Flashback - RDB Review

Saturday, February 21, 2009

With Delhi 6 releasing this week, I couldn't help but remember Rakyesh Mehra's Rang De Basanti - a film that took me comepletely by surprise and a pleasant one at that. I am getting mixed reviews about Delhi 6 and I hope to catch it sometime over the weekend or early next week. Until then, freshen up the memories of Mehra's last outing. I wrote this around three years back and feel a bit differently about the film and my review now. But that's a different story. Here's what one amongst the charged up audience of RDB felt as on Feb 09, 2006.
There are two kinds of movies, some make you feel good, some don't register anything once you get out of the theatre. And then you come across the third kind, the ones which leave you numb. RDB is a movie that will make you think and the thought would linger long after you have come out of the theatres. A highly experimental film which despite its shortcomings succeeds in conveying a message is how I would describe it. Is it all about Patriotism? - Not really. Its more of an interpretation of freedom by the youth of today and as the title suggests - the awakening.
The hero in the film is not only Aamir Khan, its the vision of Rakyesh Mehra - the director who has finally arrived. Its an original work. Though many believe that even Aks was unusual and ahead of its times, I still feel otherwise. For all the Aamir Khan fans, if you feel that it is an out and out Aamir Khan flick, you are in for big surprises. Siddhartha(the new face) has a role of equal standing.
The director weaves two plots into one and what you get is an experimental but seamlessly joined story that sees the present day situation in the context of the Indian struggle for freedom. So you have these bunch of college pass-outs leading a somewhat confused, carefree and flippant lives suddenly discovering Chandrashekhar Azads, Bhagat Singhs and Ashfaqs within them.
The basic difference between RDB and other films of this genre is that unlike other movies, in RDB, the protagonists do not plead with the people to stand up against corruption, nor do they rant about patriotism and preach. This is where Swades, another brilliant film failed. This works for the film as it does not end up being another film with an overdose of nationalism/patriotism. The director seems to have picked up the cue from Ashutosh Gowariker's Swades where SRK says - "Hamara desh sirf hamare kehne se mahaan nahi hoga." The protagonists are unapologetic of what they do and they stand up for it.
The story is for you all to go and see but let me give you 5 reasons for watching this film:

The screenplay and the crisp editing - Rakyesh Mehra has brought out his imagination brilliantly on celluloid. Tout screenplay by him and Renzil D'Silva. The script did have loopholes( you can’t just go and shoot a Home Minister at his home and get away without harm, comparing the lathicharge incident with Jallianwala Bagh tragedy and finally handling the climax) but then lets give him the allowance of cinematic liberty to give an entertaining/inspiring climax to his film within the 2.5 hours that he had. If he had gone all by logic then the message that the film conveys couldn't have come across. Though there are actually two plots running together, the transtition from colourful palletes to sepia tone does not look disjointed.

Peformances - First rate! So you have Aamir Khan in yet another stellar act enthralling you with his antiques. He is hysterical, sensitive, headstrong, insecure and even breaks down after gulping down a few bottles of beer. A welcome respite after Mangal Pandey - the dud. Soha Ali Khan is a revelation. She surprises you with her acting for sure. The rest of the cast is equally good and you also have veterans like Anupam and Kirron Kher, Om Puri and Waheeda Rehman besides the head-line makers of the movie.

Music - Its like a comeback for Rehman as well after Mangal Pandey. The way these songs are interwoven into the narrative adds to their quality. While the title track gives you that earthy feeling, the song Ru-ba-roo takes you into a trans. The background score is also great. To get the best music for his film, the director and his music director have to know exactly what they expect of each other and hats off to Mehra and Rehman for getting their efforts bang on target.
Dialogues and cinematography - Prasoon Joshi's dialogues exude a youthful exuberence and Binod Pradhan's camerawork is top class.

The Moments:
- The scenes where these guys whizz past Kiron Kher taking her dupatta away in boyish naughtiness and where Aamir speaks his heart out to Sue.
- The improvisation on 'Choo kar mere mann ko' when the band of boys gets to meet Sue for the first time.
- Aamir Khan mugging up his dialogue lines - "Bismil ka sandesh hai.." and the one where he gets embarassed when he comes to know that Sue understood Hindi.
- The camaraderie that all of them share in general. The 'Pathshala' song needs a special mention here.

Rang De Basanti paints you in its colors. It surely does..


Natasha said...

Delhi 6 is superb and Masakali song is awesome. Sonam looks lovely with the pigeon [and yes, pigeon is not 'Stuck' on her head, don't worry PeTa]

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