The power of Rang De Basanti – a generation awakens.
written by Souranath Banerjee
‘Zindegi jeene ke doi tarikke hote hai, ek jo ho raha hai hone do, bardash karte jao. Ya phir zimmedari uthao usse badalneki’.
If translated – ‘There are just two ways to live life. First, let whatever is happening to continue, keep enduing it. OR else take responsibility to change it.’
Similarly, there are two ways to make films too. First, to accept the general trend as they exist and make a similar one. Or to take upon the responsibility and create something unique!
Starring Aamir Khan, Siddharth, Kunal Kapoor, Sharman Joshi, Soha Ali Khan, Atul Kulkarni, Alice Patten and Madhavan (guest appearance); and then the talented supporting cast Waheeda Rehman, Anupam Kher, Kiron Kher and Om Puri.
Music by legendary A.R. Rahman who took three years to compose for this one particular film.
With such impressive star cast and epic musical score, of course RDB was a huge box-office success. The film also won the National award for the most Popular Indian Cinema along with numerous other awards (Filmfare, IIFA, ZeeCine etc).
But apart from being just a blockbuster, award-winning, popular film, RDB also managed to do something very rare which hardly any Indian cinema have ever accomplished before – it communicated with the audience, specially with the youth of our country!
Rang De Basanti is probably the only Indian film that initiated such significant level of political awareness, sense of patriotism and social awakening in the minds of our younger generation.
After the release of RDB, young minds of our country (mostly students) who earlier were never bothered about politics or any such civic causes became socially responsible and took active interest in discussions regarding national problems like corruption, bureaucracy and political injustice.
Soon full fledged youth activism started – not only through the internet blogs but the students actually took to the streets to protest on public interest issues.
A perfect example is the Jessica Lall Murder Case, where people protested against the initial court judgement by a silent rally – a candlelight vigil at New Delhi’s India Gate exactly the same way as shown in RDB!
Thankfully though our younger generation was clever and responsible enough not to murder some politician while emotionally aping the film till the end.
But importantly, the message which they took home from the film was that of ‘No country is perfect, it has to be made perfect.’
And the brilliance of the script and the filmmaker is that this message wasn’t delivered in a preachy manner. It was cleverly communicated by a bunch of laid back fun-loving college guys who initially didn’t care much about their future; who were only interested in drinking beer and racing bikes, watching films and eating out (just like any other college kid).
The young crowd of India could very easily connect themselves to these naive and vibrant characters of the film. They spoke a language that the youngsters understood and could relate to.
But then, when due to some tragic events these characters in the film were shaken from their easy-going lives and when they felt a soul stirring sense of responsibility towards their country – the young Indian audience felt the same and experienced the same prick of conscience.
‘A generation awakens’ was the tag line of the film and from the film’s posters to it’s media partners (CocaCola, LG, msn, Airtel, Provogue) – everything related to the film and it’s promotion were focused on that tag line itself.
Such was the power of Rang De Basanti that after watching the film former Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee, used the line ‘Aag hai mujhmen kahi’ (There is a fire somewhere within me) which is a popular lyric from one of the film’s song.
Almost 10 years have passed by since it was released and still Rang De Basanti remains one of the most influential films in the history of Indian Cinema.