Saturday, March 25, 2006

Rang De Basanti

Belconnen Hoyts has started showing Bollywood movies again! (They seem to think for some bizarre reason that no one wants to watch Bollywood during summer.)

Last night we saw Rang De Basanti. Here's the online review at Hoyts (obviously written by the same junior that showed the ads off to one side of the screen last night):
A young idealistic English filmmaker Sue (Alice Patten) comes to India to make a documentary drama on Bhagat Singh and his contemporaries during the freedom struggle. After failing to gather funds for the film, she decides to recruit students from the Delhi University.

She finds DJ (Aamir Khan), an ex-student who passed out five years back but still wants to be a part of the University because he doesn't think there's too much out there in the world out there to look forward to. Aslam (Kunal Kapoor) is a middle class Muslim boy who lives in the bylanes near Jama Masjid and is poet, philosopher and guide to his friends. Sukhi (Sharman Joshi) is the group's baby, vulnerable and has a weakness for only women. Laxman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni) is the fundamentalist in the group and Sonia (Soha Ali Khan) who is a tomboy and vivacious is engaged to Ajay (Madhavan) - a pilot.

Sue's film makes DJ and his friends stop and stare at themselves for being the actual descendants of these great men and never recognizing and celebrating their courage and spirit. That is where the story of Rang De Basanti begins.

Indeed. This is a terrific film, and I *highly* recommend it. The central concern is India's future, her politics, how corrupt her system is, the tensions between the various religious groups, and how young people feel doomed to continue the process because they think nothing can be changed.

I don't want to give away anything, but it is a coming-of-age film designed to make young Indians think but avoiding didactic lecturing. It's bright, funky, but not trite. And of course, it's 3 hours long (with an intermission, thankfully, which is something Peter Jackson and his ilk should consider including). The soundtrack is contemporary, and there are no manufactured dance scenes. I wish Hollywood could produce something this appealing and meaningful for young people. I should add that there are some violent scenes, so it's not something to take pre-teens to.

The man in red is DJ, played by Aamir Khan, who seems to have eclipsed Sharukh Khan in Bollywood popularity. He looked very familiar to me, and when I got home and looked at our home Bollywood collection (cheap as chips in your local Asian supermarket), he is probably in every second Hindu movie I own! Lately we've seen him in Mangal Pandeyand Lagaan, both historical films about resisting British rule. He seems to be a bit of a political animal, which is why this latest script would have appealed to him.

This is a recent release, so it should be showing right around the country, wherever you can find a cinema that supports Bollywood screenings. Ask your local cinema is they can have maybe a session a week, because there's some choice stuff being made at the moment, and it's really worth seeing, especially this movie. I think the distributors would be more than keen to find new venues.


g33k_avii said...

liked your review - the coincidence was i was listening to a song from the same movie when i came across this review by just a mere accident while searching images on google....

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