Rang Rasiya: Colours of Passion

Rang Rasiya is a film by Ketan Mehta with Randeep Hooda, Nandana Sen, Jim Boeven, Paresh Rawal, Tom Alter, Gaurav Dwivedi, Suhasini Mulay, Vipin Sharma, Chirag Vohra, Rachna Shah, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Sachin Khedekar, Darshan Jariwala.

Rang Rasiya is a film by Ketan Mehta with Randeep Hooda, Nandana Sen, Jim Boeven, Paresh Rawal, Tom Alter, Gaurav Dwivedi, Suhasini Mulay, Vipin Sharma, Chirag Vohra, Rachna Shah, Sameer Dharmadhikari, Sachin Khedekar, Darshan Jariwala.

Rang Rasiya also subtitled Colours of Passion, the latest film by Ketan Mehta was finally released in India at the end of 2014. The work, adapted from the novel by Ranjit Desai Raja Ravi Varma, was shown in England in November 2008, at the London Film Festival. So it took no less than six years to raise the problems of censorship hanging over this fictionalized biography of the great Indian painter of the late XIX th century.

Customary historical films and committed, as Sardar and Mangal Pandey: the Rising , the director has tackled this time the figure of the famous and controversial Raja Ravi Varma. The artist upset in the years 1870-1900 the representation of gods and heroes of Indian mythology, especially Hindu. In attempting a synthesis of the official European art and traditional Indian art, and popularizing its productions broadcast by chromolithography throughout the subcontinent, he was also an activist work in the service of Hindu nationalism emerging.

Today, many of its colorful images, sensual and falsely naive, hang on the walls of temples in rural villages or reproduced on advertisements. Often referred to as kitsch in the West, we can say that his academic aesthetics, with his stagings of divine love, accompanied by apsaras (nymphs) rather undressed, represented realistically and operating in sumptuous natural settings, is to origin from that of Bollywood.

The original title Rang Rasiya is a kind of pun, very difficult to translate, playing on the ambiguity of the two almost redundant terms meaning "the man who seeks pleasure" and also "the one whose enjoyment is through the color the painter. Raja Ravi Varma (Randeep Hooda) is what color voluptuous lover. The film does not hide his attraction to women of all backgrounds, of all castes, which earned him many disappointments and trials as well as honors. It is this aspect of the movie, especially a number of bold kissing scenes and a long love scene where the two main players end up naked and smeared with colors, which delayed the release of the film and made ​​the censors wield their great scissors.

Rang Rasiya begins today in Bombay sales room where several master paintings will be dispersed, while outside a horde of protesters growls, screaming blasphemy and immorality. Then, the director takes us to Ravi Varma trial for the same reasons, a hundred years earlier, and a succession of flashbacks, talks about the reasons that led to the English court. During his childhood in a scholarly Brahmin families in Kerala, south India, he already painted elephants on the walls, and was noticed by the ruler of the region. Married to Princess Poorutarthy (Tripta Parashar), far too rigid for him, he does not give up painting, yet considered a degrading task in her aristocratic milieu, first scandal. A young servant untouchable, Kamini (Shah Rashaana), serves as a model and an accomplice to the most sensual pursuits. Second big scandal and departure of the person concerned.

Ravi Varma was soon supported by King Ailyum Thirunal (Ashish Vidyarthi), the princely state of Travancore, which allows him to train and tour the grand old artistic sites, Ajanta, Ellora, Khajuraho and above whose sculptures erotic fascinate. Based in Mumbai, where his younger brother Raj Varma (Gaurav Dwivedi) followed him, the artist met a German, Fritz Schleicher (Jim Boeven), around a table game. It becomes his friend. Later, another friend, Frenny (Feryna Wazheir), submit a businessman, Govardhan Das (Paresh Rawal).

With the help of the two men whom he associates, he acquires a lithographic press and begins to spread its creations all over India through their multiple reproductions. But the main thread of the story is that his relationship with Sugandha (Nandana Sen), his muse, his inspiration, for whom nothing is simple. When by chance, met Ravi Varma Sugandha Bai exiting a temple where it comes from praying, he was immediately fascinated by the girl, by her candor decorated with a bolder look. Will make a goddess since its purpose; he began to draw it ... and asks her to come to his studio. Will she go to his invitation and she understood his art?

As always with Ketan Mehta, several overlapping themes in his story. Here, as much as that of passion between the painter and his muse, there is the price to pay to rub shoulders too closely an artist. Those familiar with the history of twentieth-century art, think undoubtedly Picasso and his relationship with women that inspired him. Creative freedom is also at the heart of the work of the director, himself attacked for daring scenes. Already before, Maya Memsaab had not been easy for him and his novice actor. Times have changed, even in India, despite the reluctance of the censorship committee, it could seem he expose the biography of Ravi Varma sulfur roughly as he intended. Since the tragic events of 7 January in France, one can not help but find, alas, the current film for another reason, that of representation of divinity. Indeed, these are religious who bring him to court for daring to paint the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, as well as for showing the scantily clad women.

The picture is very beautiful, neat to the smallest details. The frames are perfect and beautiful lighting, as far as decor. Many white and warm colors, gilded, which are a feast for the eyes, sometimes a little too much at the expense of emotion. The canvases of the painter, numerous, that we see on the screen are reproductions of actual paintings of Ravi Varma. Films on painting are real puzzles for filmmakers. How to appear in the film, the inspiration, the creative act of the artist? Mehta did not come out so bad, even if it is not very sensitive to the aesthetic dated and we said enough "firefighter" Ravi Varma. Forget the kitsch aspect of this painting. Curiously, when Ravi Varma is taken from a painting frenzy, when coated or coated color pigments his muse, one begins to want to extend a canvas or a sheet of paper.

All this is made ​​possible by interpreting Randeep Hooda. This wonderful actor - which does not spoil anything - goes from the most aristocratic arrogance false humility of the artist that never doubt his genius. Magistral, it manages to feel the sacredness of his art when he worships his model and covers his feet with flowers (a beautiful scene). To live the role, he took courses to become familiar with the gestural painters. We must admit that it is more than successful. He seems to have done this all his life. In deceiver and sensualist, it is not bad either, putting a distance and great elegance in the few scenes of debauchery Rang Rasiya . It is followed by the talent of others, even beginners Chirag vorah that interprets Phalke. It is no coincidence that the future father of Indian cinema is here. He actually rubbed Ravi Varma.

As for actresses, no complaints. Many talented and they only have the ungrateful job of provisional and successive muses, but this is the time and his reality. Two exceptions, the debutante Feryna Wazheir, noticed in the character of Frenny and Nandana Sen plays the difficult role of Sugandha. Nandana Sen was certainly the most difficult part to hold and has exhibited in every sense. She agreed because she knew the stripped scenes required the scenario. More and more courageous actresses in India today accept and take risks with their image and career. One can only applaud them. But it would be churlish to greet only for daring to show a breast. His interpretation of Sugandha, both subject to the desires of the painter and free - she even managed to physically resemble the real model of Ravi Varma - is subtle and smart, with apparent coldness befits a revered goddess. Those who saw Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story ( The Philadelphia Story ) Cukor know what it is.

A few more words before concluding, to the music of Sandesh Shandilya. It is nice, nothing more, but it was fun to find classical melodies after the excesses of disco, electro and techno sounds other current too many Bollywood films. However, the title track "Rang Rasiya" is mesmerizing enough to remain long in the lead after the final word.

The work was a flop at its output in India. It really does not deserve this failure when so many turnips gather crowds. If you are sensitive to the mysteries of painting, Rang Rasiya is one of the best recent films on the subject, sometimes lacking emotion, but what splendor! Again Ketan Mehta has not in ease, and if in addition you enjoy like me interpreters, Randeep Hooda has everything to seduce you definitively.

Rang Rasiya is an Indian television serial, airing on Colors TV, ‎Ashish Sharma, Sanaya Irani, Ankita Sharma produced by Tequila Shots Production. 

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