Monday, February 13, 2006

Rang De Basanti – Was there a Rang!!!!

Statutory Warning: For the sake of the producer’s money and hard work of the cast & crew, I request all of you to see the movie before reading this review!!

A challenging and a promising start. Sue, the grand daughter of Major General John McKenzie, also a film maker from London, is quite impressed in the history of Indian independence and the revolutionaries who gave their lives in the fight against the British. Her grand father’s diaries, invokes a dream in her to recreate the living legends like Bhagat Singh, in the digital world and she is determined to make her dream, a reality. She lands in India, finds a group of friends to be the most suitable cast for her documentary.

DJ is the most striking young man of all. Hides his fears about reality behind a cheerful smile, lives in the world of his friends, promises a lot and falls in love with the Sue.
Karan is the only son of a busy, wealthy business man and is an introvert. He is highly critical about Indian political deficiencies and values of patriotism. He looks forward to be an NRI soon.
Aslam is a tall, handsome, poetic, open minded Muslim. He spends a lot of his time with friends, so he could avoid confronting his orthodox family and their perception about the “Hindustanis”.
Sukhi is a hyperactive, charming youngster who steals the hearts of his friends and of the audience, with his sense of humor and an innocent haryanvi accent. He claims to be a virgin, and fears that he would die as one!!
Laxman, a strong, idealistic extremist, believes in Indian culture and tradition. He does not hesitate to get violent to protect his values on Indian-ness. He uses politics as a platform to express his freedom of thought and devotion to the nation. Well, he hates Aslam for his Pakistani background and is never available for money.
Sonia is a typical Indian modern girl, with dreams about marriage and life ahead.

Initially, Sue’s script fascinates the young minds for a good laugh and a party time talk. Gradually, they start shooting the documentary and it makes an impression on each of them. Yet, they are not convinced that anyone of them could make a difference to the country and make it a better place to live.

Flt. Lt. Ajay Rathod, Sonia’s finance, is a patriotic soldier, to whom all of them look up to. Though his arguments with Karan and the rest of the group sounds inspiring, his words do not make an impact until his death in a flight crash. His death becomes a political conspiracy and a consequence of corruption.

In the fight for justice, our youngsters face the realities and realize that it is not worth shutting their eyes against it. They plot and execute a flawless murder of the defense minister. Karan discovers that his father also had a hand in the corruption and kills him. The friends choose to make themselves heard, quite load and clear, and so they go on air (threw Radio) and confess to the public directly. Finally, all of them are considered as terrorist and killed by the army.

Though the movie had a brilliant start, in the second half, the anticipation slowly dies off. On technical grounds, I should say, the movie was a good blend of attractive cast, catchy & commercial music numbers. The director seemed to have had a clear vision of what he wanted to reflect on the screen. The camera had done its due diligence. In all it’s a well deserved appreciation for a good team effort.

However, there were certain political flaws in the movie, little too dominant to go unnoticed, which perhaps got forgotten in all the sacrifice and the patriotic heroism.

For instance, a political representative giving standing orders to the police force to execute a lathi charge against a calm moaning crowd, all in front of the media went unquestioned. A foreign visitor, being lathi charged and treated inhumanly would be lawfully indispensable charge against the entire nation. Imagine a load of army men, forcing their way into a radio station, to kill a bunch of unarmed men who are talking live on air. So much to democracy and public awareness!!

At the end, not only that the dead defense minister remains a honest, loyal politician and Late Ajay Rathod a careless flyer.. but, these five men also die as terrorist!!! What were they trying to prove??

I would consider them succeeded, if what they wanted to tell the audience was, if anyone tries to make a difference in India, they die. But if the message was otherwise, I think they lost it somewhere between the intermission and the End!!!

After movies like Dil Chata Hei and Lagan, we did expect a lot more from Amir Khan than what was exhibited. They pushed in causal dialogues with a touch of humor in places where they believed to have built in too much pressure. But truly there were an over dose!!

On a final note - A different climax doesn’t always make it right and not all deaths are due sacrifices.