Rang De Basanti is a good film. It lives up to the expectations and most important thing is that it surely meets the thought behind a tagline “a generation awakens”. Still there are some minuses but will have a look at it later.
Sue (Alice Patten) comes across her grandfather’s diary, who served in the British Force in India during the freedom movement. The diary is about our legendary freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev and how these freedom fighters sacrificed their lives for the country? Sue has come to India to make a documentary film on these freedom fighters on the basis of a diary. Where she meets bunch of college students and friends – DJ (Aamir Khan), Sukhi (Sharman Joshi), Aslam (Kunal Kapoor), Laxman (Atul Kulkarni), Karan (Siddharth) and Sonia (Soha Ali Khan).
Sue starts working on the film. At first instance these youngsters refuse to work in Sue’s film as they don’t identify themselves with characters from pre-independence era. They are citizens of modern India and for whom patriotism is just a word in dictionary. They can not relate to the concept of giving their life for the country. However, Sue’s film making progresses and DJ and his friends realize of being the actual descendents of these legendary freedom fighters and how they have never recognized their courage and spirit.
First half of the film does have some light moments. However, it’s difficult for a common viewer to digest a narrative which, goes back into past and returns to the present. From direction point of view these portions show director’s sheer brilliance. No doubt these portions have been executed with depth. From writing point of view Ajay’s (Madhavan) death in air crash and events leading to the climax is a work of brilliant. From this point of onwards Rang De Basanti holds viewer’s attention till climax.
Now, the minuses. After establishing the characters in first 30 minutes, story moves at a sluggish pace. Just before the interval it picks up but again in post-interval portions the intersection of past and present becomes too much. More editing was required for sure. Film could have survived without these portions. The major drawback of this enterprise is the climax. It completely does injustice. Rakyesh Mehra’s intetion is noble but still the climax is too radical and from extremist point of view. It was a novel idea of juxtaposing DJ and gang with our great freedom fighters but not to the extent of killing a defence misnister and the proceedings. Ending could have been better any time.
As usual Aamir Khan delivers a knock-out performance but other supporting actors Atul Kulkarni, Siddharth, Sharman Joshi, Kunal Kapoor and Soha Ali Khan carry the film on their rugged shoulders equally with Aamir Khan. Madhavan plays his small part with conviction. Wahida Rehmna, Anupan Kher, Om Puri, Kiron Kher play their part with grace. Alice Patten is brilliant.
No question about Rakyesh Mehra’s detailing about every small thing. May it be India in 1930s or modern India. Rakyesh Mehra’s direction is apt. He does show his brilliance in few sequences. Binod Pradhan’s cinematography is outstanding. Action (Allan Amin), visual effects (Pankaj Khandpur) and dialogues (Prasoon Joshi, Rensil D Silva) are first-rate.
On the whole, Rang De Basanti is not for aam junta and the masses, which are looking just for an entertainment. Rang De Basanti forces us to think and most importantly ignoring some flaws Rang De Basanti stands to its ethos.
“Zindagi jine ke sirf do hi tarike hai. Ya to jo raha hai use bardasht karo ya phir jimmedari uthao use badalne ki.”