Intro: Rang Rasiya is a story based on the pioneer of modern art in India, Raja Ravi Varma. Unfortunately, by associating ‘Freedom of Expression’ with nudity, film is caught up in the controversy.
Art centric biopics are a rarity in Bollywood even when India is a democratic country. Freedom of Expression is our right but most often than not expressing it lands us in controversy. Recent example is Director Ketan Mehta’s film Rang Rasiya which hit the theatres on November 7 after a delay of over half a decade. The critically acclaimed film has been on everyone’s mind and in controversy since a long time. It’s a story of an artist’s Freedom of Expression.
It is claimed that the film is based on Marathi writer Ranjit Desai’s biographical novel ‘Raja Ravi Varma’, the legendary 19th century painter and the most fascinating artist of that era who achieved recognition for his paintings of Mahabharata and Ramayana. He was mainly known for his portraits of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
One scene that shows a bare breast of Nandana Sen, who is playing the character of ‘Sugandha’ can be objectionable for some viewers but apart from this, the movie has many heart touching moments and dialogues like “Aap nahi rehenge, hum nahi rehenge, par kala hamesha rahegi’, “Kalakar ke liye uski Kala sabkuch hoti hai”. These and many more such dialogues are the backbone of this movie. Randeep Hooda as ‘Raja Ravi Varma’ is very impressive and Nandana Sen, too is perfect as ‘Sugandha’.
A movie about art and freedom of expression, and not about sex and nudity, directed by Ketan Mehta and produced by Deepa Sahi and Aanand Mehendroo, Rang Rasiya is a treat to the eyes as it offers a strong perspective on art, and has fantabulous music and stunning cinematography.
While talking to Organiser, Randeep Hooda said, “this film is very close to me and finally is hitting theatre after years of controversies. Team of Rang Rasiya has worked very hard for it. I think the film will be a landmark in my career.”
The film is caught up in the controversy as instead of talking about the artistic contribution of the legend, story of the movie revolves around how Varma was dragged to court for painting nude and for hurting religious sentiments and how he eventually fought back and lastly won the case. The film will definitely a milestone picture for Randeep Hooda.
The movie is releasing in English, as Colour of Passion and as Rang Rasiya in Hindi respectively. But it may not be able to give a complete picture of Ravi Varma and his contribution to the field of art.
A court in Kerala restrained the release of Hindi film Rang Rasiya, based on the life of renowned painter Raja Ravi Varma, on a complaint by his family members that the movie was a stain on the reputation of the artist. She had accused the film-makers of depicting a false image of the artist and blamed for assaulting Indian culture and womanhood.
-Nishant Kumar Azad