I had my first taste of Bollywood in Berlin yesterday and the experience has left me wanting more! A close friend who is a real aficionado of cinema has been raving about Indian films to me recently but he lives in London and has large numbers of films and cinemas to choose from. When I saw Ram-Leela advertised to be shown on just two nights in Berlin, I just had to go, even if the day was a cold Monday night with interrupted transport to boot!
I wasn’t really sure what to expect: I knew there would be a lot of singing and dancing, big choreographed numbers the likes of which we only know from old Busby Berkeley musicals. I hadn’t really expected the story to be so tense – it is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet and transported to two warring families in small town India. The pace is fast; the singing and dancing loud and beautifully staged. At just over 2 ½ hours long, I wasn’t bored for a second! In fact, I was on the edge of my seat until the last minute, there were unexpected twists and turns in the story and even though I knew it wasn’t going to end well for the star-crossed lovers, there is always hope!
Some of the action takes place during the Holi festival and the colours are amazing. The Dussehra festival, celebrating the victory of good over evil also plays a major part in the story culminating in processions and rituals.
I have never been to India myself but looking at all the amazing photographs we have in the archive, I am getting very tempted. One of our colleagues from Mumbai told me that I should visit during the Holi festival as it is a time of celebration, colour and fun – and presents!
I can only say – if you get the chance to see a lavish Bollywood production on the big screen, go for it!