Sunday, February 26, 2006

Rang De Basanti

I saw the much talked about movie "Rang de Basanti" last weekend. Not being a run of the mill Hindi film fanatic I usually restrict myself to watching only the best ones, the last being "Black". Anyway, I decided to give it a try with RDB as had heard loads about it and read lot of blogs on the same. I really did not have any high hopes but wanted to see why people are so ga ga about the movie. By the way, let me make it clear. I have absolutely no prejudices against Hindi movies nor is my grasp of the Hindi language very minimal, but then I wouldn't shy to admit the truth when I see a good Hindi movie.

While the script had its flaws but that’s Ok, at least someone tried to experiment it, Rang de Basanti was an honest attempt at balancing social and commercial cinema, urging this apathetic generation to awaken to the country's corruption and need for social change. The story line is pretty neat and simple and revolves around a bunch of college kids agreeing to act in a film scripted by a young English student.

The plus points are the environ is simple, college campus and the characters normal people whom you can connect to. There is no explicit mention of malls, ostentatious and gaudy dance performances, which have become an integral part of most of the Hindi movies, released these days. If you are looking for something posh and highbrow, then I would suggest it’s not of those kinds, which has some big many syllable words. This was one of the dialogues I liked the most and then when I bisected, trisected and n-sected it, found its true,"ik paair future maaain, tau ek paair past maaain rakh kar, aaj ke uppaar haaam moot raaahe haain."

The film to many people I spoke to was crappy but for me whatever it may be, I liked the idea. The essence of the movie was in igniting the cynical apathy of India's youth for a cause. The interactions among the six protagonists and the videshi Sue make for pleasurable watching, the real issue which the Indian youth face today in a very subtle way. The stand out performance for me was Siddharth, but it helps that his character was given a key role near the end of the movie. There are still people in India in real life and not reel life who have sportively supported these values, few that come to my mind are

a. Manjunath - A 27-year-old IIM Lucknow graduate from Karnataka paid with his life few months back for his crusade against corrupt petrol pump owners.(Read here)

b. Satyendra Dubey - An IIT Kanpur graduate in his mid-30s, was supervising construction of the former Prime Minister’s (Atalji’s) dream project in the Koderma division in Jharkhand and had been recently promoted as a deputy General Manager.Dubey had a reputation for being an upright and honest official. This probably cost him his life but he never deterred from his job.(Read here)

If someone might have read through the lines of a few dialogues, then many messages have been passed on in a very indirect way. To highlight what I have mentioned above, there are few statements, which are oft, repeated,"Agaar system ko baadaal na haai tau IAS join karo, desh ke liye kuch karo". This clearly to my understanding is a pointer to the educated and the intelligent class of India who moves for greener pastures but never hesitates to make a comment. This again is said in "Koi bhi desh perfect nahin hota,usey perfect baannaana paadta hai" but the question is "baaanaayeega kyoon ???". The wind of change has started and I wish that it continues. Recently I read, how five high flying IIT’ians all in their late 20’s left their MNC jobs in the US of A and got into something that touched their hearts. (Source: Youth Curry)

The most striking images in the movie were when it flashed back to the 1930s freedom struggle by Bhagat Singh & co. They portrayed the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in a nightmarish haze, and I have to admit in terms of the technicals of Indian movies it was a job well done. The music was great and kudos to Rehman for this, just listening to the sound track would inform you of the film’s thematic trajectory. The casting was perfect, all the characters poured real life to their respective parts. I liked Aamir, Soha Ali Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Atul Kulkarni, Alice Patten and Kiron Kher in particular though not in the same order but all were good.

I also liked the casting because these people are learned and educated and that’s what brings more versatility to the characters. Soha is a LSE grad and before entering into movies, she was a financial whiz with Citibank in Mumbai. Siddharth is a MBA grad. Alice is the daughter of the Lord Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong before it was taken over by China. "Laal tammatar Sue, tusse movie maain great thee, I love you Sue".

The Indian society in the movie is portrayed as open, honest, tolerant, and affectionate and yes in the end patriotic too. I don’t know about others but the people I move with (say 20-35 age bracket) and the junta I connect to, have all these attributes if not more. The ultimate message, I guess, is never to let that passion for progress and reform die out, and never to let your cynicism trap you in apathy. The movie concluded with a very brooding question, this generation has two sects of people, one, which adheres to the existing system with its faults and fallacies, "chalta hai kind", and other who want to change, as they cannot tolerate the suffocation for long.

Which one do you belong to?

To my immediate right in the movie hall were seated an old Bengali couple in their late 60’s and in between the wife and husband were discussing in typical Bangla accent "movie bhalo haaaue chilaam, kintuu aaama ke cheelear beer kaabaata bilkul bhaalo laage na".Even though it was old wine in a new bottle kind of movie but the message was crisp and clear and that’s the reason I give it a 7/10. Go watch it, if you can.


At 12:53 PM, Blogger Ferocious Killer Kat said...

yo for RDB!! Anyways the best performance I thought was of Sukhi (Sharman Joshi).. the comic scenes.. the outburst at the end.. and his death.. very nice.. Siddharth was also excellent.. and so was aamir.. from an entertainment perspective it was full paisa vasool.. I did not agree with the climax.. but I still liked the screenplay of the last hr or so. Anyways decent movie!! dude.. i m gonna be off blogging for sometime.. till then..

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That was an interesting post. Keep it coming

Though I may NOT agree to all what your said, your blog brought back lots of old memories and thoughts about OUR COUNTRY, our society, friends and relatives, Jessica Lall et all

While we as world citizens think that Justice and equality are the most important cornertones of a civil society, does the ground reality reflect that ?

We feel that friendship, love, affection and above all our family is very important in shaping our lives and thoughts. To most of us, a mother, the epitome of love and sacrifice, plays and important role

But what happens when the same mother is denied justice in her own family ?

more at


At 2:03 PM, Blogger remainconnected said...


Thanks for your comments and its my pleasure that you visit my blogs.

I do fully agree with the last comment with what you have raised but at times when we are on the verge of loosing hope on the system,something good happens.

Take for instance the Jessica Lall case,everyone knew that the culprits were left scot free but did the society and the people accept,no they didn't. This is a sort of revolution and I feel we need this process to continue.



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