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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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 (as Sarayu Rao)
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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Drama | Romance

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1 November 2002 (India)  »

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1.85 : 1
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Intelligent
5 March 2003 | by (Brampton, Ontario) – See all my reviews

There have been quite a few films in the last couple of years that have tried to breakup certain stereotypes ad cliches: 1) The opinion South Asian immigrants have about whites. 2) The opinion South Asian immigrants have about their peers who are born and brought up in the west. 3) The opinion born-in-the-west desis have about South Asian immigrants.

Films like American Desi, Bend It Like Beckham, Bollywood/Hollywood have all succeeded to different degrees in breaking these stereotypes and striking a new balance in terms of awareness and acceptance. Leela is another film with similar aspirations and succeeds almost completely in what it sets out to achieve.

Leela is a dramatic film that not only attempts to further demolish these stereotypes but it also gives its characters unique identities, identitites that go through a process of change and understanding as the film unfolds.

There are a lot of things that impress you about Leela. Starting with the screenplay. It has been written very tightly as in never to slacken the pace of the film or loosen the grip it has on its characters. The dialogue is very intelligent and each character is developed very uniquely. The plot is essentially about a student-teacher affair and how it affects the two, but their subplots and their relationships with other people in their lives give the characters a lot of depth and empathy.

Leela has been blessed with a good soundtrack from Jagjit Singh and Gulzar and also the production values and technical credits have done extremely well. The ensemble cast of Leela which includes Dimple Kapadia, Amol Mhatre, Deepti Naval, Vinod Khanna and Gulshan Grover among others do a terrific job with performances.

Somnath Sen is a newcomer I believe (at least I am not aware of any previous work by him). But as a writer and director he does an extremely mature and comprehensive job of dealing with the merging sensibilities of two worlds. At the end of the day, Leela is good storytelling and a film about interesting people. People like you and me. 9/10.


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