This is, more or less, a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. With a few minor excursions, and a couple of additions. I loved it.
Ram and Leela are the offspring of two families on opposing sides of a local gang war. They meet during Holi, and Ram falls in love after Leela threatens him with a loaded gun. He sneaks into her room later that night, and they profess their affection for each other–despite Leela’s engagement to someone else, not to mention the danger of being seen with a mortal enemy. Eventually their families figure out what is going on, Ram accidentally kills Leela’s beloved elder brother, and our duo runs away and secretly marries.
I’m sure you see where this is headed?
But wait! Leela’s cousins find them, thanks to Ram’s loser friends who rat him out, and haul Leela back home. An assassination attempt of Ram fails, instead badly injuring Leela’s mother, forcing Leela to temporarily take over the criminal empire–oh yes, it’s the women who run things in that family, and you DO NOT want to cross them. Ram and Leela carry out a bitter negotiation session in their respective roles as heads of families (Ram’s father passed his position on to his son without having to die), and essentially declare their relationship to be over, except not. A massacre is planned by devious traitors in both houses, our lovers reunite, and we all know how this one ends.
IT WAS AWESOME AMD I LOVED IT.
Confession time: I am very fond of the violent, intelligent gangster subgenre of Bollywood films, and there are a lot of really good ones out there. It’s seen a renaissance in recent years. There are some doofy ones, but the good ones are amazing. This one is definitely in the good end of the spectrum, but it’s not my all time favorite. Sanjay Leela Bhansali tends towards the overwrought and overdramatic, but seeing as this was billed as the start as a reinterpretation of Romeo and Juliet, the theatricality works here.
This is how Ram makes his entrance. It was amazing, and I think Jazi and I watched it…twice? Three times? More than once, in any case. The music was really good, and all of the songs were gorgeous. I’m going to have to get the soundtrack too.
So if you like violent modern gangster interpretations of Shakespeare, with song and dance numbers (see also “Omkara”), this is the film for you.
Source: personal copy