Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Just saying the infamous director�۪s name brings expectation and wonder at what awe inspiring creation he will create. Bhansali is responsible for bringing great love stories like ��Devdas�۪ (2002) and ��Guzaarish�۪ (2010) to life on screen and enchanting the audience with his attention to detail and dramatic flair. His next directorial venture which he is producing too, ��Ram-Leela�۪, is no exception and the trailers for the film have shown clips from amazing dance numbers like Nagada Sang Dhol,��encompassing the essence of Gujarat. BizAsia were given the unique opportunity to speak to the stars of the film Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone about the film and see just how they felt being part of such a large scale production.
Bhansali is known as a taskmaster to his stars and both Singh and Padukone have worked incredibly hard on the film. Singh has been transformed physically for the film and one only has to see the trailers of the song Tattad Tattad are proof of this. He told BizAsia: ���It was basically Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali wanting to showcase my physicality. Instead of making ��Ram-Leela�۪, he wanted every girl watching to lust after Ram and every guy watching to lust after Leela. So I had to look strong and sexy so I had to get into shape to showcase myself in the best way possible. I hit the gym hard and I am glad I did because I do look great and I got the results the trainers flown in from the UK had shown me at the beginning. It was very hard but I am glad. The response I got from having that kind of physicality was great so at least I can say I have looked that way once in my life.�
Padukone is playing the role of Gujarati Leela and she was encouraged to act as naturally as she could in the role. She revealed: ���I think the most difficult part for me was bringing the Gujarati-ness that was required for the film. It is not something that I went out of my way to learn or know because I have enough of an understanding of the culture. I have grown up with Gujarati friends and I have grown up with that culture, language and I was familiar with it.”
Singh was focused on staying true to the world of ��Ram-Leela�۪ and headed to the Indian state Gujarat to pick up the culture and the language.�� He continued: ���We had an entirely Hindi script so I said to Mr Bhansali that we have the opportunity to create a real authentic Gujarati film. He said no I am not sure, so I said I will go to Gujarat to pick up the language and we will read the script and see if you like it. So we did that and once he saw the Gujarati version of the script, he was like we must go for it.�
Typical of Sanjay Leela Bhansali films, the songs in ‘Ram-Leela’ have been shot on a vast scale with so much colour and drama embracing each scene we have seen in the trailers. Padukone had the hardest time of it as she had to dance in classical Indian garba style and even injured herself in the process. She said: ���It was the first time I realised how difficult garba is. I have seen it during Navrati, I have seen girls and boys dancing to it and I used to think this is simple, you just clap and turn. I thought it was really simple and you just join the circle and keep going and the circles will move automatically. Little did I realise that footwork that goes into being able to bounce like that.�
Padukone added: ���Especially in Nagada Sang and Lahu Munh Lag Gaya, it is folk garba, it is not the kind of garba that you just turn up. A lot of Gujaratis were saying how the garba being done is so different from what you would normally see at Navrati. It is a particular type of folk garba where you have to catch the middle of the beat and the off-beat. That was really difficult, combined with the fact that I was wearing hugely heavy lenghas that I had to carry, particularly in Nagada Sang Dhol. There is a reason why I was turning so loosely because it was so heavy. I hurt my back while I was rehearsing for Nagada Sang Dhol, I was rehearsing for 15 days before the song was shot. After that, I said I was ready to start shooting and I was sent to the set and I was struggling because I had not rehearsed with the lengha and didn�۪t account for that. Despite my back, we had to go ahead with it as the set was standing already.�
Both co-stars were complimentary about the other�۪s work and Singh went as far as saying that he admired Padukone for her work ethic. He said: ���Deepika is someone who really values the opportunities that have come her way and then she has this amazing talent which has essentially catapulted her, as everyone is saying, to the position of number one actress right now. I admire her for her sense of responsibility, she has not let it go to her head, and she has immense discipline. She values her successes.�
‘Ram-Leela’ is described as an intense love story and when they were asked by BizAsia what they wanted the audience to take away from the film, Padukone said: ���I want the audience to come in, be entertained, fall in love, and feel love. Oh god, I think I just sent all the guys away! It is a passionate, beautiful, intense love story and I just hope that we have managed to make you laugh, make you cry, make you smile with us and I hope that somewhere deep down inside, it touches your heart.�
BizAsia wish Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh and the entire team of ��Ram-Leela�۪ all the best for their upcoming release. The film will be in cinemas on Friday 15th November.