Putting rights issues through the looking glass. Not seeking answers, just some food for thought to see whether things could be any different!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Rang De Basanti: A Step Forward for Hindi Cinema

Well...I am posting after a really long time...

Last time, I wrote about the Human Rights Film Festival which, by the way, I myself missed as I had to go out of town for office work...

So may be, my friends who did watch any of the films featured in the fest can fill me in!

I also wanted to write about my trip to Kalinga Nagar where indiscriminate police firing killed 12 tribals and a policeman but for reasons of professionalism, will write on that a while later.

This is my first movie review ever and I may be panned for this but I will definitely give this a try! My guru of movie reviews is Great Bong whose review of the Arjun Rampal smash hit "Asambhav" was nothing less than excellent and has partly inspired this post. I am partly writing this because I am running out of topics to write on (never claimed to very creative) and this was Swagata's idea.

I am not getting into technical details but will list the things I liked about the movie....

Firstly, kudos to Rakesh Mehra (forgive me for not writing his new numerologically enhanced name)for a truly ORIGINAL script. I am not saying that we have not seen originality in Indian cinema before but originality was definitely missing in mainstream Hindi cinema for a long time. Even if the script is not completely "churaoed", the formula is, either from average Hollywood hits or earlier successful Hindi movies.

Rakesh Mehra's first film, what with its technical brilliance was a straight, shameless lift of FACE OFF but what a comeback. Especially the way the past and the present have been perfectly blended in the film is worth appreciating.

Secondly, the dialogues of the movie were damn good and relatable. I especially remember some and will put them down.

There is a point in the movie when Aslam (Kunal Kapoor, boy..is he handsome???) and his friends are hanging out at the dhaba. To divert a little and at the expense of boring the janta, I would like to know where this dhaba is, but wherever it is, it is reallly far from the radio station, New Delhi coz that Sue person takes a painfully long time to get there during the climax! My friend Praachi blames it on the traffic jam in Delhi!

Anyway, coming back to the point....Aslam tells his friends that how we are taught to "adjust" right from our childhood and he gives the example of passengers in a local train and how seven people adjust and sit on a seat meant for three, max. four persons.

This is so true and the train example is only a metaphor for the Indian way of living. People adjust, rather compromise in every aspect of their lives. We hear so many examples of these adjustments and how normal all of that seems to us.

When Aslam tells Sukhi that bachpan mein churan ke saath apna loveline bhi chaat liya tha kya!

Also, that "Sue..kar mere mann ko" was really funny!

Atul Kulkarni's rendition of Sarfaroshi ki tamanna was sooo good. Everything was perfect except his pronounced Marathi accent.

Sukhi's Jat accent reminded me of Premdas, my colleague who talks on the phone during his engineered breaks and talks in that exact same way...batata becomes battatta etc...

There must be many more such instances but I have proven my point and will move on.

Prasoon Joshi should write for more films.

Thirdly, to be able to make a mainstream Hindi movie and have a star like Aamir Khan in it and not give him superlative importance is an achievement in itself and hats off to the director!

Normally, in Hindi cinema with a big star and an ensemble cast, the ensemble is relegated to the status of glorified extras and Aaamir Khan's Lagaan is one such film.

To not have Aamir Khan enact Bhagat Singh and to not have him as the centre of the film is a real feat, keeping the market equations in mind.

Every character in the movie, at least the central characters have been given their due and each one has delivered. Whoever thought Soha Ali could act?

Fourthly, the music of the movie is memorable. AR Rahman's quality of music was declining of late but with this soundtrack, he has proved that he is way above the rest. At the cost of sounding filmi, I would say that the music grows on you.

My personal favourites are Rubaru and Khalbali. Especially, Rubaru comes at a time when you least expect it and fits in beautifully. One would expect it to come when these chaps are just hanging out!

The lyrics are not difficult and are relatable. The words are easy and something that gels with today's generation. This is such a relief when songs like "Ishq ki gali vich no entry" are rocking the music charts.

Lastly, the movie gives us a good actor by the name of Siddharth. He played Vivek Oberoi's part in the Tamil Yuva from what I hear. He was the discovery of the film!

Also, the ruins where these folks hang out near the air force base looks beautiful..I will try and locate the place and go there sometime soon!

There are a few flaws with the movie as well...namely, that it was a tad too long....The parts where they were aimlessly hanging out could have been edited. I mean we get the point that people in college hang out in the canteens, movie theatres, local dhabas. Hello, BEEN THERE DONE THAT!

The website for the movie looks really snazzy but is low on real information. It should have been a little more elaborate.

Lastly, something that Aamir Khan's character said at one point in the movie stayed with me. That he does not want to leave college and face the real world. I face a similar situation despite having completed college almost a year ago! My job is fun but somewhere, I donot want to accept that I am no more a college goer and my job seems like a long internship that will end sometime but the fact is that it may not.

That's my take on the movie. On the whole, a really good film with the right dose of entertainment, good looking people and social message crap.

Those who thought BLACK with all its hyperactivity was a landmark for Indian cinema (again, I am not saying that it was a bad movie but it was massively overrated), watch this movie to know better!