Monday, January 30, 2006

Rang de Basanti - A Cinematic Taj Mahal

Cast: Aamir Khan, Siddharth, Kunal Kapoor, Sharman Joshi, Soha Ali Khan, Atul Kulkarni, Alice Patten
Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Every Friday, Bollywood dishes out the usual fare of crap, lousy, clichéd, plagiarized movies which not only degrade Indian cinema but also make ardent movie fans like me cringe with horror. But once in while Bollywood outshines and outclasses itself. Rang De Basanti (RDB) is one such rare instance where Indian cinema has not only redeemed itself but actually taken the step up in movie making; it is a film as all films should be made- Entertainment with a message. It is Indian Cinema at its very best.
The best part of the movie is its narration. Very rarely do directors credit the Indian audiences with intelligence and hence end up explaining each and every detail. Thankfully Rakeysh Mehra does not feel the need to educate the audience and narrates the story taking the cine-goers’ knowledge for granted. The story is about Sue (Alice Patten in a brilliant performance) who comes to India armed with the diary of her grandpa who was a jailor in during the British Raj. She is in Delhi to make a documentary about the freedom struggle based on the characters in the diary — Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh et al. In India she meets Sonia(Soha) and her gang of friends - Aamir (DJ) — the high-voltage Punjabi who races, boozes, fights, dances and at times sings those gems of 70's. Sharman (Sukhi) — the butt of most jokes who fears he will die a virgin. Kunal Kapoor (Aslam) —the lone Muslim in the gang who is loathed by his family for his 'Hindu friendships'.Karan (Siddharth) — A business man’s son who hates politics, higher studies abroad and his mobile when it shows 'dad calling'.
Atul Kulkarni(Lakshman) plays the role of a student “Saffron” party leader who hates “Apni sanskriti ki hatya” but is convinced by Sue to act in her movie. The care free, aimless youngsters come of age when Sonia’s fiancĂ© (Madhavan) an ace pilot is killed when his MiG Crashes. The Government blames it on pilot error to cover shady defense deals of the MiG spares.
DJ and gang take matters into hands and solve the problem….How? Well you will have to watch the movie for that.
The movie touches a chord in the heart. It actually makes one realize how impotent we have become, how callous our attitude is, towards society towards our country and towards life in general.
It does have its flaws though, for one it’s a tad long. The climax is disappointing and the last 20 odd minutes of the movie defy logic as well as common sense.But even with these few glitches the brilliant script, the amazing cinematography the avant garde performances of the entire cast and a refreshingly new way of story narration makes this movie a must watch. Aamir Khan is at his usual best, Soha Ali Khan shows us that she has indeed inherited her mother’s acting genes. Siddharth , Atul, Sharman and Kunal too are terrific in their roles but there are two scene stealers in the movie - Alice Patten and A.R. Rahman’s music.
RDB is a must watch…one of the best movies to hit the screen in a long time.

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