Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bravo, Rang De Basanti!

Yesterday had been an eventful day: had a good meeting with the architect on the site, helped my driver shop for a mobile and get a Trump connection, had Chinese flavoured corn and McDonald’s Chicken burger and fries for lunch, and got to see Rang De Basanti in the evening at PVR Plaza at the invitation of a Dutch bank. And it’s to RDB that I return.
What a film! It’s got an attitude, moves like an animated lizard and rocks like hell. The film celebrates the youth of modern India, call it Gen Y and Gen Next, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that they care beyond their cultivated nonchalance, their carefree bohemia, their silly college pranks, their “chill, man” attitude. They care and they feel passionately. And in that I see hope for this much abused country. The film has a message but it doesn’t harangue: the exploitation of the Raj is replaced by an even more pernicious one by the corrupt and amoral troika of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen in post-colonial India. We need to take stock, shed apathy and participate in governance and make the system work for the people, and not against them. The two parallel stories work in tandem and often fuse, so compelling is the presentation and the appeal.
Of late, it looks as if Bollywood is in a frenzy to reinvent itself. And it does you proud. What a beautifully shot film, the use of duotones (Sepia to depict the past), soft, aesthetic cinematography that makes a virtue out of loud and garish Delhi, the pulsating music that holds no apology for its "with it" tonality, and the works. With this, Bollywood has definitely arrived and one marvels at its energy and freshness. The film works at all levels. It entertains, amuses, provokes and makes you think. And our grand hope is that maybe, just maybe, it will also go a long way, in a tiny but significant way, in making us act.
All actors were good in their roles. Amir as a fun-loving, bike-mad Punjabi-munda, DJ, gets the rustic accent and manner right and the cake. Alice Patten as Sue works at her role and comes across as sincere and accomplished. And endearing, of course. Our umbilical chord with the British for historic reasons is now working in our favour.
Only two things, however, that I would have liked to see a little different in the film: a less melodramatic end and more ruthless editing. On second thoughts, even that doesn’t matter. Perhaps the end reflects our collective angst, a desperate full-measure to change things for the better.
I don’t know why but I like the film reviews at Rediff. Check this one out of RDB. It’s superbly written.
And if you haven’t seen the film, don’t miss it. Despite all our gory politicians and parasitical system, it will make you feel proud of India and give you hope. And hope is what life is all about, isn’t it? Take care…


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