Thursday, June 15, 2006

Review of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Rang De Basanti

Movie Review: People are often asking me for tips on great Bollywood films that don't have annoying singing and dancing - well Rang De Basanti has some singing and dancing, but its totally intertwined with the plot, and the film is beautiful and engaging. First, a bit of the what's it about. From Wikipedia (yes its strange that films now have Wikipedia write ups), but alas:

Struggling British filmmaker Sue (Alice Patten) comes to India after she reads the diary of her grandfather, who served in the British Force during India's struggle for Independence. She comes to India in order to make a short film about some of the heroes of the Indian Independence Movement, men such as Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad. With the help of her friend Sonia (Soha Ali Khan), she sets out to find actors suitable for the roles. Sonia introduces Sue to some of her male friends [...]

Don't get too disappointed - for me, a typical clue that a Bollywood film is going to be terrible: when they start hauling out the whole east meets west theme (think Bride and Prejudice) - the Brit actually speaks Hindi with a not too annoying accent. The shooting is so well done - I especially loved the really grainy scenes shot in dumpy dhabas - all the friends inhaling food, laughing, and most typically Punjabi - picking on each other. There's also not a single motorcycle muscle flexing scene. Here's some more plot-y stuff from Wikipedia:

Sue convinces them to act in her film. Laxman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni), a political party activist, later joins the group though he is initially disliked by the other boys on account of his Hindutva beliefs and contempt of Aslam, who is a Muslim.

As the young men learn their lines and learn more about the history of the Independence movement, they realize that, unlike the men they are playing, they have lived completely for their own pleasures and have ignored India's pressing problems. They lack the spirit of patriotic self-sacrifice.

Strong film. I give it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.

1 comment:

Manoj Mehta said...

You should see Gangster. Taut plot and reasonable running time of 2 hours, you'll like this flick. And the songs mark the return of melody to hindi movie soundtracks.

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