Rang de Basanti

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Intelligent. Entertaining.Balanced.

There are few promos and build up that makes some films must watch. Of course promos misguide often, but RDB is not one among them.

Very recently there have been series of movies on freedom struggle (including multiple Bhagat Singhs releasing on the same day) and any more period films after the debacle called Mangal Pandey has no takers. And how many times do we read history and feel that they have no practical relevance today?

And DCH faced with the criticism of addressing no issues, even though all it wanted was to promptly reflect a comman man’s life and fun.

So to address both parties, the team behind RDB went into smart mixing of history with today’s story, that is why I call it intelligent. This blend according to me gave half the winning points as the plot allowed for both DCH kinda fun and seriousness of Yuva. [Yes, in short RDB is DCH+Yuva]. Along with the creation of situations that allowed the characters to replay the roles of freedom strugglers, the other contributing factors were the performances, music, dialogues and of course a story and its narration which does not let the audience’s attention slip by. The pace is slow and steady and the story is already engulfing you within it. That is rare.

Highlights in no particular order : There are lot of simple yet fun moments that gives instant smile. The campus shot where the boys bend to drink beer was indicative of the heights they could go to, if need arises. It was intelligent way in which the events of Bhagat Singh etc were mapped to current situation. My favorite song Khalbali is at a prominent point in the story and all songs’ picturisation is fresh and beautiful.

Random observations:I got early clues about Ajay’s death, in fact from the title card itself where he is mentioned as special appearance and later repeated references to death of a soldier. Also was expecting one incident that should bring seriousness in the happy-go-lucky attitude of protagonists. Some other events were also highly predictable, like Karan killing his father. Of course did not like the idea of them entering AIR to bring in the revolution. It was not strong enough. What happened to documentary ? For me, Siddharth easily overshadows mighty Aamir and no-mistake Atul Kulkarni, even with out having as many good lines others had and is easily my favorite of the lot (also Karan’s role would be my pick). Film is balanced in many ways: right fun, right seriousness. One more worth mentioning relief – there were no ads! I am seriously fed up of and I hate ads in films, however much they are ‘a part of’ film.Update: I take back the claim after being reminded (in comments) of in-the-face NDTV mic(ads). Embedded flashbacks are one of the finest I have seen. Even when it is supposed to end, there is still time for a song ?!(It is a different matter that I like that song)

One of my favorite scenes is the one where DJ(Aamir Khan) sitting in the car explains Sue about how friendship and all ends at campus…tomorrow each one goes their way.[Don’t know how many times I have told this to myself] And that he hangs around campus even after 5 years of finishing the course.”Aaj hum life ko nachate hain, kal life hum ko nachata hai”. Another favorite scene apart from the obvious favorite climax scene, is when they hang out in the fields/fort and have absolute fun forgetting the whole world.

Among the performances, Aamir Khan is loveable (and is lucky to get to re-live his both roles in parts – that of DCH and that of Mangal Pandey). His punjabi dialogue delivery is music to ears which was matched well by phoren lady’s(Alice Patten) Hindi! Karan’s reclusive attitude was beautifully lived by Siddharth in every frame. His eyes spoke volumes. Ever dependable Atul Kulkarni does not disappoint, he once again[may be time for a change ? ] triumphs in a role that suppresses anger and breathes normally. Madhavan and other two guys fill the gaps. Soha Ali Khan Pataudi shows promise and the Sue is refreshing ! Music was quite complementary to film. Binodh Pradan’s cinematography makes you pack and leave on a holiday immediately! Best part is patriotism and romance were present enough to leave an impression but were not over the top, which gives the whole package a sense of reality and meaning.

Little preachy and provocative, but give me such films (Swades, Yuva) any day rather than the candy-floss-plus-europe tour or triangle-love-stories or underworld-voilence. It is dangerous, yet probably true, to think that the politicians of today are no way different to the rulers before independence. It echoes the sentiment that we have to regain our freedom but this time by our own men – whom we have elected. But what is the message exactly. To kill whoever is wrong? This was told to us by Krantiveer too. In fact its ending speech by Nana was more provocative and powerful than a simple radio station confession. Some answers were given by Karan’s Q and A session. However, from the film’s perspective the ending is meaningful considering all they wanted was to let public know and to awaken them and to believe that the spark ignites the fire which spreads across – exactly the way Azad and Co did.

Rakesh and team, thanks!
About seeing films itself:
I had to postpone seeing this long itself is a story. And then when I did, I had load on my mind about the deadline. I kept shivering for most part (due to a/c probably). Then there was a constantly crying cute kid right next to my seat (Aaargh..), even worse was few front benchers who kept making fun[they had seen earlier] and commenting and talking loudly during the silent scenes. It was irritating to say the least.

I had kept myself away from all the news and reviews about this[this film is a delight for film lovers, bloggers and movie reviewers for so many things can be told/written about it!], should go and catch them now 🙂

The blogosphere is full of reviews, both positive and negative, of RDB after reading which I thought of doing a second round ! I do not think any previous movie was so passionately reviewed in recent times – whether positive or negative, which itself must be a relief for Rakesh whose sole intention was to convey the message. Even if you have pages against the very way of working, the very thoughts of the film, it still made you think !!

I am surprised that many people forget that it was just a film! If the wrong means is provocative enough, has it not been done in Bollywood before ?! There have been countless films, both which created quite a thunder in box office and those which left without a noise, have earlier suggested wrong means to achieve right end. And If I am not wrong, people just dont follow what is shown on screen (same logic applies to banning smoking in films) and not more “Satya” have been created because the voilence was glorified on screen than the situations created themselves. I have also consciously noted that good films often get scolded for its wrong doings – its like finding a wrong grain in the heap (or in Kannada – mosaralli kallu hudikidante). Many were troubled about a change made to the “story” of Devdas in SLB’s version while the glamorisation and bollywoodisation of Asoka’s(actual king) story did not raise questions! It is another story that Asoka bombed in boxoffice while Devdas succeeded, which again shows that more the popular the film more criticisms it receives.

I know the no-logic of the second half as well as the *wrong path*, the exaggeration, the hurried approach et all, but for me as a film it was quite refreshing and very entertaining having right mix of various ingredients. An experiment that was carried out well and as a result I am assured of quality entertainment for 3 hours, which is more important than anything else. If it does change the way some people talk about our nation or is someone awakens because of this, it is an added bonus and if it does not, no harm done.

Update 2: This is a best way to review a film 🙂
Update 3: Whatever I wanted to say, said better.

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7 thoughts on “Rang de Basanti

  1. Do you think, there is something seriously wrong in India at present ?

    Does acceptance of present as it is makes us careless ?

    Are the templates of past ignored as irrelevant by present day youth ? If yes, then why ?

  2. Chaitra,
    The fact that I forgot it does not make it a 'part of film' even though it quite seemed so. I accept and take back my claim, thanks !

  3. Newage,
    The answers (what I think) are difficult to be answer-in-short, but let me try.
    >>Do you think, there is something seriously wrong in India at present ?
    Yes and no. Yes, because given then potential, we are still not there where we could have been. No because there is still sanity and order in many areas, and it could have been worse.
    >>Does acceptance of present as it is makes us careless ?
    "If neighbours house is on fire then I am not worried" is being careless, then answer is yes. I feel more than carelessness it is lack of courage and will to do social good and helplessness that is of bigger concern.
    >>Are the templates of past ignored as irrelevant by present day youth ? If yes, then why ?
    Some templates are irrelevant, I feel. And when they are not, if it not being used it may be because of
    1) Lack of vision
    2) Situations are different and are complex.

  4. Arunima,
    Aiyyoo…I also thought everyone watched it and did not put a *spoiler ahead* warning…How I wish, you did not know the story and watched it yourself on screen.
    Do watch it soon and tell me your thoughts.

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