Ashdoc's movie review---Rang rasiya

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Ashdoc's movie review---Rang rasiya

Post by ashdoc on Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:55 pm

Rang rasiya---the two words certainly describe the personality of Raja Ravi Verma ( played by Randeep Hooda in this film ) , the celebrated painter who is justly celebrated for making God accessible to the common man in the 19th century . For Ravi Verma's life was full of colour and passion.....on one hand he was a ladies man , a man who openly had relationships with numerous women in his youth....and on the other hand he was a master artist ; a painter who spent a lifetime painting vignettes from religion and tradition , thus making it easily reachable to the people....

He was born in what would become the state of Kerala in independent India , in a place which at that time was part of the kingdom of Travancore in British India.

Artists have always thrived in the court of Kings , and Ravi was fortunate that the king of Travancore was a great patron of the arts . It was the large hearted king who gave Ravi the title of 'Raja' , which means ruler---making him effectively a potential successor to the throne . And it was under the king's tutelage that Raja Ravi Verma's artistic talents first thrived....

But he was unlucky in the fact that his wife was a woman who totally hated the arts , and he gradually grew estranged from her . Instead he became a rang rasiya---a man who cavorted with lower caste women and had intimate relations with them . Being free from the prejudices about exposing flesh that upper caste women had , these women would pose in daring exposing poses for Ravi's paintings and thus allow him free expression of the arts . 

And this experience would be the defining one for Raja Ravi Verma---he would spend a lifetime trying to make religion and God reachable to the common man , as opposed to the elite who had exclusive rights to the Gods till then....

But naturally , reaction from the reactionary elite keepers of tradition would follow suit---much of the film deals with the lawsuit filed against Ravi Verma for daring to paint the Gods who had previously been unpainted , and painting the females among them in such dare bare fashion....

The other main theme of the film is his relation with his muse---a kept woman of a rich old man , named Sugandha ( played by Nandana Sen ) . This time a fallen woman would be his obsession , and it she who poses nude for him in paintings meant exclusively for his private artistic pleasure , thus giving us the nude scenes of the film---something that some members of the audience had shamelessly come for watching , for they got out of the theater after these scenes....

But when hard times fall upon Verma , he is forced to give up these very nude paintings to the person who bails him financially out . And the person remorselessly sells copies of the nudes to lay people in the thousands....

The so called elite keepers of morality and tradition are aghast....
Sugandha is taunted by lecherous men on mean streets about her nude poses---she feels betrayed and is in dispair...
Raja Ravi Verma is summoned to the courtroom as a case of immorality and defamation of hindu culture is launched against him...
The Gods are supposed to be angry at this brazen portrayal of them in Verma's paintings , and a recent epidemic of plague is blamed on him....

So how does Verma deal with the allegations ?? Is he found guilty ?? 
Watch the film for the answers....

To be honest , I found the early scenes in the film ( of Verma cavorting with several women ) to be corny to say the least---looked liked he was indulging is debauchery to me....

But the director more than counterbalanced these scenes with scenes which brought a lump in the throat---

.....Scenes of a man who sees Verma's painting of Lord Ram for the first time and lies down prostate in prayer for he feels the Lord is actually in front of him....

......Scenes of low caste dalits who are never allowed inside temples visualizing God's image for the first time ever in their lives in Verma's paintings and becoming spellbound chanting his name---finally they got to see the God who they had been never allowed to get close to....this scene is my favourite from the film....

......Scenes of Verma defending his art and his life's work in a emotional speech in court---talking about India's rich tradition of nude art from the Sun temple of Konark to the magnificent sculptures of Khajuraho....

......And above all , the scene of a humiliated Sugandha still standing as bravely as she can before the judge and proclaiming that she posed for the nudes because it was only Verma who could find a goddess within a fallen woman like her and paint her as one....

Yes , it is in Sugandha that Verma finds the true love of his life---but because of her position in life , that love can't completed by marriage....
It is a love hate relationship---Sugandha getting jealous because of Verma getting attention from other women , and in the end blaming him for getting her publicly branded as a slut by not being able to stop publication of her nude paintings....
And it is a relationship that has to end in tragedy---this is art film and not a commercial film for everything to turn all right in the end....

Acting by the lead pair and supporting actors is good , and Nandana Sen looks just divine---like the goddess she poses as...

The people who came searching for titillation in the nude shots left empty handed , for the nude shots were filmed aesthetically and were not vulgar .

Verdict---Good .

ashdoc

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