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Rang De Basanti - Movie Thoughts

I have seen less than fifteen Hindi movies.... and almost every one of them were given a terrific box-office verdict promising me some sort of entertainment value... and in most cases I've walked out dissatisfied. May be the problem is mine for expecting a lot, may be it's the hype, maybe I don't have that Hindi taste in me, may be... there are a lot of 'maybe's. The much hyped, touted, celebrated 'Rang De Basanti' does nothing to shake my bad run at the Hindi pitch.

This is a two-message movie: [a] A reasonable chunk of today's youth doesn't care for their country or it's future. [b] For a transformed India, the youth need to take politics, bureaucracy, etc into their hands and start shaping the future. Coming to think of it, it's just one message, but the movie is structured such that it wanted me to think there are actually two messages, which is nothing but the result of a fractured screenplay. As far as message movies go, there is not much preaching or crappy tragedy involved here, but there is a sense of emptiness surrounding the entire running length of the movie, which essentially prevented those messages from striking a responsive chord in me.

Sue, a budding documentary filmmaker from Britain wants to make a film out of the chronicles recorded by her grandfather who served as a prison superintendent during the Raj. These chronicles involve prominent freedom fighters and essentially tells the story that our freedom is the price of many lives. On her arrival in India, she sets her eyes on four young men, who, she thinks may fit into the roles of those leaders. The first two-thirds of the movie is all about developing these characters who chat and booze and party as if there's no tomorrow. Sue also films her script meanwhile. The last segment of the movie slides into incredulity where there are logical loopholes and violent jerks in the narration that I just wanted the movie to end.

Talk of cliches: A worker of the saffron party and a Muslim brush in the beginning, and they're friends in the end. The youth gang goes around the Amar Jawan in their jeep with beer bottles and hip-hop music in the first half and the same gang goes around the same structure in a toned-down mood in the second half. "Is anybody willing to lay your life down for the country?" we are asked, and the very next scene four of our jolly guys take an IAF pilot on their shoulders for a merry-go-round and then... predictability is the bane of Indian movies. Though the final thirty minutes are radically different, they leave much to be desired and I thought the decisions of the young men were sending a wrong signal.

The prime cast includes Alice Patton, Aamir Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Siddharth, Sharman Joshi, Atul Kulkarni, Soha Ali Khan and Madhavan. The overall acting is above average with Alice as the weakest link and Siddharth as the strongest link in the acting chain. Siddharth very effectively plays the spoiled rich kid - his expressions are the same through out the movie, but there are simple, observable differences in every scene. If Siddharth is the hero in front of the camera, then it is A.R.Rahman, the hero behind the camera. There is so much energy in his compositions, he simply lifts the story all by himself.

Rakesh Mehra wrote and directed the film. The story is good, but lacks the depth to make me think about the society even as I walk out of the theatre. The screenplay is good, but lacks a punch that is required to drive the message into the minds of the youths. The direction is good, but lacks a flavour that is essential in holding our attention for this 160 minute running length. This is a perfect B grade movie. If there's nothing running in the multiplex that you want to see, you can see this movie.

2 Responses to “Rang De Basanti - Movie Thoughts”

  1. # Blogger Dust-Biter

    I really don't think that there is any need for these message directors to come up with their great thoughts and sermonize us...if the state of affairs warrants a leader, a Gandhi will arise, petrifying his thoughts from the shreds of papers that contain Thoreau's writings...

    The least that these story-tellers can do is narrate the story with class, which they do not seem to have done, going by your review...

    Many people watch Aamir Khan's moviews because it's so 'in' these days...nothing more...  

  2. # Anonymous Avinash

    well the music wa enough to drag me to the theatres though . But somehow i dont regret seeing it, i mean if so many ppl are talking abt it there are so many dumb ppl who didn't know abt the patronising movies done earlier so i just went there 2 see the dumbos i guess........................

    but on second thought i think so were they lol  

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