Gunday (2014)

A strong back story which starts with the creation of Bangladesh, shows us two young boys who are dealing with the consequences of being hungry refugees. How they survive and grow to be  proud powerful goons in the 80s, forms the riveting beginning. Bikram and Bala, acted in true 70’s style, by Ranveer & Arjun, exude excellent camaraderie on screen. Gunday is almost everything a period film should be in today’s age.

Priyanka plays a sexy cabaret dancer, who is wooed by both young men. Irrfan represents the law that is having a good time chasing them, more for the audience’s benefit than his own, rather than just arresting them. The first half goes by with entertaining amongst some over acting. The second half becomes more hamming, but still manages to retain the mood.

After an unnecessary song, shot ‘a la dil tu hi bata’ from Krrish 3, I was wondering what is Priyanka doing in the film besides looking stunning. She later established exactly why, in one powerful scene. The complications continue and have been given a fitting end, incorporating cow boy, Italian mafia, dramatic Bollywood cinema, all-in-one.

A ‘paisa vasool’ flick, stylised and shot well by director Ali Abbas Zafar.



Ram Leela (2013)

Guns blazing, Gujarati swear words, a 500 year old animosity of two warring sides and of course what blossoms between all this is: LOVE. An Eccentric, Sexual and Mad drama unfolds.

Not Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s (SLB) traditional film making style, he has stepped well out of his comfort zone of ‘tender love stories’, ‘social protocol’, ‘clear and slow progression’, ‘witty and U-rated dialogue’. Here the pace is fast, the language is harsh, many times lined with crass double meaning. Violence which was missing in most of his films is not only present but not easy to watch at times.

SLB is an unforgiving perfectionist. In the past we have seen beautiful sets and locations, which exude a dominant colour palette with undying symmetry. This time round, there is imperfection, a myriad of colours and an aesthetic sense that makes a scene alive without the feeling that you are watching a perfect set. He has done the music as well, and the songs are as always filled with metaphors, a visual treat to watch with some difficult dance moves. His direction makes all this seem as part and parcel of the film, but for once the story, songs or sets don’t dominate, its the acting of the 3 main characters that steals the show. We start with number 3:

Ranveer Singh is a director’s actor. He has manifested on screen what the director wanted him to, but somehow doesn’t seem man enough or strong enough to match up to his co-star, who seems to be wearing the pants. He is ‘supporting’ his female lead, a phenomenon which is usually the other way round.

Supriya Pathak Kapur is a spectrum of talent. To play Hansa Parekh in Khichdi and Dhankoraba ‘Baa’ in this film, you see the same eyes soften you in one, and terrify you in the other. Her restraint and explosions in the same sentence show you not only the character but her acting diversity.

Deepika Padukone has not grown as an actor. She has leaped to the moon. Her 4th big release this year (Race 2, YJHD, Chennai Express) she is the raw, sensual, hopeless in love energy which SLB has managed to capture on screen. You can’t take your attention off her expression, dance and threateningly seductive voice and body language.

A Ram Leela is traditionally performed on the street for all to see. Here as well, the story takes place in front of people at most times, for them to witness the tragedy.  This film is a tribute to the over the top rendition of India’s most famous story, with an ‘Adult’ SLB twist. An appropriate credit to Romeo & Juliet has been given right at the beginning, so either dance the dance while you watch Ram Leela or curse Shakespeare until it is over.