I began watching Rang Rasiya in the frame of mind of an amateur critic like I always do. The single minded objective was to find every mistake that Ketan Mehta made and believe me that I could find lots of them. There were errors galore to say the least and some of them made you cringe.
But somewhere along the way, I started thinking about it more and I started interpreting Ketan Mehta's thought process - and I may be way off the point here. But in a manner of speaking, I think Ketan Mehta doesn’t believe that we should be watching this movie. Now stay with me when I take you through my reasons.
The insipid nature of the biopic kept aside, Ketan Mehta and Ranjit Desai (the author of the book) has laid bare the myopic and narrow minded thinking that "plagues" (no pun intended) our society even today. Most of our thought and action leaders have to face similar ridiculous allegations and societal pressure today. I believe - strongly at that - that we as a nation or society should not watch this biopic.
We should not watch it because it tells us from the start that we as a country are not mature enough to handle a topic such as nudity in art - and we cannot get more hypocritical than that. Of course for reasons that have been immortalized by that world heritage site from central India.
Just one of the references that Ketan Mehta makes in his meek 135 minute attempt. The fictional narrative meanders through aspects like untouchability in the form of Raja Ravi Varma and his affairs. Firstly, he gets married to the Princess Poorutarthy (Tripta Parashar) and then his affair with Kamini (Rashaana Shah) – the untouchable.
We should not watch Rang Rasiya because a large chunk of us would be like those couples at a 9 am show giggling in the corner when Sugandha (Nandana Sen) decides to bare it all in the interest of art – a scene that could not have been shot more tastefully by Ketan Mehta but a scene that will only garner giggles and cat calls from the audience.
We should not watch Rang Rasiya because it will tell us the truth about who we are – a country wherein, “Dharam ke naam pe kuch bhi bikta hai” (Anything sells under the garb of religion) – in a direct reference to Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings of Goddesses who most of us have grown up with.
Kudos in short to Ketan Mehta for having the courage to interpret the life of one of India’s greatest treasures in a manner that is bold. If only he had put in more research and more attention to detail. We may not have required to see this movie 6 years after it was actually made. Watchable for sure. 6 on 10.
Watch the trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TC8o690ns0