Starring: Randeep Hooda, Nandana Sen, Paresh Rawal, Sachin Khedekar, Feryna Wazheir, Darshan Jariwala
Director: Ketan Mehta
'Rang Rasiya' is more about what it could have been than what it is. Here’s a great story of a world class painter of the 19th century, Raja Ravi Varma, who also boasts of an utterly admirable and charming personality. Director Ketan Mehta chose well to tell this story on screen but unfortunately, failed largely in bringing the magic alive.
A still from 'Rang Rasiya'. Pic/Santa Banta
Mehta, who in some of his gems like 'Bhavni Bhavai', 'Mirch Masala' etc has shown us how capable he is of bringing breathtaking beauty of the surroundings on screen, surprisingly falls short of expectations with this one. Cinematography (Anil Mehta) is brilliant, but unfortunately, the attention to detail isn’t. Even though one does appreciate the humungous effort needed to bring back the wonderful era of buggies and palaces and kings, a tad more meticulousness would have taken this film to another level. The fake moustaches looked more than fake, some of the interiors looked hurriedly put together and some sets looked, uhm, tacky. However, stray scenes and frames stood out for their outstanding beauty, like the one where you see Randeep Hooda (playing Raja Ravi Varma) and his muse Nandana Sen (Sugandha) lying naked with their bodies painted in multiple hues.
The role looked tailor-made for Hooda, who carried the pressure of playing the brilliant artist with remarkable ease. Hooda, yet again proving that he is an actor to reckon with, moulds himself to live and breathe Ravi Varma’s colourful, slightly cocky, and passionate character. However, Sen, playing the next pivotal character in the film, is appallingly insipid. She is hardly convincing as someone who the artist madly desires and whose beauty inspires him to bring the best out of him. The much talked about scene involving frontal nudity is welcome, but wish it was used more tactfully and less as a tool to titillate.
Wish there was more subtlety of desire and less in-your-face lust and sex. However, Mehta deserves huge credit for tackling a subject of this kind — the sensitive issue of petty politics curbing freedom of art and expression has been dogging us for centuries and continues to do so.