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Leela (2002)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 124 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 8 user | 6 critic | 6 from Metacritic.com

Leela is a film based on the South Asian-American experience. By providing a dynamic expression of the struggles and celebrations of the expatriate lifestyle, Leela has the potential to be ... See full summary »

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Title: Leela (2002)

Leela (2002) on IMDb 7/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Leela
Vinod Khanna ...
Nashaad
Deepti Naval ...
Chaitali
Amol Mhatre ...
Kris / Krishna
...
Jai
Brendan Hughes ...
Summer
Kelly Gunning ...
JC
Garrett Devereux ...
Chip
Kyle Erby ...
Jamaal
...
Jennifer
...
Mira
Partha Dey ...
Shantanu
Sandeep Walia ...
Harsh
Delna Rastomjee ...
Joya Chatterjee
Gargi Sen ...
Maheed
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Storyline

Leela is a film based on the South Asian-American experience. By providing a dynamic expression of the struggles and celebrations of the expatriate lifestyle, Leela has the potential to be a crossover film - popular among expatriate South Asians and mainstream English speaking audiences the world over. Leela is a true reflection of how the South Asian-American community is beginning to emerge, blend, and influence the mainstream American culture in its own exquisite ways. Leela is the story of Leela, an aware, liberal woman who struggles with the true meaning of independence. It is also the story of Krishna, born of Indian parents in America but uncomfortable with his hyphenated existence. Leela then is a universal story of two paths that cross each other and pause a moment before moving on. Written by Somnath Sen

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

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1 November 2002 (India)  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Leela's Self Discovery and The Cultural Identity
16 July 2011 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

While cultural identity may be a key theme of Somnath Sen's 'Leela', the film presents it well without the use of clichés or at the expense of the story. For example, American Indian Krishna's clash of cultural identity is depicted in a very subtle manner. There is no Indian culture is great and American culture is bad nonsense or vice versa (which is usually the case with this kind of films that are made by Indian directors). Sen doesn't take any side here and he attempts to portray a balanced view.

In addition, 'Leela' works excellently as a character-driven piece. The characters are very well-defined. The story moves slowly but this invites the viewer to get to know these people: Krishna, Leela and Chaitali: Krishna has almost completely assimilated to his American identity. Were it not for his parents, he probably would have entirely washed off his Indian identity. The growth of his character as he learns to appreciate Indian culture thanks to Leela is very convincingly demonstrated. The writer doesn't force him to give up his American identity but rather has the character realize that he is both: an Indian and an American.

Fiercely independent, his lovely mother, Chaitali, has already embraced American culture without losing her connection to her Indian roots. She has managed to balance her identity and is living her life the way she wants to.

Beautiful, intelligent and lonely Leela has just arrived in the country and experiences and appreciates the beauty life in America. She learns that one cannot live a happy life just by living it for someone else. In Krishna, she finds a companion and they both learn something from each other.

The use of poetry and music is done delightfully. Jagjit Singh's soothing voice and Gulzar's magical lyrics breathe poetry into the story. It gives 'Leela' a very lyrical feel. The dialogues are splendid.

On the technical side, the cinematography is adequate but the lighting is a little faulty.

Deepti Naval and Dimple Kapadia are superb. Amol Mhatre looks a little uneasy in the more dramatic sequences but his presence adds to the innocence of Krishna. Gulshan Grover and Vinod Khanna provide good support.

Poetic, subtle and engaging, 'Leela' does a fine job of telling a story about cultural identity and self discovery.


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