The Colours Speak In Rang De Basanti
By MovieTalkies.com, 31 January 2006
Inquilaab Zindabad! Fantasy meets reality, DJ meets Daljeet Singh meets Chandrashekhar Azad, and message becomes thought-provoking entertainment! Aamir Khan carries it through with one of his finest performances to-date, both as the young Delhi University student, DJ, and the dynamic Azad. Be it his comic timing, the Punjabi accent or the impish smile- Aamir plays his role to perfection. Hats off to the veteran actor!
DJ’s daredevil method of expression is introduced by director Rakeysh OmPrakash Mehra to the audience with a beer-drinking session held at the edge of a parapet, where he challenges a young Sukhi (played by Sharman Joshi) to see who maintains a finer sense of balance under the influence of alcohol. With cheers and hooting from friends below, in a playful banter, DJ emerges the victor. The idyllic setting takes off from here and though these youngsters come from a diverse background, the bonding that they share is established very well through the story and the screenplay (written by Kamlesh Pandey).
So you have DJ, a true Punjabi, full of himself, loud but at the same point in time, sharp and witty, the leader of the pack. Then you have the youngest of the lot, Sukhi who over the due course of time, realizes that there is more to life than just fun and games. Interestingly he is given a line “main kuwara Nahin Rehna chahta” which is used as a screenplay ploy throughout in the lighter moments, and comes back in the climax (which one would not want to reveal in the review), at a heartbreaking moment. And you have Aslam (played by Kunal Kapoor) who comes from an orthodox Muslim background, a part of the group’s drinking and partying in every sense of the term, yet he stays true to his family ideals. His father’s (Om Puri) expectations of him are high, wanting his son to go beyond where his family has reached, yet truly retain what his faith holds for him. Also a part of the gang is Karan (Siddharth), son of an extremely rich businessman, Singhania (Anupam Kher), who feels that his being rich is the only reason why he doesn’t belong so much to the friends and the team, and he finds that his father’s love for him is limited to isolated conversations which consist of nothing more than, “what are you going to do with life?” or which “foreign university are you going to attend?”. Add to this mix a young girl, Sonia (Soha Ali Khan) who is just like one of the boys, and Flt. Lt. Ajay Rathod (Madhavan), her love interest, and you have an eclectic group unlike any seen on the Indian screen.
In their intertwined lives enters Sue, a young filmmaker from UK who is in India to make a documentary on revolutionaries like Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh. Trying to find the perfect actors, she realizes that this mixed bag of friends fits her need to the ‘T’. The film from then on moves between the present and the past, seamlessly introducing the revolutionaries of yesteryear and coming back to the ‘new’ generation that the director tries to create parallels with. The moving back in time is in sepia tone, wonderfully shot by cinematographer Binod Pradhan (the ace lensman behind movies like Devdas and Mission Kashmir) and these images beautifully juxtapose with the present Delhi, may it be the University campus or a simple dhaba run by Kiron Kher. The humour is smart, the one-liners sharp, penned by adman Prasoon Joshi. This light tone is injected with a degree of seriousness wherein questions about finding a meaning in life are thrown at the audience.
Rang De Basanti is essentially a post-modern interpretation of freedom as it throws light upon the true identity of the Indian and at the same time has an entertaining and interesting narrative style, which declares what the filmmaker’s own stand is on the present political and social scenario. Be it corruption in higher places, be it arms deals, or be it his personal opinions on the wheeling-dealings that go in the higher defense level, all are brought out in the film, making it contemporary and relevant. Yet, the film doesn’t get too jingoistic, and doesn’t delve too much into the aspects of corruption of past history, keeping the proceedings entertaining. (for example, more cerebral parallels are made to General Dyre and the Defense Minister, which is best left for the viewers to discover).
Over the period of the film’s play time, through playing these revolutionaries this band of friends become revolutionaries themselves, but revolutionaries of today’s time. Towards the end, as the film races to a climax which is a bit weak as it is staged in a limited scope in and around a radio station, the film voices its true message: Sacrifice, which is why the title, ‘Paint it Yellow’. The film succeeds on many of its ambitious levels, which is an achievement by itself, due to the treatment and the actors. And not just the lead actor, Aamir Khan, but a very formidable cast, with Sharman Joshi, Kunal Kapoor, Soha Ali Khan and Atul Kulkarni, all understanding their characters, and playing them, just like they would have been in real life. The colours speak in Rang De Basanti.