Under the sun

Monday, February 06, 2006

Rang De Basanti

It's much better than a Shankar movie but not as good as what the hype would like me to believe. Whatever expectations i had evaporated in the first half, the biggest disappointment being ARR's background score [barring glimpses of brilliance like the title music], and Aamir Khan's over-the-top take of a typical Dilli da puttar. AK has to move beyond his eye-brow raising flirtatious routine.
The narrative. History repeats itself. Lives and characters are born again. The screenplay fuses flashbacks with jump-cuts to the present. Maybe the narrative can be seen as one of the pluses of the film. Though not necessarily bad it didn't strike a chord nor stir me up into attention. In many such transformation scenes, ARR's score was a let down.
While Aamir's characterization was realistic enough, i must say i began to get tired of his antics. And Sharman Joshi is plain irritating, with his role being reduced to a cliched caricature. Commercial elements, they would say. Sidharth comes, smokes, stares and goes. Underplayed? I would rather say, dull, conspicuous trying to be inconspicuous. Alice Patten's and Toby Steven's roles in Mangal Pandey look similar to me. She and Soha Ali Khan are cast aptly, IMO. Atul Kulkarni and Kunal Kohli fare much better, being restrained and expressive,as the scene demands. One sees unmistakable shades of Hey Ram's Shriram Abhyankar in Kulkarni.
The second half is definitely the better half, though the Hollywood-like "feel good" syndrome makes its presence felt now and then. Making wisecracks, laughing and singing whilst death is staring is ok as long as the undercurrent of tension, fear or plain shock is maintained [yes, subtly!] in the characters. Laughing, after being hit by machine-gun fire is not only exasperatingly cliched, it represents what i think is the worst of Hollywood. "Feel good" makes me feel bad. Why is Bollywood ashamed of our locales? Why is it always about trendy clothing, swanky bars, and the works? Or am i letting bias get in the way of better judgement once too often?
Thematically, this movie screams home an important point - don't hide behind blame games or fancy words like patriotism if you aren't willing to be part of it and get your hands dirty. Shankar, for all your attempts till now, there is one movie which conveys what you have wanted, want and will keep wanting to convey. It does it better than you do. nothing more, nothing less. More than that, the chosen vehicle is what i agreed with most in the movie - The state machinery and its role in crushing rightful dissent and suppressing questions*. The terrorist "twist" was the highlight of the movie for me. I have very strong and politically incorrect views on the subject and hence i "O puttufy" for Rang De Basanti on this one!

* There was this film by Bharathiraaja called "En Uyir Thozhan", starring Delhi Babu [who is now sadly, bed-ridden] which talks about the betrayal of a loyal party worker who virtually worships his party. The film is about how he and the people awake. A very good movie, in its own way, and not surprisingly it bombed at the BO.

9 Comments:

  • .......starring Delhi Babu [who is now sadly, bed-ridden]

    A_A,
    Babuis almost out of bed now......and he also has the wishes from Tahlaiver.....

    Babu is one of the best examples for confidence

    -Sakala

    PS: Still no post on thalaiver Darisanam

    By Blogger Silicon Sillu, at Tue Feb 07, 04:06:00 PM  

  • Sakala,
    Good to hear about Babu and yeah Aandavar helped him once.
    I missed the function/darisanam :(

    By Blogger Bala (Karthik), at Tue Feb 07, 08:40:00 PM  

  • Nice Review Alwarpet :)
    I too notice ARR's incompetency in doing BGM in some scenes. Especially The scene where 'Chandrashekar Azad' escapes after the Raavan mela collapse...ARR uses the same guitar and violin piece which he used earlier when all the guys in present times drive fast in their cars and bikes.I was irritated to the core...
    Next one i remember was the scene at 'Jalianwala massacre' the BGM had nothing except choral shout. It had no soul in it:(
    The song after Madhavan's demise was also a perfect let down :(
    Apart from the BGM I think the movie was ok... Better than 'aayitha ezhuthu'
    regards,
    rajasaranam.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Feb 13, 10:53:00 PM  

  • Rajasaranam,
    Yeah i felt exactly the same in the JWB massacre scene..

    "... Better than 'aayitha ezhuthu'"
    LOL :-))

    By Blogger Bala (Karthik), at Tue Feb 14, 10:51:00 AM  

  • A_A, Nice review. But I think the first half was more entertaining. Though I do agree with ur points on that, it is quite natural that they come out with such things to satisfy the HINDI audience. second half was extremely good.

    Atleast BOLLYWOOD is coming up with this kind of movies. compared to other indian cinemas(including kollywood), this movie is better.

    By Anonymous selvakumar, at Tue Feb 14, 02:04:00 PM  

  • selva,
    Yeah BW's horizon's are wider....

    By Blogger Bala (Karthik), at Tue Feb 14, 04:18:00 PM  

  • I remember the evocative last lines of En Uyir Thozhan:
    "VidindhAl vidai Vidai ThandhAl vidiyumA / VidindhAl vidai varumA"

    Thanks for the comments about Rang De. Thanks because I ran into a housefull board in Mayajal a three weeks back. And after that I have been hearing such good reveiews that I was feeling pretty sore. Your post is reassuring.

    I eventually hope to see Rang De. But no rush now :-)

    By Anonymous msp, at Fri Feb 17, 03:31:00 PM  

  • msp,
    You know what, i watched RDB yesterday for the 2nd time [dad had booked the tickets, so had to go] but to my own surprise it didn't bore me and maybe i was a little bit too harsh on AK.
    That said, the other things remain the same :)

    By Blogger Bala (Karthik), at Mon Feb 20, 05:50:00 PM  

  • Just got back from it. The second half seemed atleast twice as long as the first.Apart from Siddharth and Aamir the movie is quite ordinary. I don't understand why I got only second row rickets in Mayajaal even 4 weeks into its run.

    Or should I be haughty and say I do understand why :-)

    By Anonymous msp, at Sun Feb 26, 01:26:00 AM  

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