T-Series and Paper Doll Entertainment’s Ek Paheli Leela (A) is a love story that spans 300 years. Meera (Sunny Leone) is a leading model from India but based in London. She has lost her parents in a plane crash which she survives and is, therefore, petrified of air travel. For this very reason, she suffers from depression and is on medication for the same.
In India, Karan (Jay Bhanushali) makes music. After shifting into his new home, he gets a scary dream every night about somebody whip-lashing another person, and he invariably breaks into a cold sweat. The visuals in his dream are not clear. At times, he notices that there are whip-lash marks on his back when he wakes up.
Karan’s sister, Radhika alias Ratz (Shivani Tanksale), is an ace photographer and she soon befriends Meera in London, courtesy event co-ordinator Andy (Andy). On Andy’s insistence, Ratz hoodwinks Meera into flying to India for a photo-shoot in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Meera is very angry with Andy and Ratz but soon forgives them as she finds immense peace and solace in Rajasthan. She starts to dance and play with the local girls there, feeling a strange connection with them.
Meanwhile, the troubled Karan consults a tantrik who tells him that 300 years ago, Leela (Sunny Leone) and Shravan (Rajniesh Duggal) were madly in love with one another. But sculptor Bhairav (Rahul Dev) had fallen so much in love with Leela while making her statue that he had asked Shravan to leave him (Bhairav) and Leela alone while he completed the statue. As the tantrik is unable to continue the 300-year-old story after this point, he tells Karan to complete the love story in this life and tells him that he would get an opportunity to end his long wait, after which his frightening dream would not haunt him. He also tells Karan that the reason he has started to visualise the terrible dream only after moving into his new house is because there is some connection with the memories of the era gone by. Karan soon realises that the connection is a music record he possesses, which has Rajasthani music and which transports him to the same backdrop as he visualises in his dream every night. He, therefore, decides to go to Jaisalmer.
In Jaisalmer, in the present times, cousins Bikram Singh (Jas Arora) and Ranveer Singh (Mohit Ahlawat) are involved in a court case over the ownership of the house of sculptor Bhairav and the 300-year-old statue made by Bhairav, the whereabouts of which are unknown. Meera, who has come to Jaisalmer for the photo-shoot, ends up falling in love with and marrying Ranveer Singh and now lives with him happily in Jaisalmer. Bikram Singh lusts for Meera but there’s little that he can do.
Once Karan comes to Jaisalmer and visits Bhairav’s house, the subject matter of litigation between Bikram Singh and Ranveer Singh, he (Karan) is able to correlate his dream with what happened 300 years ago. He recalls that driven by the mad desire to possess Leela, Bhairav had killed Shravan with a whip-lash and hammer. Additionally, he had also pushed Leela to her death in sheer frustration. The installation of Leela’s statue that very day, 300 years ago, had, therefore not taken place.
Karan must now find the statue to attain freedom from the haunting dream. Does he find Leela’s statue?
In Jaisalmer, Karan is surprised to meet Meera who resembles Leela of 300 years ago. He tells Meera about his strange dream. He is now convinced that he was Shravan 300 years ago, and Meera was his Leela. Do Karan and Meera unite in this life?
Bobby Khan’s story is not completely novel as previous films of rebirth have tackled similar subjects. But since the story moves on various tracks, it does engage the viewers and also keeps them entertained. Jojo Khan has written an interesting screenplay which is fast-paced and has a number of twists and turns. Although there are several tracks on which the drama moves, the screenplay is not at all confused or confusing and is a rather neat job. Very intelligently, the writers have kept the sex element integral to the script by exposing Meera’s assets in her dances and photo-shoots. In other words, the sex quotient is exploited in Meera’s professional work. In the past life, Leela is shown wearing clothes which make her look sexy and reveal her anatomy to the hilt. Leela’s intimate scenes with Shravan and with Bhairav are also integral to the story. Likewise, the love-making scene between Ranveer Singh and Meera is integral to the drama. Another good part of Jojo Khan’s screenplay is that the locations have been made a very good part of the drama, whether they happen to be the streets of London or the deserts and havelis of Rajasthan.
The twist in the climax is the best part of the script and it comes as a shock to the audiences because they least expect it. In fact, the twist is so unique that the viewers can’t help but like it. Bunty Rathore’s dialogues are of a fine standard.
Sunny Leone acts well in both the roles – of Meera and Leela. She looks glamorous and sexy and actually springs a surprise with her performance. Her dances, of course, are sensuous. Her costumes are colourful and beautiful. Jay Bhanushali is good as Karan. Mohit Ahlawat is alright in the role of Ranveer Singh. Rajniesh Duggal looks the character he plays and comes up with a fine performance. Jas Arora looks very handsome (with beard and moustache) as Bikram Singh and he has performed ably. Rahul Dev is lovely as Bhairav. Shivani Tanksale makes her presence felt as Ratz. Andy is efficient and evokes laughter. Kulvinder Bakshish has his moments as Karan’s friend, Rajiv. Ehsaan Qureshi provides few light moments as Maan Singh. Nausheen Ahmed (as Ratz’s assistant, Candy), Girish Thapar (as Bikram Singh’s aide, Samar), Daniel Weber (as the pilot), Jitendra Baiswal (as the pandit), Arun Singh (as the tantrik) and the others lend able support.
Bobby Khan’s direction is decent. He adopts a simple narrative style which engages the audiences without confusing them or cluttering their minds. Also, he has made the film quite a visual treat for the viewers, thanks to the picturesque locations on which it has been shot, and the colourful costumes worn by the characters. His picturisation of the love-making and intimate scenes has aesthetic value. Music (Meet Bros. Anjjan, Amaal Malik, Dr. Zeus, Uzair Jaiswal and Tony Kakkar) is a major plus point. ‘Meri desi look’ is already a hit song. Other songs which are very appealing are ‘Saiyyan superhit’, ‘Khuda bhi’ and ‘Tere bin’. The ‘Dholi taro dhol’ song from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam has been effectively used. Other songs are quite nice. Lyrics (Kumaar, Manoj Muntashir and Tony Kakkar) are easy on the lips. Ahmed Khan has choreographed all the songs, except one (‘Ek do teen chaar’ which has been choreographed by Jojo Khan). All the song picturisations are eye-filling. Mannan Munjal’s background music is alright. It could have been better. Bashalal Syed’s camerawork deserves special mention. He has captured the locations and the actors on his camera aesthetically. Aziz and Shamshair’s action and stunts are quite good. Chetan Acharya and Yunus Khan’s production designing is of a fairly good standard. Nitin’s editing is fine.
On the whole, for the budget at which Ek Paheli Leela is made, it is entertaining and eye-filling. It has abundant sex and skin show, hit music, beautiful locations and colourful costumes, all of which make it a fine audio-visual presentation. It will prove to be a plus fare because of its medium investment (Rs. 17-18 crore) on the one hand and its fairly good initial on the other.