A Red Day
Or Three of Them
Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai! Today is the second day of a three day long Chinese New Year festival. This entire island has shut itself down, shops are closed, the streets are deserted and the march of commerce and hustle and bustle that always characterised Singapore for me just came to a halt. The natives stay at home, I am told, sit with their families and eat large quantities of food. Anyone still young enough to not be earning on their own recieve "Ang Pao", or money packets from hordes of relatives each looking to outdo each other. Basically, one is about to have a lot of very rich Chinese Singaporean Friends to pawn off, in a couple of days time.
Seeing as how shops have shut, eating places closed and even the supermarket bare to our needs for provisions there's little to do except try to have a little fun. Towards the same, I went and saw a movie yesterday, at the Jade Theatre. When you go see a hindi movie in foren, it's like being right back home. The same large Punjabi aunties, the same uncles, the same bunch of lukhas walking out of the movie saying "Behenchod, kya picture thi". Wait, that might have been us. No, it wasn't. The point still remains. For a while, the whole theatre, not just the movie, transported me back home. I shall now proceed to review it. This is my first film review in a while, for various reasons. So forgive me for being a bit rusty.
Rang De Basanti
I enjoyed this film very much. It's been shot beautifully, and although I have a few grouses with it(such as the strange and unending depiction of India Habitat Center as Delhi University) I enjoyed it a great deal. It has some simply breathtaking shots of Delhi, my home, and characters that have been well fleshed out, representing a microsm of the variety of decadent young youth you'll find back home. Some of the scenes are spectacular, and make me want to explore Delhi all over again, there's enough places I should visit again. It's a huge wonderful charming place that I call home, and the movie did serve to remind me of that.
The storyline intertwines seamlessly between present day and events starting from the Kakori Conspiracy Case. How each character starts to fit into his role, how each of them find the right words and expressions is wonderfully done, uncharacteristic of Holly or Bollywood when it comes to college crowd movies. The characters also have wonderful lines, with a familiar mix of Hindi Punjabi and English which you will come to expect in Delhi. The one liners are also taut and well written, as is the comaraderie you see between the college mates. Again, it's something you can easily identify with. Props to whoever wrote the dialogue for the film, at no instance could I fault it for being innapropriate or overly cliched. It all flowed quite naturally.
While many have panned the ending, calling it unrealistic or overdone, I found it appropriate. This is a film, after all. It relies on metaphor, not on reality. It was a part of the deux ex machina for the protagonists to go through with what they do towards the end(no spoilers here) to sync with their revolutionary counterparts 70 odd years ago, and while I did not agree of their actions, I understood their nessecity. This wasn't a film that ended telling you what they did was right or wrong, just why they did it. In the eyes of their actions, you can gain a better understanding of revolutionaries themselves. How young they were, just two three years older than I am. In that regard, the film succeeds admirably, you can easily place yourself in the protagonist's shoes.
All said and done, the ending is disturbing, and makes you think about how unnesecary it all was. But then, maybe that's just what you're supposed to think about. Who knows, I can't say for sure.
Worth a watch? Most definitely.
"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist."