The 2006 Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra directorial Rang De Basanti showed us how a mainstream movie with a good ensemble cast and a big Bollywood star can create new paths for bold, fresh cinema. It blended the ideals of youth, the innocence of college life and the patriotic flavour in a non-jingoistic and thoroughly entertaining fashion.
In today’s edition of ‘Sequence of note’, we take a look at a pivotal moment in Rang De Basanti. It is set in a restaurant and nearly all the main characters of the movie are sitting down and discussing the idea of a nation over a friendly dinner.
The sequence is a perfect example of how a civil, day-to-day discussion between those of different minds and ideologies take place in real life. While Aamir Khan and Sharman Joshi’s characters try and diffuse the somewhat building tension with their silly jokes, the ‘outsider’ Sue, R Madhavan and Soha Ali Khan debate and try to reason why people should be more forthcoming about enrolling in government services instead of just criticising the system.
Siddharth’s character Karan, who is the cynic of the group, states that the country has no future and he plans to escape abroad as soon as possible. Kunal Kapoor’s character Aslam sides with Karan and says that it is easy for Sue (Alice Patten) to point fingers as she is not an Indian citizen. The sequence gives us a glimpse of how every individual is informed by the upbringing he/she receives and their respective surroundings.
Every character contributes in some significant way to the conversation that builds up and creates a living, breathing atmosphere infused with every shade of the human nature — its moody, rational, fearful and illogical facets are brought forth via the scene. So, full marks to the writer and actors.
Rang De Basanti is currently streaming on Netflix.