Ek Paheli Leela Movie Review, Film Companion

Director: Bobby Khan

Cast: Sunny Leone, Rajneesh Duggal, Jay Bhanushali

Ek Paheli Leela is a two-and-a-half hour show reel for the profoundly limited talents of Sunny Leone. There are a few things she does well, but acting is not one of them. And yet here she gets to do two roles — Meera, a Punjabi supermodel from Milan who was orphaned in a plane crash and is therefore mortally afraid of flying; and Leela, a Rajasthani village belle from 300 years ago.

This time lapse doesn’t alter the wardrobe much. Even back then, she was in backless, breathlessly tight bodices that insist on the gravity-defying cleavage getting centrestage. Only, three centuries ago, she was using much more bronzer.

The other thing that doesn’t change is the panting response she generates. In both time periods, men of all shapes and sizes lust for her. When Meera goes to a party after a blockbuster fashion show, she looks around the room and declares: “Aisi parties mein aankhon se rape karnewale perverts hi milte hain.” But just before this, she strokes her thigh and tells a girlfriend: “Glamour industry mein success ka short cut — short skirt.”

Since Meera refuses to get on a plane, her friend gets her drunk and flies her down to Jodhpur for a photo-shoot. She tells Meera they aren’t going to the airport. They are going to a plane-themed restaurant. Meera insists on ordering fish and chips. Yes, that is the kind of gloriously foolish film this is.

I thought it might be a candidate for so bad that it’s good, but thirty minutes in, I was exhausted. And there were hours and hours to go — hours in which Meera and Leela dance, strike Kama Sutra poses with different men and pirouette in the sand while mouthing a laughable Rajasthani accent. Meanwhile the men look on longingly and occasionally they get to touch.

Director Bobby Khan wants to create an epic reincarnation love story. But he can’t surmount two challenges — the ludicrous script and the wooden actors. Sunny is attractive enough, but emoting is clearly difficult for her. And she has stiff competition in this department from Rajneesh Duggal and Jay Bhanushali. Jay plays a Mumbai musician who has weird dreams about being whipped and then wakes up with slashes of red lipstick on his back.

But nothing will prepare you for the climax, in which the leads have an entire conversation about evil and forgiveness as one of them dangles from a steep ledge.

The biggest riddle here is: Why would anyone want to watch this film?

Rating:   star

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