Friday, February 10, 2006

Rang De Basanti

I watched this movie last weekend.

It's a well-written and well made movie.
In case you have been living under a rock and don't know anything about it..

Sue is a british filmmaker whose grandfather used to be a jailer in India during the british rule. She has been reading his diaries about the Indian revolutionaries and desperately wants to make a movie about them. The corporation she works for refuses to pay for it (they say 'Do something on Gandhi, it's more saleable' :) ). She comes to India anyway, hooks up with Sonia(Soha Ali Khan), her Indian contact, and tries to make the movie. She ends up meeting Sonia's buddies, and they all decide to help her make the movie.
The rest of the story is about how the movie is made and how subsequent events affect all of them.

I really liked the way the characters were portrayed. Their interactions were unforced and natural, in a manner reminiscent of Dil Chahta Hai. Folks might have issues with how the story unfolds, but I really can't talk about it without giving away the plot of the movie. I thought the movie was a little slack towards the middle, but not by much.

The music was nice, as was the cinematography. There were some really nice shots. Except maybe one song, none of them felt forced. I liked Rang De Basanti and Roobaroo. I also really liked Lalkaar. It's inspired by Ram Prasad Bismil's Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna.
Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna Hamare Dil Mein Hai
Dekhna hai Zor Kitna Bazu-E-Qatil Mein Hai.
The yearning for sacrifice is in our hearts
We want to test our enemies strength.
Here's the complete poem..



- This is the angry-young-man movie updated for the current generation. Very intelligently done, but it is at heart, about a bunch of guys getting upset with the system and killing people they feel are responsible. The story is inspired by the death of Abhijit Gadgil in a MIG-21 crash.

- I thought that the conversations the characters had were pretty well written. I can really relate to their rootlessness and lack of inspiration. When I read history I also feel 'Damn, they did so much, what have I done?' and wonder if I will be able to do something phenomenal if I am put in a situation like that. Would I also be willing to just die if I had been born in the 1930s? So, while I don't approve of the character's action, I can understand them doing it.

- Atul Kulkarni's character was my favorite. His initial enmity to Sonia's gang of friends and his later friendship are all very nicely done. I liked the way he recited Sarfaroshi Ki Tamnna and said 'You won't get your Bismil from these guys'. When I was in college, I had an opportunity to talk with many BJP/RSS sympathisers. While some were just insane (let's kill all the muslims!), some were honestly concerned by what they felt was an attack on hindu tradition. That made, for me atleast, his character more believable.

- I liked the way they juxtaposed the 'Documentary' with 'present-day' happenings.

- There were some really nice throw-away shots, like the one where the friends are having a good time, and Siddharth's character is standing away from the group smoking and the one where Atul Kulkarni's character is admiring a Sikh guy's talwar.

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