Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, the lead pair of Ram-Leela, say that their chemistry was organic
After over two hours of waiting in a nearly empty theatre with Ram-Leela tracks playing on a high-volume loop, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone arrived to an even louder rendition of Tattad Tattad and patiently answered all the questions put to them.
“Ram-Leela comes from a genuine place, every kind of emotion that we have ever felt in our lives whether it is pain, happiness or love we put all that energy into making this movie,” began Deepika at a press interaction in the city ahead of the film’s release.
“The film comes from a deep and special place in all our hearts, we all put in a lot of toil into the film,” added Ranveer. “I started working on the film much before Deepika. I wanted to do a little research on the language, because it lends authenticity. Initially the director wasn’t sure about the accent but when he heard the reading, he loved it.”
Knew in an instant
“When Deepika came we had a weeklong workshop where we rehearsed for a song for 14 days and in that period we bonded. As soon as she walked into the door for the first reading I knew instantly this was going to be a great collaboration because we were both on the same page. So there were very few barriers and very little ice-breaking.”
“Ram-Leela is an intense, passionate love story and in a love story chemistry is the most important thing, says Deepika. “I am glad he and I had the chemistry that we did for this film. It was effortless and the rehearsals gave us that time to get to know each other so once we started shooting we didn’t have to worry about all that. The chemistry was organic.”
Though the film’s title drew flak Ranveer and Deepika pointed out that the title had nothing to do with religion.
“It’s simply the names of the characters. It’s just like Romeo and Juliet or Heer and Ranjha. These names are special only because Ram is my nana’s name, so I performed with extra zeal and Leela is director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s mother and we all know he’s so connected to her.”
The film according to Ranveer is an entertainer with romance, comedy, action, dance and colour. “There’s chemistry, intensity, drama and melodrama, it’s a piece of art, it is cinema. I would like these parties who are agitating to ‘Take a chill pill’.”
The shoot took a lot out of the actors physically as well. Deepika says: “A lot of the pieces I wore are heritage pieces bought from Gujarat.
“They had to be restored and reinforced so they don’t rip or tear while performing. Costumes account for a large part of getting into character and this time it wasn’t easy because the outfits in songs like ‘Nagada Sang’ were extremely heavy and I didn’t account for the earrings during the rehearsal. So I tore my earlobes, that is why I haven’t been wearing earrings on this promotional tour. That’s what it takes and I am happy to make those sacrifices.”
Though some have spoken about the film as having similarities to Bhansali’s Hum Dil De Chuka Sanam, the only similarities according to Ranveer is that it is a love story set in Gujarat.
“If you know Bhansali and his legacy, he creates unique worlds for each film and the world of Ram-Leela is unlike any other film. He likes to work in the realm of fantasy more often than not and he will take creative liberties. His films are the opera of Indian cinema.”
And the most challenging part of the film, for Deepika was working under Bhansali.
“By the second or third day we realized it is easier to go unprepared to the set. That’s not normally what an actor does before a scene. We like to prepare a little bit and keep the rest organic.
“But we had to go with a blank slate because his mind is constantly working. So even if we locked a scene today, rest assured he’d have changed everything. It’s also extremely unnerving because you never know what to expect, whether he’ll make you laugh or cry, sometimes he would even ask us to simply emote through our eyes without dialogue.”