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Rang De Basanti – A generation awakens September 10, 2006

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.

Some people believe this is a great patriotic film but I disagree completely. It is a very good film and though patriotism is a recurring theme in the movie, I don’t believe it is the main theme. The main idea in the movie is that passion can drive youngsters to do things that even they never imagined possible. Patriotism and what youngsters achieved in the Indian freedom struggle is what stirs the passion in the protagonists and awakens their social consciousness. This movie is more about passion and social consciousness than it is about patriotism (the songs Roobaroo and Khoon Chala echo this well). The Bhagat Singh documentary allows for a very interesting narrative (and of course patriotism in a commercial format brings in a large number of viewers in any case). The superlative screenplay (by Renzil D’Silva and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra based on a story by Kamlesh Pandey) and narrative is what raises the movie from being a simple revenge drama to something with meaning.

The climax which was not liked by some was definitely good. Though a couple of other ideas might have worked, this was probably the best. It provides different viewpoints (whatever their merit) very well. Siddharth’s speech at the end clarifies that they do not believe that what they have done is the right or the best thing to do but they did it and they stand by it. This is what passion does to people. It makes you do things that seem foolish or meaningless to many others. The recent death of the famous Australian “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin is a good example of this. His passion led him to do things that were seemingly stupid to many but that did not stop him from risking his life. His eventual death was something that he foresaw and he apparently mentioned in interviews that he would not mind dying doing what he loved best. A far simpler example would be this blog. This blog may seem like a waste of time to many but our passion for cinema keeps us going inspite of our busy schedules.

Many people wonder why the movie is called “Rang De Basanti” which means “Paint (it/me) Yellow”. Yellow is apparently the color of sacrifice (so the phrase would mean “sacrifice me”) and that was apparently the reason that this became a catchphrase during the freedom struggle.

Among the actors Siddharth (former assistant director under Mani Ratnam who acted in movies like Boys, Yuva/Ayudha Ezhuthu, Nuvvosthanante Nenoddantana) was a revelation. His performance was my favorite in the film. Aamir Khan gets a role that suits him very well and he does a superb job. He does not hog the screen space unlike in some other movies and he deserves applause for not letting his image or obsession about the length of his role destroy the screenplay. Atul Kulkarni is as usual first rate. Soha Ali Khan gets to show some of the talent inherited from her mother. Sharman Joshi, who I did not have much regard for does a very competent job and Kunal Kapoor is talented as well. Madhavan is likeable in a cameo (except for his hideous wig).

The soundtrack is exceptional. A.R.Rahman gets the chance to score for a good movie after Swades and he does a remarkable job. Every song is brilliant (though a couple of songs are too unconventional for certain listeners). Lyricist Prasoon Joshi deserves equal praise for creating beautiful and meaningful poetry and it certainly makes Rahman’s work even better. The cinematographer Binod Pradhan also deserves special mention.

Rakeysh Mehra does an admirable job as the director. He delivers on the promise he showed in his first film Aks. Mehra does a thorough job on the detailing and brings out best from the crew, whether it is behind the screen or on the screen. My favorite part of the movie is the splendidly depicted friendship between the central characters. Rarely have we seen such camaraderie between friends in Hindi cinema (Dil Chahta Hai is the first movie that comes to mind in this aspect). Mehra crafts a film that has now achieved cult status. This movie has the ingredients to appeal to different classes of the audience and any film lover should watch it.


1. pragyan - April 24, 2007

i feel siddharth’s role was the best among all other characters of the film..siddharth rOcKs………………..
siddharth iz alwaz the best…………………..

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