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Rang De Basanti    A generation awakens

Starring: 
Aamir Khan, Waheeda Rehman, Om Puri, Kiron Kher, Anupam Kher, Atul Kulkarni, Kunal Kapoor, Sharman Joshi, Lekh Tandon, Soha Ali Khan

Producers : Ronnie Screewala, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Director : Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Music Director : A. R. Rahman

RANG DE BASANTI is a story about the youth of India today. A young, London based film- maker chances upon the diaries of her grandfather, who served in the British police force in India during the freedom struggle. Excited about these memoirs, she makes plans to shoot a film on the Indian revolutionaries mentioned in the diaries. She comes down to Delhi, and casts a group of five friends to play the pivotal roles of these revolutionaries. However, products of modern India, the five youngsters initially refuse to be part of the project, as they donít identify with these characters from the past. Not surprising, considering that theyíre part of a generation of Indians that believes in consumerism. To them issues like patriotism and giving oneís life for oneís beliefs is the stuff stuffy text- books are made of. They would rather party than be patriots. In the film both the 1930ís British India and the India Today run parallel and intersect with each other at crucial points. As the film reaches its resolution the line between past and present blurís, as they become one in spirit. 

The film revolves around a group of five friends played by Aamir Khan, Soha Ali, Kunal Kapoor, Siddharth and Sharman Joshi, who go through an entire roller coaster ride of changes. The changes arenít the ones youngsters usually encounter - these are changes that are very concrete and change their lives completely. The central character or sutradhar of the film is Sue McKinley (English actor Alice in a wonderful portrayal) who is a young documentary filmmaker who comes to India armed with her grandfatherís diary and a mission to make a documentary film based on the freedom fighters of India. 

 

A thought-provoking, 
soul-stirring wake up call 
to the youth of India



DJ (played by Aamir Khan) is an amazingly lively character full of energy and enthusiasm. He is the only son of dhaba owner Mitro (Kirron Kher). Beneath his enthusiasm lies a fear of not making it big in the world outside his college campus. Sukhi is another heart-on-sleeves character. He is also DJís soul mate. Laxman Pandey (brilliantly played by Atul Kulkarni) is a political party worker who is a firm believer of his partyís principles which, however, he later realizes are all fake. He is the kind who considers all Muslims as traitors and Pakistanis as people who have only hatred for India.
In the second half, suddenly, the carefree lives and attitudes of DJís gang changes due to a huge twist. Ajay (Madhavan) who is an Air force pilot, a good son, a patriotic Indian and Soniaís fiancee, and also the ideal of DJ and his gang, is killed in a plane crash. This incident rattles the happy-go-lucky friends who so far had been resigned to Fate and the fact that corruption is far too deep-rooted in India to be eradicated. But the loss of Ajay jolts them and they decide to take things in hand, realizing that if they are to make a difference and make the youth of India wake up to reality, they will have to take up the challenge.

The film comes off really well and is the kind you take home after youíve walked out of the cinema hall. Binod Pradhanís cinematography is first rate. The director has been just to all the characters. Nobody steals the frame from the others. Aamir Khan is at his brilliant best, as always, and Kunal Kapoorís restrained intensity is a revelation. Soha Ali Khan should be delighted she finally has a role to sing about. 

But the real hero of Rang De Basanti is its director - Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra whose debut, Aks, was as unusual as this one ...

                          Amarjeet



Aamir Khan

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