Monday, February 25, 2008

Rang De Basanti- Film review

My two- week rest at home post hospitalization did some wonders to me. Though I have operated from home attending office work through Blackberry and Internet, it still gave me ample time to take care of the two German Shepherd pups that have just come to my home a week back and to watch movies in my home theatre. A friend of mine who dropped in left two dozen DVDs with me. I have watched a dozen, most of them the usual love triangles, separations and coming together at the end. But for one movie, Rang De Basanti. What a movie it is and how wonderfully it is told. Indian cinema has sure come of age.

Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra brilliantly merges three plots in the movie. The first is about a group of friends from completely different backgrounds , their bonding and the carefree lifestyle they lead. This is the generation X. The second plot is about the past, when freedom fighters sacrificed their lives during the struggle for Independence.. The third plot is the parallel drawn between Indians ruled by the British and Indians ruled by corrupt politicians today. The message is subtle at first , but echoes piercingly before it reaches its finale. The parallel is drawn so brilliantly that it neatly fits into the story.

The film opens with Sue McKinley (English actress Alice Patten) quits her cushy job in London and comes to India to film a documentary based on the lives of freedom fighters- Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Raj Guru, Azad and others. Her Indian contact, Sonia (Soha Ali Khan), introduces her to her own group of friends. They are DJ (Aamir Khan), who, despite having completed his studies five years earlier, still hangs out on campus, Karan (Siddharth), the son of a corrupt industrialist,(Anupam Kher), Aslam (Kunal Kapoor), who battles with his family which opposes his friendship with Hindus, and Sukhi (Sharman Joshi), a harmless half-wit who has everyone in stitches with his comical behaviour. Sue recognises something in the group that suggests they would make ideal participants in her documentary. Between them, four of the six roles are covered. For the fifth, Sue chooses a radical Hindu, Laxman (Atul Kulkarni), whose inclusion is not without tension, and Sonia takes the role of the only female revolutionary, Durga Vohra.

Initially the friends are indifferent to the subject, but along the way they are forced to confront their own attitudes, bringing about a remarkable metamorphosis. And when their common friend dies in MiG crash they are shattered. But more shattering was to come when the Defense Minister blames the pilot and defends the spare part suppliers. The friends plot and kill the defense minister. They then enter a radio station and confess their crime on radio and the reasons for doing it. The commandoes storm the building and kill all of them.

Without being in any way preachy or using worn out cliché dialogues, the director Raykesh Mehra turns the spotlight on the youth and exhorts it. Eventually, when we come out of the theatre , one message lingers. It is encapsulated in a line used by one of the characters in a moment of quiet contemplation and repeated in the climax. No country is perfect. It needs to be made perfect. The profound relevance of that line applies not only to India but to most of the world today. Be sure not to miss Rang De Basanti. It is a classic film without the pretensions of an art film.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Genial fill someone in on and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you on your information.