Goliyon ki Raasleela – Ram Leela


Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bhansali came up with his own version of the ‘Ram Leela’ through his movie ‘Goliyon ki Rasleela Ramleela’ which showed the pomp and glory of Indian culture through its costumes, jewellery and elaborate sets with the storyline gaining inspiration from the Shakespearean classic ‘Romeo and Juliet’.  Ram Leela, the movie, is about two warring tribes in Gujarat and two lovers who come from opposing clans. They fall in love despite the animosity, and the story unfolds their romantic journey and tragic plight. The movie is like a flurry of colours, dance, music and grandeur that takes you through the earthiness of Gujarat.  The movie gained a lot of popularity with its most talked about costumes designed by Anju Modi and authentic jewellery designed by Amrapali.

(Image: Fashionlady)

(Image: Tribune)

Origin & History

Ram Leela literally translates into “Rama’s play” and is the name that is given to the theatrical rendition of the great Indian epic- Ramayana- over the span of nine days.  The Ram Leela basically takes place in North Indian states during the time of Dussehra and is presented to the audience in the form of various scenes that include narration, song, dialogue and recital. The major highlight of the Ram Leela are the elaborate costumes, masks and make-up that bring about a peculiar fascination to Lord Rama’s tale with the underlying theme ‘ good triumphs over evil’.

The historic side of this tale is quite fascinating and has been an integral part of Hindu mythology and narrative. The Ramacharitmanas or the Ramayana was composed by Tulsidas in the 16th century and tells the story of Lord Rama and his glory. The Ram Leela particularly focuses on the battle between Rama and Ravana, along with a series of dialogues between the Gods and sages.  The Ram Leela is a platform that brings together several communities who share the joy of the larger-than-life tale. There are a lot of activities that take place when putting the Ram Leela together such as mask-making, costume designing, effigies, make-up, lights and so on.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s elaborate and dramatic adaptation does bring out certain aspects of the actual ‘Ram Leela’ which takes place in the backdrop, and particularly during the last scene where Ravana is ironically being burnt to indicate that the warring tribes would finally make peace.  However, the movie is greatly centred on the colourful garba-raas of Gujarat and the elaborate costumes and deep hues that add mesmerising colours to the cinematic canvas.

The Making of the Film

The movie was shot extensively in Gujarat and Udaipur, bringing across a very rural Gujarati aspect to the movie.  The costume designer, Anju Modi, dressed Deepika Padukone in breathtakingly beautiful ghaghra-cholis with authentic embroidery and patch work.  Likewise, actor and protagonist Ranvir Singh was also given costumes such as the Kediya with authentic detailing that brings about a fusion between old and contemporary.

Style & Attires

The style and attire of Ram Leela plays a lot with ethnic bling which come in the form of golden accessories such as armlets, waistbands and head dresses of the characters. Ornate and detail oriented are two apt ways of describing Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s style and this is exactly what came through in the movie as well.

Deepika Padukone, who plays the female protagonist ‘Leela’ created a style statement with her Kutch-inspired ghaghra cholis and Amrapali exquisite jewellery which has caught the nation in a fashion frenzy.  Ranvir was dressed in fusion outfits by merging jeans with an ethnic shirt- as the setting was in modern-day Gujarat.  It captured the colours, the colourful ethnic costumes of the Gujarati community along with some rural tribal detailing such as the earrings worn by the men, the silver kadas and the special tattoos worn by the tribal women on their arms, neck and faces.

(Image: Fashionlady)

(Image: Fashionlady)

The Trendsetter

Deepika Padukone’s costumes brought about a twist to Ram Leela and highlighted a vibrant contrast of colours and textures through the lehangas and blouses that were designed authentically in brocade, embroidery and patchwork.   Her costumes and jewellery have become an inspiration for ethnic wear lovers as she makes a pretty picture with signature Gujarati lehanga cholis, patchwork blouses using silk and cotton, exquisite Dabka, mirror and zari work all juxtaposed with earthy and bright hues of reds, pinks and oranges.  Deepika’s popular ‘layered lehanga’ received rave reviews as she danced ethereally to the tunes with the different layers following her gait. Moreover, the chunky oxidized earrings that she wore have become a fashion statement across the nation and beyond.

Accessories in the Film

When we picture the vibrant costumes of the movie we can’t imagine them without the heavy gold and silver oxidized jewelry. Whether it’s Deepika Paduokone’s gold plated jhumkas and chunky chudis, or whether its Ranvir Singh’s silver earrings and kadas, the overall appeal has an old world charm which has truly left a ethnic mark in the world of Indian fashion.


Categories:   Bollywood & Beyond, Indian Cinema