arisha: (reina tanaka heart)
[personal profile] arisha
I am currently halfway through Shakespeareathon #27 and will post an update to that list soon, but in the meantime here is a short post about a Shakespeare-related movie I watched recently: Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela, a Bollywood musical adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet." Based on the previous very few Bollywood movies I'd seen, I went in expecting this to be a colourful movie with a light story, silly songs and a happy ending, and for a while it fit my expectations exactly - Ram, the Romeo character, has an introduction song that's the most ridiculous thing I've seen in a very long time - but, as is only natural for a "Romeo and Juliet" adaptation, the second half was rather darker and oh my gosh you guys I LOVED IT. This is totally one of those movies where you could list a whole bunch of things they could have done better (Ram and Leela's relationship is based on nothing except that they are both very pretty! Major events happen and are never mentioned again! Everyone has a gun except when it would be inconvenient for the plot!) and I would agree with every one of them but super not care. As someone who spends entirely too much time thinking about "Romeo and Juliet," here are some of the things I love about this movie:

· Leela's anger at Ram after he kills the Tybalt character. Juliet seems to have basically forgotten about Tybalt by the time she sees Romeo again, but Leela and Ram have several scenes where we really get to see her conflicting feelings. In general I really really love how they didn't have Ram and Leela immediately let go of the feud just because they fall in love. It's made clear that it's something they've been surrounded by their entire life and they're both active participants in it (even though Ram tries to deny that he is), and I think it absolutely makes sense that they wouldn't immediately be able to stop seeing each other as their enemy. The trailer includes part of the scene where they scream at each other about all the terrible things the other's family has done over the years. I really love how this movie sets up their relationship as a "can't live with you, can't live without you" situation. For me, it made the ending of the movie feel a lot more inevitable than the ending of the play (although it is probably blasphemy to say so).

· The scene where Ram bribes the police officer is so ridiculous but kind of great hahaha. I think this movie could've ignored the question of what the authorities are doing about the feud, but I like that it decided to include just enough of an answer that we see there's a lot of underhandedness going on haha.

· I'm sure a lot of people have wondered why Juliet doesn't just leave Verona with Romeo. I thought it was pretty cool that this movie has Leela leave with Ram, but then goes on to show you that it doesn't lead to the happy ending you might have expected. I think the second half of the movie could be improved by making everyone's motivations a bit clearer, but I still found it super fascinating just to see a take on what might have happened if Juliet and Romeo had eloped.

· The songs in this movie are so good~~~~~ "Lahu Munh Lag Gaya" plays when Ram and Leela first meet and it's been stuck in my head for like a week now. I have been led to believe that the title translates to "I've tasted blood" and I think that's the coolest thing. I love how this movie combines the romance with the feud in ways that the play just isn't interested in. I also like "Ram Chahe Leela," although it seems to be one of those songs that's there less for plot purposes and more because it's been a while since the last song. But probably my favourite song in the movie is "Nagada Sang Dhol" (fair warning that the video is a little spoilery!). I think it fulfills its in-movie purpose as a song for a religious festival but also suits its role as a song that's played during an unhappy part of the movie.

Well I feel like I'm writing at the level of a second grader right now, but basically: I SUPER enjoyed this movie and thought it was a really fascinating and - not counting most of Ram's dialogue, unfortunately - intelligent take on a story everyone knows. That the songs are so great is just the icing on the cake. I am really glad that my Shakespeare obsession led me to it!

(Also, if any of you know anything about Bollywood, feel free to recommend me some movies! I will totally seek them out. At the moment I've only watched six!!)
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July 2015

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