Friday, February 03, 2006

Not a review: Rang De Basanti

Its about an hour since I left Ega theatre. There was pin drop silence. Even the "ants in the pants" kind of people with car/bike keys in one hand and their impatiently ringing mobile phones in the other stayed till the last scene was played out on the silver screen.

Rang De Basanti is a difficult film for me to review. Its impossible for me to objectively think about this movie and analyze each and every facet with cold clinical precision. Not that I always review movies in such a manner. I am not a serious critic who tries to find flaws just for the sake of finding them, its just that there are a very few things that excite me and good cinema is one such. A movie is a labour of love, commitment and pain, laudable efforts need to be recognized. I accept that the chances of Aamir Khan reading my rave review of his performance are bleak, but the chances of someone googling "kamasutra" and ending up in pagalak are bright(my webstat analyzer dutifuly reminds me everyday).I am digressing. I am writing this post to urge my friends, Armchair Philosophers and avid Vatsayana readers(if you have reached this far, I am sorry this is not Kamasutra) to go and see this movie.This movie has its share of flaws. But, I would like to concentrate on the message the movie wants to convey.

There are so many things in the movie that I identify with. Like for example, there were a few friends of mine who strongly believed in the saying " Patriotism is the fervour of fools" . I was taken aback and after 'God knows how many' hours of trying to make them see things my way, I have to admit it, I slowly began seeing things their way. They had a very simple answer to stonewall each and every effort of mine to impress upon them about the spirit of oneness and the concept of a nation-that answer or rather question being- "Why should I care? What has this country done for me?"

The protagonists in this movie are not any different from my friends and the way they express their thoughts on the uselessness of freedom and patriotism reminded me of the argument that I had with my friends.

The comments on my recent New Year post unwittingly summed the core theme of Rang De Basanti which gives an indication of how the director has managed to sense the pulse of the nation.

An excerpt from the New Year post,

I do understand your point. People dont react as long as they get affected. It makes for interesting discussion at cocktail parties. But I beg to differ. I agree I am not the kind of guy who is a revolutionary. And what if I am a revolutionary? Who am I to revolt against- the Jihadis, the sexually starved Indian urban male, bad roads no electricity?

Things were much simpler in the 30s, when we had the most basic of things to fight for- Freedom. Things are different now, I can vote the coming elections and I can write a long letter listing my woes to the municipal office.Thats the only thing the "established" world lets me do.

I am the average powerless law abiding (for the most part) citizen who doesnt mind standing in long queues, the guy who looks for a dustbin to dispose his plastic cup. And I want everyone to be like me and until that happens I will continue to write about things that irk me.

I believe our nation is in a transitional phase. A movie like RDB is an effort which will serve as a catalyst to help us eventually get out of our shells. Aamir's parting words in Rang De Basanti is worth mentioning- it may sound cliched now but is truly profound when viewed on the screen.

"There are two kinds of people in this world. There are people who tolerate everything that comes their way in life and then there are some who don't let life dictate terms,these people shape their own destiny"

So in addition to writing about things that irk me, I am seriously thinking of ways of how I could make myself more useful. For starters, I am planning to get myself a voters card.


Blogger PS said...

Most people are revolting enough :. Serious, I agree with most of what you say, but what is the point, again, I am just a cocktail party philosopher.

5:41 PM  
Blogger PS said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:43 PM  
Blogger PS said...

Why the picture of a bunch of topless guys?

5:47 PM  
Blogger pagala'k' said...

:). Topless = freedom = breaking the norm...and I can't remove my shirt like those guys because of those small little tyres I have developed over the last two years :D

4:26 AM  
Blogger karthik durvasula said...

good post. just a comment on "Patriotism is the fervour of fools". Not everyone who takes up this view does so for the reasons you mentioned. Some actually feel that patriotism is as segregationist as racism. After all, it divides one world into many countries. (I echo, in this comment, the view of at least two philosophical giants - Tagore and Chaplin).

finally, 'tires?? u flatter urself ;). I think, 'blimps' might be more apt - so say the blessings of middle age.

3:11 AM  
Blogger vetty said...

Okay, but you dint even mention what the story is about? Whether these guys are pro- or anti-patriotic?

The only thing i understood from your post was of your stand about the average Joe's patriotm fling, somedbody's (who?, and how was it even connected) quote in a NY daily, and your push to ask people to go watch the movie..

Its a good post, but you got sidetracked.
And also, kindly remove the picture.

1:40 PM  
Blogger pagala'k' said...

@Karthik: Tagore! Thats a surprise I though he was a nationalist. If you call me middle aged then you being much older(7 years right) than I can be called Gramps.

@Vetty: Yeah I didn't want to give out much of the story. Plus reviews of this movie on the interent are chock-a-block.Hmmm coming to think of it, a good PR tries to sell the movie which I should have. Topless guys=The average time women spend on this site has increased.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but the avg time your male readership(overwhelmingly the majority , i presume, since u were in engineering) has decreased!

9:06 AM  
Anonymous chithi said...

sorry kaka, the previous anon posting is mine. but seriously those guys are giving me and the rest of your less-well-sculpted readership a serious inferiority complex.

9:18 AM  
Blogger karthik durvasula said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:05 PM  
Blogger karthik durvasula said...

Tagore wasn't a nationalist. He didn't fight for "India". He fought to liberate the indian populace from British oppression.

He saw a difference between the two issues (my insignificant mental faculties appear to agree with him).

Apparently, Tagore and Gandhi disagreed on the motivation for the struggle - the former for only freedom from oppression, the latter for both freedom from oppression and the formation of a self-governed state (nationalism).

"...Tagore greatly admired Gandhi but he had many disagreements with him on a variety of subjects, including nationalism, patriotism, the importance of cultural exchange, the role of rationality and of science, and the nature of economic and social development...."

"...Tagore was predictably hostile to communal sectarianism (such as a Hindu orthodoxy that was antagonistic to Islamic, Christian, or Sikh perspectives). But even nationalism seemed to him to be suspect..."

Both quotes are from an excellent essay by Amartya Sen (who was Tagore's student at Santiniketan) - for those of you who have the time, here is the link -

4:16 PM  
Blogger pagala'k' said...

@chithi: less-well-sculpted :D

@Karthik: Will read the link...thanks

9:26 AM  
Blogger littlecow said...

It is amazing how strong movies are - in creating impressions and inspiring people (like you and me). But how long can the effect of a movie stay on you before it wears out? It goes away after a few days and then, what?

Good non-review, btw.

1:13 AM  
Blogger pagala'k' said...

Thanks for dropping by.

I nust agree with you on the "how long" part-

Swades had a similar effect, the effect however was lost due to academic rigmarole. Lets see if I get my Voters card by the end of this month :)

3:29 AM  

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