where weapons are available like common everyday items, providing ready ammunition for two warring clans of the village whose hostilities and enmity have been simmering for almost five centuries. Besides the two central characters of Ram and Leela portrayed by Ranveer and Deepika, who belong to the opposing clans of Rajadis and Saneras, respectively, the plot assembles a whole lot of other important players who partake of the evolving drama.
Notable among them are Meghji, the head of the Rajadi clan and the elder brother of Ram, played by Abhimanyu Singh and Dhankor Bai the matriarch of the Saneras and mother of Leela, portrayed by veteran actress Supriya Pathak. Other important characters are Leela’s brother Kanji and cousin Bhavani, enacted by Sharad Kelkar and Gulshan Devaiah respectively. While the young lovers have no qualms about openly professing their love, the clan members on either side are dead against such an association and this fuels further clashes and killings, each succeeding incident making it even more difficult for the protagonists to come together even after they elope and get married.
In an incident of shocking ruthlessness, Dhankor Bai cuts off Leela’s ring finger to signify the end of her marriage to Ram, while in a retort of matching desperation, Ram chops off his own finger. The violence between the clans continue with attempts even being made to kill Ram, but the two lovers then realise that the best way to end this centuries old rivalry would be to kill themselves, and in keeping with the tradition of a Shakespearean tragedy they end their own lives in each other’s arms, but succeed in bringing peace between the Rajadis and the Saneras.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the creator of this film is already an accomplished and acknowledged story teller, but in of “GKRR-L” he adds his own mix of love and violence infusing the plot with a heady mix of guns and roses, much beyond what the original ‘Romeo & Juliet’ could ever have conceived. Although he uses a number of characters to develop the plot, they never go beyond his control or make the events lose focus, and this is where he proves his mastery of his craft. He proves his versatility emphatically through the soundtrack, which for those not initiated to the musical side of SLB, must come as a revelation. Coming from a common creator the songs merge wonderfully with the sequence and the background, with Ravi Verman’s cinematography lending that overall flavour of grandeur. Whether it is due to SLR’s direction or their own histrionic skills, Ranveer and Deepika deliver what surely should stand out as one of their best performances till date – the added zing being provided by their on screen chemistry which enhances the romantic ambience to new heights. But one should not just get carried away by these two, since the performance of the supporting cast which includes some of the very well known names of accomplished actors like Supriya Pathak, Richa Chadda and Gulshan Devaiah forcefully draw attention to their combined brilliance.
Verdict: It would be difficult perhaps to pinpoint a single factor for watching “GKRR-L”, since there is so much to enjoy and appreciate in this example of superb craftsmanship. Missing this film could very well be a tragedy of sorts.
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