I am not an artist or art critic – I find it difficult to comment on the nuances of art. “That shot would have best been shot from a greater height and that character should have had a smile that is 0.002 inches shorter” are not the kind of expressions I can give words to. And for this movie, if somebody gets into things like those, I am not reading it. Not to show any contempt for that kind of analysis, not at all – many a times I myself read those things and try to make sense out of them. But this time simply no – because if there are any subtle mistakes they do not matter. And probably there aren’t many. But whatever.
Munnabhai MBBS was a movie that depicted what the youth today wants to appear like – oh that cool, carefree bunch making a fun of all that is ordered and disciplined in life. Dil Chahta Hai was a nice, feel good movie, well made, which made the youth feel good about themselves, their existence, their surroundings. Mangal Pandey was a movie set in such an era that the youth would never recognize with it.
Rang De Basanti is the movie that tells you exactly what you are. It puts your confusions, your wasted energy completely naked in front of you. And still does it in a way that got captured best in what my companion while watching the movie had to say afterwards, “They do not use loudspeaker to tell you something that is so strong. It is as if somebody has lovingly whispered something in your ear and still you just can not get it off your mind.”
I feel like getting further into the plot and characters to tell you exactly what I mean when I say all of the above. But that might spoil the fun of the movie for those readers who are yet to see the movie. However, there are couple of points I would like to make. It does not intend to inspire really!! I do not think so. The confusion on what to do is very much there even till the end, even when the lead characters have already carried out the task that they saw fitted the situation best. No, really you are not supposed to get inspired as such. You are only made conscious of what already exists within you. The scene at the end that shows “youth getting inspired” is not really the inspiration. It just captures the kind of animal spirit that would be coming over on the masses as a reaction to an incident like that. But it’s nothing long term. The way it has been captured (in the form of people talking on the news channel), conveys that point in a subtle manner. Also, in contrast to what some of the reviewers tend to believe, the movie does not show the violence as a solution. They have adopted that, but it is very clear that it was not an ultimate course that they believed in. It’s just that they could not think of anything else that would make any difference in that circumstance. They very clearly and naturally accept this. And you can actually feel their limitations and problems. You can put yourself in their shoes. They do not intend to lead, they only intend to make you aware, make you conscious. Overall, what makes it excellent is that how well it brings out the real confusion that youth today is likely to face. It somehow seems easier for the youth of 30s to believe in fighting British “at any cost”, no matter whether it brings about some change or not. It is not possible for the youth of today to fight the system as blindly – it’s not “they” after all. It’s just “us” all through, in all roles, positive or negative. Violence to go against British did not bring in any doubts about morales or principles in the minds of Chandrashekhar Azad and the group. Violence to go against the system in independent India brings an element of doubt in the youth of today as to whether that is the right way. And this I think is the most important and commendable aspect the film has been able to bring out. The other things – like the youth of today finding themselves in the shoes of the characters that they played in a film being shooted by a British girl, is good, is brilliantly brought out. But for me the most striking feature of this movie was what I mentioned earlier. The vivid description of confusion faced by the youth today.