Sunday, February 05, 2006

Rang de Basanti

I had wanted to see the movie right from the time I saw the promos. Finally I watched it, almost a week after its release. As I have said earlier, I don’t consider myself as a reviewer at all since I know zilch about the technical aspects of filmmaking. However I wanted to comment about the content of the movie, a topic I am really passionate about, something I really feel strongly about. I would be giving my personal take about various issues addressed in the movie. Ok, there are so many thoughts brimming in my head after watching the movie that I just don’t know where to start.

About the movie in short:
All the actors have essayed their roles wonderfully. They have lived their roles. I loved Sukhi aka Sharman Joshi in the movie. He is just way too cute. There was an element of Saif Ali Khan hangover. But, he was the cutest in the movie. Siddharth Narayan was also awesome. His character was so Ajay Devganish….Aamir Khan’s character is kind of similar to the one he essayed in Dil Chahta Hain. Not overtly similar, but the essence is kind of same. Kunal Kapoor is HOT. I thought he could have done with a better dialogue delivery. Personally I feel Atul Kulkarni was like super best. Amazing Actor, loved him in the movie. Soha Ali Khan and Madhavan were also good. Special mention for Alice Patten. Lovely actress. She actually spoke HINDI and emoted so well, WOW. Music is rocking. The saying, “A thing for beauty is a joy forever” just fits in so well with regards to his music. God bless you Mr Rehman, you have no idea how many hearts you gladden with your wonderful music. Words fail me to express the brilliance of his music.

My views:
I am really impressed with the subject tackled in the movie. After all candyfloss movies which dominate Hindi cinema today, this movie is such a welcome change. I felt the same when I saw YUVA. Probably I think most of the Hindi movies do not portray the youth of India in a proper manner. I don’t really subscribe to the violent extremism adopted by the protagonists in the movie. I do not think it is a solution at all.

Took a stand:
However what I loved about the movie is that it took a stand. The youth took a stand which they were convinced about. The youth in the movie decided to adopt violence as a mean to achieve justice. You know what is criminal? Indifference is; Apathy is. Indifference coupled with cynicism is a dangerous combo. The fact that the youth took a stand is refreshing enough. Nowadays, I see a lot of indifference amongst us.

Anecdote 1:
The other day I was attending a seminar wherein the topic addressed was, “Is youth activism alive in India?” A speaker made a very interesting comment with regards to Mumbai. He said, youth activism in Mumbai is not all that rampant. However impose a dress code and you will see the rebellion. You will hear voices against it. I just wondered that it reflects such a sorry state of affairs. Only if personal freedom is threatened, does a youth protest. Agreed, dress code is stupid, however it is sad that the consciousness is aroused only when the personal freedom is threatened. Other more important things don’t really evoke extreme reactions.

Anecdote 2:
The movie talks about how we have to participate in the process to make a difference. I totally agree with them. I remember a conversation I had with a friend who was a Delhi university student. She narrated to me some of her misadventures with the campus elections at the Delhi Uni. She told me how pointless it is to stand for elections if you are sincere even at a campus election. While hearing her, I was totally consumed by envy. I told her how lucky she is to actually witness the whole PROCESS firsthand. The process is a part of the system we are a part of. The more we get acquainted with it, the better. This will further help us generate solutions for the umpteen number of problems we are saddled with. Mumbai University doesn’t have any sort of campus election. The youth is not acquainted with the system. Mumbai is where political apathy is at its worst especially amongst the youth.

History repeats itself
The juxtaposition of past and the present is amazing. I am referring to the Jallianwalla Baug incident and the shootout that takes place at a peaceful rally in the movie. Well, no wonder, people say that history repeats itself. But there something about that juxtaposition that bothers me. It is real. I can’t even dismiss it off as a filmy concoction. When the government we elect becomes tyrannical, then where are we heading to as a society and a country sometimes really worries me.

Let me cite a simple instance. In Ulhasnagar a far flung suburb in Mumbai was in news recently. Acting on a PIL, the High Court had ordered the demolition of 855 illegally constructed and hence unauthorised buildings. However, the Maharashtra Government brought about an ordinance safeguarding most of the structures. The reason that was given that Ulhasnagar is a special case. Humanitarian grounds were also cited. It is a place wherein the Sindhis who had fled Sindh province from Pakistan during partition were given plots to start their lives afresh. I sympathise with the Sindhi Community, but I don't agree with the ordinance. They knew what they were getting into. No point in being linient. However what were the government and the civic body doing when so many illegal constructions came up? If you would note, the very same chief minister had ordered the destruction of lakhs of slum dwellers since according to him they were staying in the city illegally in encroached land. Ok, so aren’t the people staying in illegal constructions in Ulhasnagar staying illegally in Mumbai? Why such different yardsticks for citizens of the same city? This is a direct discrimination against the poor slum dwellers and the comparatively richer and well-off residents of Ulhasnagar. It can be anywhere for that matter, I am just citing the example of Ulhasnagar since it was a recent case. This has just set a dangerous precedent.

The reason why I broached this topic is that I see a very dangerous trend. Well, Here I see that our government totally disregarding the law is using the legislative powers to draft rules which are unfair only catering to the privileged sections of the society. This is just a small example. I don’t see lot of difference between the erstwhile rulers that we were ruled by and the current government. In the pre-independence era, we could battle it out against the outsiders, the Britishers. We could easily blame them. However this time around it is different. The fact that hurts is that this time around we can’t really blame anyone. We elected them, can we really crib? We have to fight amongst ourselves, with the government we elected. That’s not a nice feeling I will tell you. There are loads of injustice perpetrated by the Government themselves that it is not even funny. Many a times they aren’t even reported in the mainstream media. But well, all is not hunky dory at all.

Don’t approve of the violent stand
As I said, I did not like the option of violence that the youth took. In the movie, loss of one life lead to loss of almost all the protagonists. If loss of lives could have stirred the conscience of the nation, the killers of Satyendra Dubey and Manjunath would have been rotting in jail by now. Things don’t happen quickly. We are an ‘Instant Coffee’ generation. We want everything to happen NOW. That is unfortunately the message reflected by the movie. When loss of lives will not bring about a drastic change, what’s the point in violence? I sincerely believe that there are other ways to bring about a change in the society and though it may take time, we rather use them. I think that’s an incorrect way to deal with any situation. An eye for an eye makes everyone blind. I really do believe in the adage.

Final take:
I don't agree with the option that the youth took. However, the movie deserves a watch. The movie made me think, made me intrsopect. Not many recent movies have succeeded in doing that.

A request:
Anand felt that Rang De Basanti was a regressive piece of Hindi trash. His is one the most extreme negative reaction I have read till date. Anand, I would really like to know why you felt likewise. Care to elaborate? Here, Anand explains why he hated the movie.

14 comments:

andy said...

:) well said.. i believe the movie was a good in terms of the issue raised and the manner half of it was portrayed.. but it was totally haywire when it came to suggesting a solution to the issues. and the climax was kinda silly!!

but all in all .. better than movies with "serial kissers" and fuckol dhinchak songs...

Maverick said...

Good Potraial of the movie...but i feel that the climax was good ...it was different & many people did not like it as we dont like seeing our heroes die .Its true that it was violent but did they have any other way of tackling the issues ..we all know what would have happened if they would have gone to the court ...Going into the politics now a days u need lots of moneys & sources ....What else can u do in a situation like this .....

goggly said...

Hi..
i read your impressions with great interest. i liked your reaching for real life situation much in the same manner as movie has used it.
We echoed simmilar feelings albeit different fram of thoughts
regards
milind

Roy said...

Hi…I’m Roy, just start the journey in the blog-world. New..... so learning the tricks by peeping in others blog without any prior permission (sorry for that!!).

Heii, why not take a look to my blog: (http://comeonroy.blogspot.com/) & tell me where I need to improve. Most important, maybe you can also get something new & interesting stuff…..maybe!!
Hoping to hear you..
Roy

Roy said...

First of all, thanks to land on my blog & express ur thoughts with different strokes!!!

what kind of music I listen?!?!
everything except Hip-hop & Hard Rock, bcoz I cant understand what they are singing & if I dont understand song I dont listen them!!

But I prefer ....Ballad, Soft Rock & Soul/R&B with all Kishore Da's song. Nowadays I like, Hariharan....

About various genre of music?!?
Just started, so come on give me some times..

Hope to see again & again..
Roy

Shobha Kumari said...

Hello this is one more Shobha right here...well Shobha blog of yours really seems to be interesting..enriched with wonderful thoughts...awesome expression ...Wish to join your blog..with this
shobha

manan said...

well written. according to me though, the movie showed pretty well that the violent stand DID NOT work. the deceased was converted into a martyr, the kids all died, and no the issue of the spare parts was drawn to no conclusion.

for me the movie stood for one thing. Will we let it come to this? or will we do something - that something being taking more active interest in our society and participating it. and thats why i loved the movie. it showed clearly where our natural apathy leads.

Hiren Shah said...

We still have "show me the man and I shall show you the law" where ulhasnagar is concerned. The movie-everything was good but end unfeasible.

Prajit said...

Hi it's an interesting piece of stuff about Rang De Basanti.Thanx.

Anonymous said...

heyy shobz!! nice nice review...a bit exhaustive but actually worth reading :D wonder y al r going so crazii abt this movie? ;)
payal
psst: realli like ur posts. so am linkin ya..:)

Peak Day Blues said...

Nice review of yours. I have read so many reviews of RDB in the blogosphere, but this one stands out... I don't particularly agree with the screenplay writer/director about how the movie ended. I don't think any government will be daring to kill 4 youths in broad day light when the whole stuff was "supposedly" shown live over a TV channel (read: NDTV)...

Shobha said...

Andy: Yup, its way better than the bhatt camp films.

Shivaji prasad: There are lot of alternative solutions than the knee jerk reaction. You can always go to court for starters.

Milind. hey...glad that you enjoyed the comment.

Roy: Happy blogging...

Shobha: This ain't a group blog. All the best to your stinct at blogdom.

Manan: Precisely my point...

Hiren: Ending was well....hajam nahi hua sorts...

Prajit: You welcome...

Shobha said...

Payal: Hey thanks girl...hope u enjoyed reading it...

Peak Hour blues: yup...I agree with you. I think the director really wanted to bring out parallels between the jallianwala baug massacre and the current situation...tht was desparate I thought....anyways...Thanks for dropping by...

Anonymous said...

siddharth was so stupid.