Well done movie with a needed message
Thomas P. Burwell | Huntsville, AL USA | 08/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I understand people's point that Rang de Basanti oversimplifies a very complex issue. On one hand, I believe it's important for people to have a solid foundation in the intricacies of life before springing into action. Truly many have died serving an evil they believe to be the greatest good. On the other hand, we should not spend our lives letting the existing structure to dictate how we live, or rather what we should dream.
Rang de Basanti may be a little guilty of not presenting all the intricacies present in life. However, the splendid way it communicates to us how we can have an impact on society when we choose and live out our own dreams more than makes up for any faults the movie has.
Reality is always complex and never simple; but understand that communication IS about simplification. Words themselves are nothing but abstract simplifications of complex experiences and conceptions that have meaning to us. And true, some movies do misuse the medium and end up leaving out important considerations (hmm, can't think of a great example, maybe Fight Club?). I don't think Rang de Basanti is guilty of this though.
The movie says itself (something like) "It was wrong to kill the Defence Minister and we are sorry. We have come to turn ourselves in and confess our sins." The movie recognizes that murder is wrong no matter what the circumstance. But ask yourself "is it any less wrong to sit by and do nothing while corruption continues?"
Rang de Basanti beautifully portrays the vision of people using what is within their power in order to impact what they see as the greater injustice. I found the image to be very inspiring and needed in today's society when so many people spend their whole lives allowing the political and economic structure dictate to them how they should live, what they should dream."
My favorite film of the year
Cheryl Carruth | Boise, ID USA | 10/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this film. I especially enjoyed how they wove together the scenes of past and present. Like other viewers here, I was taken aback by the extreme decisions taken by the boys toward the end of the film, but it's not all that different from what I've read in many acclaimed novels in English lit class that deal with youth.
The scene of police brutality in the second half of the film left me speechless. An absolutely brilliant choice of music and imagery. The progression of Pandey's hindustani character, and his relationship with the muslim Aslan, was perhaps the best character development I've seen in any Bollywood film.
This film is well edited with great camera work. Good music as well. The ensemble cast is superb. Unlike Fanaa and many Bollywood films, the first and second halves of the film flow together and feel like one film, not two barely related stories. And no silly happy ending here, with a wedding crashed by the true love in the nick of time. Instead, Rang de Basanti has true substance and a message of hope, action, and the bond of friendship."
A Call to Rave Against the System
Maria Álvarez Folgado | castellar del valles, barcelona Spain | 01/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film excited some controversy, as anyone can see plainly after reading the few reviews here. This is because of the astounding, extreme decision that the characters make at the end of the film. According to some viewers, this final decision -based on a cheap and simplistic view on the political and social climate of India, in their opinion- is an incitement to violence .
Although I was also amazed by the final decission the characters make -while, at the same time, admiring the way the writer blends this part of the story with the historic events that had been shown in the film until then- I didn't quite see the call to arms or terrorism here. Actually, this way of interpreting the ending is really simplistic, in my opinion, considering the complexity and several layers on which the plot operates. And, I must confess, the ending was a big-bang surprise to me; and how often do we get an unpredictabe ending in films, be they Bollywood or otherwise? Not as often as we would like to, surely.
If the controversial ending is so extreme and violent, it is as a sharp contrast with the carefree, hedonistic, almost cynical attitude -at the beginning of the film- of Dj (Aamir Khan) and hisfriends, who are the protagonists. While this group of youths belong to the middle classes and do not really have much to worry about as to the basic needs of life, everything they see around them in their country makes them hopeless, directionless, lacking plans and projects for their future. Their only aim in life seems to be having fun, getting drunk, hanging around at college. It is in fact a way of hiding from reality and the life that awaits, of trying to cling to youth.
Everything changes with the arrival of Sue, a British young woman who is trying to shoot a documentary about a bunch of (communist) revolutionaries who, in the time of the Raj, fought against the British. She recruits Dj and his good-for-nothing friends. As much as this crowd detest anything to do with patriotism or revolution, and they laugh at these revolutionaries of the Indian past who chose to die for their ideals, they find themselves dragged into the story....
Thus, both the hedonistic, coudn't-care-less attitude of the beginning and the extreme decission of the ending are typical reactions born of desperation, of being in a no-way-out situation. And this is the message of the film: when the system is so rotten that the new generations are left with no hope for their futures, they are going to react tpically in one of these two ways. It is a courageous mesage, stated in a very clear way. The possible solutions, as well as the cause of the rot in the system are also clearly stated and, although maybe this part of the message is actually simplistic, one can't help but feel respect for people who decide to denounce what they see as bad, warn of possible dangers ahead (e.g.the extremes of passivity or violence that this situation can entail), and suggest a positive, no matter how simplistic, action. In fact, the denounce of some embarrasing problems (particularly the defective parts of planes, cause of may accidental deaths, bought by the Indian Ministry of Defence)and of the BJP (then ruling the country)take on society (clearly trying to incite hatred among the different communities, which, on the other hand, also have their particular hate-mongers) are so contundent as to fall like a hammer blow.
If you are expecting a typical Bollywood from Rang De Basanti, you'll be sorely disapointed. It is true that the story begins more like a comedy to end up a drama...-and how wonderful all the actors are playing these different registers!!!- but the typical romance is really nowhere to be seen (not that it lacks romance, but it's not so heavy-handed as in most Bollywoods, in fact it is so discreet that one almost misses it until the very end), there is no hero/heroine protagonism but a choral focus on character and the musical numbers are not your typical Bollywood either and are not given the ordinary weight...-the music is great, though!!!!
After watching Rang De Basanti, I understand the hype. It's not usual to find such a popular form of art as films so openly calling (young) people to wake up and improve society. Although the message is clearly intended for India, it is of universal consequence. Highly recommended. It will make you feel. It will make you think. Even if only to desagree.