We are glad that Rang Rasiya was delayed and not dumped, else we would have missed upon this ‘painting on celluloid’. The movie has extracted the best out of everyone associated with the film, and is quite a fitting biopic on India’s most under-rated creative genius ‘Raja Ravi Varma’ whose noteworthy contributions extend to more than just art. The poignant love story between him and his muse ‘Sugandha’ (deftly played by Nandana Sen) clings to your heart, even after the movie is over.
Story of Rang Rasiya
The movie is adapted from the biography on Raja Ravi Varma, written by Ranjit Desai. Raja Ravi Varma, hailing from Kerala, finds women a piece of art. In other words, whenever he sees a beautiful woman, he wants to immortalize her on the canvas. His wife (Tripta Parashar), the princess of a Kerala state is not to impressed by his love for the art form. So he paints the picture of Kamini (Rashanaa Shah), which becomes one of the best works he has created. His popularity spread and he wins the title of ‘Raja’ from the King of Travancore. The king who patronized his art dies and Raja’s art is orphaned, so he shifts base to Bombay.
In Bombay, Raja Ravi Varma meets the beautiful Sugandha (Nandana Sen) in a temple, she becomes his artistic inspiration. His artistic works begin to sell like hot-cakes when they are sold in printed format when he collaborates with a German friend. But along with prosperity comes adversity, as radical Hindu wings begin to criticize him for using human faces on Gods. The so-called guardians of the culture paint him as the villain of the picture for glorifying nudes. Will Raja Ravi Varma prevail and will justice be served? And at what price?
Plus points of the film
The second half of the movie has some really strong emotionally high moments that can keep your eyes glued to the scenes. There are some watershed moments in the film, the scenes that capture your heart include – Raja Ravi Varma giving a head-start to Dada Saheb Phalke (who went on to become the father of Indian cinema) the plague scenes, the splashing of colors and the aesthetically shot love-making between Nandana Sen and Randip Hooda, Nandana’s anguish when Raja is not able to explain the leaking of the pictures, the court-room scene where Nandana testifies being some of the highlights.
Minus point of the film
The first half is slow and could have done with tighter editing. The movie could have done with better songs, even through the background music is good.
Randip Hooda excels as Raja Ravi Varma; his body language and the emotions that he displays through eyes with minimal facial movement, speaks volumes of his talent. Complimenting him beautifully is the stunning Nandana Sen, who plays Sugandha with sensuous candor. The other set of actors that comprise some of the best talents like Paresh Rawal, Prashant Narayan and Darshan Jhairwala have little to do but offer significant value to the story.
Want to watch piece de resistance in its true period flavor? Go watch Rang Rasiya.
Rang Rasiya Rating
**** (Very Good)