Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Rang De Basanti - notes

Saw Rang De Basanti twice on Sunday. Once at a ungodly hour in the morning. Second time with friends. Whatever I say will sound trite. So, just some notes

1. Awesome locales - the best of India on display

2. Great song picturisation - Three choreographers and still no sync dancing. It's laid-back freestyle moves all the way - oozing cool. Also this aids in keeping the songs in background and using it as a recurring motif rather than a show-stopper.

3. OK camerawork- the camerawork oscillates from brilliant to tacky. The slow-mo during the chase sequences as well as the demonstration at India Gate was just too jarring. How about ultra slow-motion embraced in Planet Earth?

4. Horrible sfx - the shots of flying MIGs fall flat like the MIGs themselves

5. Refined story-telling - The documentary, the flash back through Mckingley's diary and present day events are intelligently intertwined. And it all makes such perfect sense in the end.

6. Killer dialogues - Not one character mouths English without reason. Characters are pleasantly rustic and stick to their dialects. Even Sue speaks flawless Hindi most of the time. It's a lesson for Hindi film-makers about how to use Hindi to further the film's message and allow it to reach a wider audience. After all, 99% of the cine-goers will be familiar with Hindi, so why make concessions for the elite audience?

7. Outstanding Ensemble cast - Siddharth didn't impress me much in spite of getting loads of screen-time. His voice lets him down badly. More style than substance. Rest of the friends cast is top notch. Even Alice Patten plays her part with gusto.

8. Just right emotional tug - Emotions are strength of Hindi films, but almost always, we tend to overdo it. For me atleast, RDB tends to get it right (or was I crying because it was too early in the morning to watch the film?).

The transformation of the guys was believable and I was sympathetic of their actions. The way it was portrayed, it didn't sound far fetched. Probably, that owes to a credible and nimble script.

Amazing that three most important contributors to the film (dir, lyr, and music dir) come from advertising. Is there a lesson there?

I would watch out for Rakeysh Mehra, just for his note-worthy propensity to push his art technically as well as content-wise
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