The Public has spoken – at least the metroplex ones. The critics have spoken too (well most of them alike, except the Taran Adarsh likes)..They say, Rang De Basanti is the biggest Bollywood hit ever in terms of box office collections. Apparently, the country sees this movie as a phenomenon. Paragon of sorts among movies that can make a generation think. The NRIs are raving about how great a movie this is (probably the same NRIs who termed Veer Zara and Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham as great movies) and the list goes on.
Needless to say, I had one reason to watch the movie the day after its release in the Metro Detroit area – AR Rahman. I wanted to start typing my initial thoughts right after I got home that night but somehow the dawdling me didn’t do it. And then it happened. The media was filled with raving reviews one after another. The few mailing groups I subscribe to were filled with streams of RDB admirers flashing their picture ids and blog stamps. Everywhere I turned around, I saw Yellow..:-) Being a corrupt mind that I am, I was afraid that the deluge of decorated reviews will influence me in writing my review if I were to write one at that point, so I waited.
Without sounding apologetic, let me get down to the facts. The purpose of this blog is to share my thoughts on the movie. Not sure if they would have sounded the same had I written this that night after I watched the movie. But nevertheless, human minds are ductile when it comes to certain things. And in India when it comes to films, the public tends to prove this theory repeatedly…so having said all these and having built a defensive premise for what I am about to say, I think I can now, quite freely type what I want to.
RDB is certainly one of the most intelligently made Indian movies made in the recent times. As much as it thrives to being a message filled theme, I think Rakeysh Mehra wrote a script that is extremely commercial, workable and to the likes of his target audience – the campus kids. All these without taking his audience’s intelligence for granted. A very stylish narration (although the British characters and some stereotypical dialogues in the initial scenes threatened to take the “i” out of “intelligence”) filled with some real characters made the movie believable.
I like Aamir Khan – not as an actor but more as an individual. He is talented but don’t think he will figure in my top 10 list of Indian actors. And I tend to be critical of Aamir Khan only because of the fact that the entire media tries to glorify an average talent. His DJ character in the movie was the least believable of all. His fake punjabi accent even after spending a decade in the Delhi University campus, broken English and often annoying yet repeated “eye-brow raising” antics were all reasons that made his character weak, although there were a few scenes he brought out some great tickles – specially after he finds out Alice can speak Hindi. There were quite a few scenes that brought out his acting talent – the one that comes to my mind is his conversation with Alice at her dining table.
To me there were 3 main characters in the movie that made the movie work – Siddharth, Atul Kulkarni and Madhavan, not necessarily in that order. It is hard to pick whose is more important. Siddharth as a rich recluse was simply outstanding. His Hindi dialogue delivery amazed me and from what I have heard he is a sensation now in the metro Hindi belt. (Interesting tidbit: Siddharth who is called Siddhartha in Andhra is a sensation there now after 3 back to back hits starting with Boys. The man speaks very good Telugu and has even rendered a Telugu song in his latest movie). He certainly is an actor to watch.
Images of Shriram Abhyankar flashed through my eyes every now and then as I watched Atul Kulkarni in this movie. But he played his role to perfection – a loyal, innocent, straight forward, Hindu fanatic party worker. Madhavan’s cameo was outstanding to say the least. He has the screen presence even when Aamir Khan is around and surely did steal the cake from others whenever he was on screen. Too bad we got to see him only for a short time. The others like Soha Ali Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Sharman Joshi, etc. all played their parts and they vibed well.
What do I say about the music? I wish I have the time to do a separate write-up on the album. Rahman needed a commercial hit badly and thanks to Rakeysh for giving him that. In spite of some of Rahman’s brilliant works in the last couple of years, the public wanted brainless crap and hence some mediocre copycat music directors were able to lead the charts. In RDB, Rahman has proved yet again how he can be a trendsetter even when there are hundreds waiting to grab the pie. Check out the album just for its sheer variety. From a Guru Nanak chant to a Bhangra to an Arabic number to a hip-hop to a melodious mother-son duet to…There was everything in this album for him to experiment with and he delivered. To me it is hard to pick my favorite song from this album although I tend to play Luka Chupi more often than the others. I think this truly was an album in need for Rahman and it turned out to be an album indeed! The background score was perfect and I hope someday, someone releases this separately.
In all, I think I really enjoyed the movie – so kudos to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra for being bold. As much as I am happy for the movie’s commercial success, a small jealous part in me wants to say – RDB is really a take-off on Yuva (Ayudha Ezhuthu in Tamil), as both had similar underlying themes but different vehicles to transport them. Yuva was made for no particular target audience hence no catchy elements to reach the audience and that’s where RDB scored. Congrats RDB team!