28 January 2006

Rang De Basanti... totally rocks!

Wow... what a movie!

With this movie for Bollywood has finally come of age! When I first read the cast, I wasn't too sure that I wanted to watch this. With Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Anupam Kher, Om Puri, Waheeda Rahman and few other well known names in the mix, I was mentally prepared for a typical (if stylish) Bollywood potboiler, with an item number or two, plenty of dishum-dishum, a very typical villain with the requisite bizarre appearance, subplots within the plot, and subplots within the subplots too.

The story begins with a young British filmmaker, Sue, heading to India to make a film on the young revolutionaries who made an impression her grandfather, a British police officer in pre-independence India. In Delhi, with her friend Sonia (Soha Ali Khan), she runs into DJ (Aamir Khan), Karan (Siddharth), Sukhi (Sharman Joshi), Aslam (Kunal Kapoor) and the Laxman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni) who joins them later. She hopes to realize her dream of a making a film on Bhagat Singh, Azad, Rajguru etc.

But, contrary to the expectations raised by her grandfather's dairy, the youth show no particular feelings of patriotism for their country. They view their country as a rampantly corrupt hopeless case. They even poke fun at her attempts to make a film. Playing their historical roles changes their perspective about their role in the present.

Madhavan, as Sonia's IAF pilot fiance, is the sole voice of conscience.

Spoiler alert!!!

Madhavan's death in a MIG crash brings the friends' conscience to the forefront. The events of the past, in the roles they play in Sue's movie, shape their present. They are forced to grow up overnight and take a look at the world around them. It's their call to stop being passive observers, and to take action. The five put aside their don't-give-a-damn attitude and start to undo the slurs on Madhavan's reputation. Their reasons and methods might not be the right ones, but their hearts are in the right place. There is a seamless integration of the parallels of the past and their actions in the present.

It was heartwarming... and heartbreaking. There were moments of personal sentiment there. I was really amazed by the spontaneous applause at the end of the movie.

There is absolutely no preachiness (a la Swades) or justification of the actions of the protagonists. The changes wrought in them are portrayed brilliantly. Their motivation to do what they did might not have been for all the right reasons, but thankfully neither was in unrealistic.

Anymore and I might just end up giving away the entire story!

I was so amazed with this production. Every single thing was absolutely perfect, from the headliners on-screen to the technical team off-screen. The music was good too. There were the requisite songs, but they were rather unobstrusive. Surprising for a Bollywood production, there was no screen hogging by any of the headliners. The script was snappy and brisk.

Definitely worth watching.. more than once, imho. Don't miss this one!

My arguement with Arun:
I believe this won't do too well, as it's rather a sophisticated movie, without the usual jhatka-matkas. Arun believes that I underestimate the taste of the Desi cine-goers.


Jinguchakka said...

I agree with your review. Even I was overwhelmed.
And I too feel that this movie won't perform well. For one, Swades didn't perform well outside Metros. Second, my Hindiland friends do not rave that much about this. I have heard people saying that the movie is too real!!

Taz Snow said...

I dunno about the movie not being able to perform well...all I know is that I am going back in for my third viewing and fully expect to get in a couple more before the theatres toss me out :o)

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