What is it about Shakespeare and his plays that we haven’t forgotten them? Here’s a question that has been asked so many times without being answered. Every artist wants to recreate one of his plays to add to his oeuvre. His plays hold true in every language and every age. It comes as no surprise that in the last two years Romeo and Juliet has been adapted by Bollywood in two different ways – Ishaqzaade and Goliyon ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela. I had seen the former movie and I liked it, but I recently saw the latter and half-liked it. Half-liked because the first half is absolute torture while the second half is noteworthy. Supriya Pathak is a study in villainy and both, Deepika and Ranveer, have delivered well. In fact, after a point of time, I actually empathized with Deepika. I have cotton candy for a brain. I fall for anything.

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how we have not learnt anything from Romeo and Juliet and its innumerable adaptations. Why, in the name of the Lord, do lovers not talk to each other? Why! That is my question. Apparently it is difficult to initiate a conversation with the person you claim to “love” but it’s easy to kill them or kill yourself. Wow. This logic beats me. How wrenching was it for Ram to go and talk to Leela. She’s his wife, after all. (They get married in a self-conducted ceremony.) How would that go? Let me see.

When Leela is abducted by her brother after she runs away with Ram, he doesn’t make it in time to rescue her from her…err…family. He could catch up later when she is cozying up at her house.

Ram: Couldn’t you have waited for me to come rescue you?
Leela: I didn’t effin’ take Karate classes. I was busy learning garba and working out to achieve this flat stomach you fell for. You should have come faster.
Ram: I was knocked out. By the time I gained consciousness your brother took you away in that ambassador. Where does he get his automobile sense from? Who drives a fucking ambassador! What is he? Sonia Gandhi?
Leela: Maybe he is. No wonder our business is not as good as it was.

Or when Leela’s mother is shot, she could go and yell at him.

Leela: Are you fucking crazy? Why did you try to kill my mother? Who will baby sit our children?
Ram: As much as I would want to kill your mother, I did not. She’s as menacing as a mother-in-law should be, but above all she has a good sense of humor. Although, the point about the babysitting…
Leela: Stop lying to me. You came and she was shot.
Ram: Do I look that stupid to you? How did you fall for me?
Leela: I wasn’t exactly looking at your brain, was I? Care to wear a shirt?

How difficult is that?

What are your trying to do? Drivel your relationship with silence and suffering because your ego is great? Or you’re keeping quiet because you think that is love? Or is that a revenge strategy? You will collect as much ammunition as you want and then go blow them up? Or is it that this relationship is just that mythical story you want to have so that you can pass it down generations? What, exactly, is the point? Wouldn’t they, with all their mighty love sent from the heavens, counter anything together rather than sitting and brooding apart. You’ve gone ahead and infuriated two massive communities that hate each other and are willing to kill each other at the drop of a hat. You had the guts, or the idiocy to do that, so what’s stopping you from finishing what you started? Ah! Let me guess. You “love” each other.

Hmpf.

Know why this story always works? Because we’re always stupid. Who wants to mend when you can kill, right?

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