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Rang De Basanti

Promotional poster for the film
Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Produced by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Ronnie Screwvala
Written by Kamlesh Pandey (story)
Renzil D'Silva (screenplay)
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (screenplay)
Prasoon Joshi (dialogue)
Starring Aamir Khan
R. Madhavan
Sharman Joshi
Soha Ali Khan
Waheeda Rehman
Siddharth Narayan
Kunal Kapoor
Atul Kulkarni
Alice Patten
Music by A. R. Rahman
Prasoon Joshi (lyrics)
Cinematography Binod Pradhan
Editing by P. S. Bharathi
Distributed by UTV Motion Pictures
Release date(s) 26 January 2006
Running time 157 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi, English, Punjabi
Budget Rs. 250 million (approximately US$5.5 million)
Gross revenue Rs. 1.36 billion (approximately US$30 million)

Rang De Basanti (Hindi: रंग दे बसंती Raṅg De Basantī, IPA: [ˈrəŋɡ deː bəˈsəntiː]; English translation: Paint It Saffron[1]) is a 2006 Indian drama film written and directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. It features an ensemble cast comprising Aamir Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Madhavan, Kunal Kapoor, Siddharth Narayan, Sharman Joshi, Atul Kulkarni and British actress Alice Patten in the lead roles. Made on a budget of Rs. 250 million (US$5.5 million), the filming was shot in and around New Delhi.

The story is about a British documentary filmmaker who is determined to make a film on Indian freedom fighters based on diary entries by her grandfather, a former officer of the British Army in India. Upon arriving in India, she asks a group of five young men to act in her film. They agree, but after they begin filming a friend of theirs is killed in a fighter aircraft crash, with government corruption appearing to be the root cause of the incident. This event radicalizes them from being carefree to passion-driven individuals who are determined to avenge his death.

The film's release faced stiff resistance from the Indian Defence Ministry and the Animal Welfare Board due to parts of the film that depicted the use of MiG-21 fighter aircraft and a banned Indian horse race respectively. The film was released globally on 26 January 2006 and subsequently was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2006 BAFTA Awards. Rang De Basanti also was chosen as India's official entry for the Golden Globe Awards and the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category, though it did not ultimately yield a nomination for either award. A. R. Rahman's soundtrack, which earned positive reviews, had two of its tracks considered for the Academy Award nomination. The film was not only well-received by critics and audiences for its production values, but also had a noticeable influence on Indian society. In India, the film did well at many of the Bollywood awards ceremonies, including a win for Best Movie at the Filmfare Awards.

Contents

Plot

Struggling British filmmaker Sue McKinley (Alice Patten) comes across the diary of her grandfather, Mr. McKinley (Steven Mackintosh), who served as a jailer in the British Army during the Indian independence movement. Through the diary, she learns about the story of five freedom fighters who were active in the movement: Chandrasekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, Ashfaqulla Khan, and Ram Prasad Bismil. Having decided to make a film about them, Sue travels to India. With the help of her friend, Sonia (Soha Ali Khan), Sue initially casts four young men, Daljit "DJ" (Aamir Khan), Karan Singhania (Siddharth Narayan), Aslam (Kunal Kapoor) and Sukhi (Sharman Joshi), to portray as the revolutionaries.

Though they are not enthusiastic at the idea of acting in a film about the independence movement, Sue eventually manages to convince them. Laxman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni), a political party activist, joins the cast later, despite initially being unpopular due to his anti - Muslim beliefs and contempt for Aslam, a Muslim. In the process of filming, the idealism of India’s revolutionary heroes seeps into the protagonists. They gradually begin to realize that their own lives are quite similar to the characters they portray in Sue's film and that the state of affairs that once plagued the revolutionaries continues to torment their generation.

Meanwhile, Ajay Singh Rathod (R. Madhavan), a Flight Lieutenant in the Indian Air Force who is Sonia's fiancé, is killed when his fighter crashes. The government proclaims that the crash was caused by pilot error and closes the investigation. Knowing that Rathod was an ace pilot, Sonia and her friends do not accept the official explanation. Instead, they claim that he sacrificed his life to save hundreds of other lives that would have been lost had he ejected from the aircraft and left the aircraft to crash into populous city. They investigate and learn that the crash was due to a corrupt defence minister (Mohan Agashe), who had signed a contract exchanging cheap and illegal MiG-21 aircraft spare parts for a personal favour. To their surprise, they also learn that the key person who was responsible for organizing the deal was Karan's father, Rajnath Singhania (Anupam Kher).

Angered by the situation, the group and their supporters decide to protest peacefully at India Gate, a war memorial in New Delhi. Police forcefully break up their protest using batons; in the process, Rathod's mother (Waheeda Rehman) is severely hurt and she slips into a coma. DJ, Karan, Aslam, Sukhi, and Laxman decide that they must emulate the early freedom fighters and resort to violence to achieve justice. As a result, they kill the defence minister to avenge Rathod's death, while Karan murders his father for his corrupt actions. The minister is reported to have been killed by terrorists and is hailed as a martyr by the media. To bring forth their intentions behind the killings, the five of them attempt to reach the public through a radio station. They forcibly take over the All India Radio station premises after having evacuated its employees. Karan goes on air and reveals the truth about the defence minister and his wrongdoings. While still on the air, they are all killed in an ambush by the police and military commandos.

Production

Development

Rakeysh Mehra took seven years to research and develop the story, including three to write the script.[2] While some raised doubts about his morale following the failure of his last film, Aks, at the box office, he retorted by saying that it would not affect him at all.[3] He added that not only did his storytelling technique improve, but past mistakes also had helped him improve his filmmaking abilities.[4] Development of Rang De Basanti originated with several ideas Mehra came up with early on but later dropped or greatly evolved into new directions. One of these involved a group of youngsters who worked in an automobile repair shop, while another was about the life of Bhagat Singh, an Indian freedom revolutionary.[4] During this time, he personally conducted a survey with a group of youths in New Delhi and Mumbai about the Indian revolutionaries he was planning on depicting, which indicated that many of children did not recognize the names of some of the most prominent revolutionaries. This led Mehra to believe that the sense of "patriotism had blurred" in the young generation.[4] Because of this, he dropped his original plans in favor of a new idea in which a British documentary filmmaker on a visit to India realizes that the local "kids are more Western than her".[4] This new story, which eventually formed the basis for Rang De Basanti's script, was influenced by Mehra's upbringing, youth and experiences over the years,[2] including his desire to join the Indian Air Force while in school, as well as his recollections of listening to Independence Day speeches and watching patriotic films such as Mother India.[4] Although Mehra denies that the film is autobiographical, he confessed that the character sketches were loosely inspired by himself and his friends.

Mehra approached Angad Paul after having been impressed with his production work on British films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Paul, who was keen to work in India, liked Mehra's story, and agreed to produce the film,[5] bringing with him David Reid and Adam Bohling as executive producers. Despite having no prior knowledge of Hindi cinema, Reid and Bohling's belief in the script was strong enough that they each were willing to work at half their normal rate.[6] While it was originally suggested that two different language versions of the film would be made concurrently, in English (as Paint it Yellow) and Hindi,[3][7] the plans for an English version were dropped during development. Mehra believed that English language version felt alien and that "one can tell a film in just one language".[4] After the English version was dropped, the writer Kamlesh Pandey was brought on board to pen the first draft of the film in Hindi,[4] marking the start of his screenwriting career.[8] Thereafter Mehra and co-writer Rensil D’Silva took over the script, working on it for about two years.[4] Prasoon Joshi, the film's lyricist, also worked on the dialogue for the film, marking his first venture into screenwriting.[9]

The film suffered a significant setback when one of the initial producers ultimately failed to contribute any funds towards the film; the shortfall left production looking uncertain just two months away from the beginning of principal photography. However, after Aamir Khan agreed to act in the film, Mehra approached Ronnie Screwvala of UTV Motion Pictures with the script.[4] Screwvala, who supported Mehra from the beginning of the film's production, had faith in the film,[10] reasoning that in historical films, "the treatment and execution is very different from regular masala fare",[11] and that such films "find favour with the audience owing to their elaborate sets and period costumes".[11] The film's budget was reported as Rs. 250 million (approximately US$5.5 million),[6] and despite going a little over the initially planned budget, Mehra did not have any serious disagreements with UTV.[4]

Casting

Aamir Khan agreed to act in the film immediately after reading Mehra's script.[6] Mehra described his character as a simple man with a strong sense of integrity and dignity.[5] Khan, who would turn 40 during the film shoot, lost about 10 kilograms (22 lb) with a strict diet and exercise regime in order to more convincingly depict a man in his late twenties.[6] Atul Kulkarni and Kunal Kapoor were publicly attached to the film by the time it was officially announced;[5] Kapoor had been the assistant director to Mehra during the filming of Aks, and therefore was already familiar with the material Mehra had been developing.[12] Mehra gave Kulkarni biographies of Ram Prasad Bismil as preparation, including Bismil's autobiography.[13] Early rumors indicated that actors Arjun Rampal and Arjan Bajwa would be amongst the male leads,[14][15] but these roles ultimately were filled by Sharman Joshi, Siddharth Narayan and R. Madhavan. The film marked Siddharth's Bollywood debut, following on the success of his Telugu film Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana. Having previously worked as an assistant director, Siddharth praised Mehra as being "by far the most ambitious technical filmmaker in Indian cinema".[16] Madhavan, despite being a well-known Tamil cinema actor, took the smaller role of a fighter aircraft pilot because he was convinced of the film's potential and wanted to be a part of it.[17] Om Puri also appears in a two-scene cameo as Aslam's staunch Muslim father.

Soha Ali Khan and Alice Patten immediately became Mehra's clear favorites for each of their roles during casting,[18] which led to Patten flying to Mumbai for a screen test with the entire cast. She was informed that she had won the documentary filmmaker role after she returned home to the United Kingdom.[19] Soha, portraying the pilot's fiancée, also was filming Rituparna Ghosh's Antarmahal and David Dhawan's comedy Shaadi No. 1 concurrently with her work in Rang De Basanti. In particular, the demands of her emotional scenes in Antarmahal often left her exhausted, thus requiring "a lot of personal overhauling" to ensure that her performance in Rang De Basanti was unaffected.[20] During filming, reports indicated that co-stars Siddharth and Soha had become romantically involved with each other.[21] Alongside the two lead actresses, Kirron Kher played the mother of Khan's character.

Filming

The film, which was shot in New Delhi, Mumbai, Rajasthan and Punjab,[22] was officially launched at a hotel on 1 February 2005.[23] When shooting began, Mehra made an announcement to his crew saying that they would enjoy their holiday only in July.[6]

While filming at Amritsar's Golden Temple, director Mehra (second from right) instructs actors (from l-r) Kunal Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Sohi Ali Khan and Siddharth Narayan.

Instead of filming at the actual locations from the script, other locations were selected for picturisation. One such scene is where Soha Ali Khan is filmed at the India Habitat Center that masquerades as the University of Delhi. On similar lines, New Delhi's Modern School at Barakhamba Road served as the location for all the scenes pertinent to All India Radio station, which is shown to be stormed by the youngsters in the film.[24] The Delhi Tourism department was happy to encourage filming in the city if it helped promote tourism, though any filming near India Gate was prohibited due to the ensuing bureaucratic paperwork.[24] Similar issues with bureaucracy were faced by Mehra while filming at the Jaipur Fort. To use a historical location for filming, they had to seek permissions of seven different officials ranging from the local police to the Archaeological Survey of India office.[25] Nahargarh Fort, which oversees the city of Jaipur, was another such historical location where one of the songs was filmed.[26] Besides these locations, the filming was also done at Amritsar's Golden Temple. For Aamir Khan, a Muslim by belief, it was for the first time that he was playing a North Indian Punjabi character and hence it took him some time to get the right dialect and diction.[27] While speaking about his experience of visiting the temple for the first time, he said:

It's one of the most peaceful places I've been to. As you enter the place there's a certain serenity that surrounds you. I really enjoyed being there. The first shot we took was of our feet entering the water just as you pass the doorway of the temple. The water was cold but it was great![27]

Once the locations were finalized, the team of Lovleen Bains and Arjun Bhasin was chosen for designing the look of the film. Bhasin had previously worked on Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996) and Dil Chahta Hai (2001), the latter of which featured Aamir Khan, and he was referred to Mehra by Khan due to their previous association. Since the film's plot focused on men in their late twenties, Bhasin designed their look accordingly. Although he was responsible for Khan's rebellious look, Sharman Joshi's (who played Sukhi) lovable persona or Madhavan's dignified appearance, Bhasin credited Bains for her major contributions to the film.[28] Khan's hair was styled by Avan Contractor, who came up with soft curls falling over Khan's forehead. This new look, which took Contractor one hour to come up with, surprised the audience at the film's launch.[23]

In post-production, the visual effects were handled by Tata Elxsi's Visual Computing Labs. The military aircraft they created for the film was so realistic that the Indian Air Force called to check the producer's permission of using an actual MiG-21.[29]

Music

The soundtrack of Rang De Basanti, which was released by Sony BMG, featured music composed by A. R. Rahman and lyrics penned by Prasoon Joshi and Blaaze, an India-based rapper.[30][31] From the film's announcement in April 2005, Rahman was slated to compose the music.[5] In a press conference with pop singer Nelly Furtado, he said that she was to originally have featured on the soundtrack, although this was ultimately prevented from happening due to a change in producers and other factors.[32] Aamir Khan, with his knowledge of Hindi and Urdu,[33] worked with Rahman and Joshi for the film's soundtrack.[22] In addition, Mehra and Rahman chose him to sing for one of the songs.[34]

Joshi, one of the lyricists, was impressed with the director, Rakeysh Mehra, who was ready to adjust to his style of writing as well as his creativity.[30] Confessing that the film's soundtrack was his favorite out of all his previous works, Joshi felt that it "was a wonderful experience getting to know the mindset of today’s youth and to pen down their feelings".[35] Speaking about one of his songs, Luka Chuppi, in which veteran Lata Mangeshkar sang with Rahman for the second time (debut collabration being in Dil Se for the song, Jiya Jale),[22] Joshi said that it was developed while discussing with Rahman the scene about a mother losing her son. Joshi wrote the lyrics about the mother and son playing hide-and-seek with the sad reality of the son being hidden forever.[36] He confessed to have been in tears while Mangeshkar was singing the song.[37] The soundtrack won the Filmfare Best Music Director Award,[38] and had two of its tracks, Khalbali and Luka Chuppi, considered for an Academy Award for Best Original Song nomination.[37]

While discussing typical Bollywood soundtracks, a Professor of Music from Colorado College noted that Rahman utilised traditional Punjabi cultural elements into his music. Elements such as a woman's prayer at the Sikh Gurudwara (Golden Temple) and the bhangra dance during harvest time used hard rock and hip hop to depict the cosmopolitan lifestyle of the youngsters in the film.[39]

Release

Rang De Basanti received its world premiere on 26 January 2006, with high expectations that it would be a success with western audiences,[40] though it also faced ire from several organizations because of certain controversial scenes. The film contained scenes of a MiG-21, a controversial aircraft in the Indian Air Force, which has a long history of fatal accidents in India. Promptly, the Indian Defence Ministry raised concerns, causing the Indian censor board to urge the filmmakers to seek clearance from the ministry.[41] Accordingly, Khan and Mehra screened the film for the then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee along with other top officials from the armed forces.[42] One Air Force official reportedly said that it was "not a review, but a preview".[42] After the special screening, the defence ministry did not insist on any cuts, but on their recommendation more names were added to the slide that dedicates the film to deceased MiG pilots.[43] After this clearance, the Animal Welfare Board raised objections on the use of animals in the film. Although the filmmakers had obtained a No Objection Certificate from the board officials, Maneka Gandhi, a well-known animal rights activist and member of the welfare board, found flaws in this certificate.[44] Subsequently, this certificate was revoked and with only a few days left for the world premiere, Mehra personally requested Gandhi to reconsider her objection. After another viewing, the board cleared their objection stating that the use of animals in the film was natural and justified. However, after they recommended the deletion of a 20-second scene that depicted a banned horse race conducted by the Nihang Sikhs, the filmmakers deleted this scene.[45][46] Mrs. Kavita Gadgil whose son, late Flight Lieutenant Abhijeet Gadgil was killed when his MiG-21 fighter crashed, objected to the film's release because she believed that the film was loosely based on her son's life and the producers should have shown her the film. In response, Kamlesh Pandey, one of the writers of the film, said that the film was not inspired by Abhijeet Gadgil.[47]

The film was screened at several international film festivals. In 2006, it premiered in France with the Lyon Asiexpo Film Festival,[48] the Wisconsin Film Festival[49] and the Morocco-based International Film Festival of Marrakech.[50] As a part of the publicity, the cast, visited prominent University campuses in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune with an intention of interacting with the students.[51] After hiring international experts for the film's publicity,[52] the marketing expenditure for the film grew to 40 percent of the total production budget of Rs. 250 million (approximately US$5.5 million). This expenditure was unprecedented in Bollywood because usually the Indian filmmakers spend only about five percent of their production budget on marketing.[53] Out of the Rs. 100 million (approximately US$2.2 million) marketing campaign, a fifth of it came from the producers while the rest was obtained through brand tie-ups and partnering.[54]

Since Rahman's last musical success, Saathiya, was back in 2002, there were high expectations from the soundtrack in the media.[55] The soundtrack, first released commercially in early December 2005, generally received above average reviews.[56][57][58] One of the songs, Masti ki paatshaala (translation: Classroom of Fun), was voted as the "Song of the year" for 2006 by leading Indian television channels,[59] while two compositions were considered for an Academy Award nomination.[60]

Before its theatrical release, the producers tied up with several top brands to help in the marketing the film. An alliance was formed with The Coca-Cola Company by releasing special edition bottles to commemorate the film's release, a first of its kind in Bollywood. Besides this, the music CDs and cassettes were co-branded with the cola company along with the launch of the sale of collectibles from the film.[61] Provogue, a well-known clothing retail chain in India, launched a special limited edition clothing merchandise targeting the youth of India.[62] Besides these, the producers collaborated with LG Group, Berger Paints, Bharti Airtel and Hindustan Petroleum.[54] The producers tied up with several media partners such as MSN India, Channel V and Radio Mirchi to further enhance their marketing efforts.[63] A video game launched by an Indian mobile content company was based on an adaptation of the film's plot.[64]

In India, The Hindu reported that with audiences from the metropolitan cities turning out in large numbers, Rang De Basanti was notching up record collections in its opening week.[65] Accordingly, 55 percent of the film's revenues came from multiplexes in these cities.[66] While the opening week box-office collections from Mumbai, the home of Bollywood, were reported to be over Rs. 40 million (approximately US$880,000), theaters in New Delhi earned about half of Mumbai's revenue. Throughout the country, the cumulative collections in the first week was about Rs. 80 million (approximately US$1.76 million). Overseas collections from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia were collectively put at over Rs. 60 million (approximately US$1.32 million) for the same week.[65] Released in about 60 theaters in the United States, the film grossed Rs. 31 million (approximately US$700,000) in its opening weekend and earned Rs. 99 million (approximately US$2.2 million) within 10 weeks.[67] With Rs. 1.23 billion (approximately US$27 million) alone coming from the Indian territory, the film earned more than Rs. 1.36 billion (approximately US$30 million) worldwide.[67]

Within a week of the film's theatrical release, pirated copies of the film priced at Rs. 10 million (approximately US$220,000) were seized at an Indian airport.[68] A report carried out by The Times of India highlighted piracy on the internet where movies like Rang De Basanti could be downloaded freely.[69] To counter this, UTV Motion Pictures launched anti-piracy raids on local retailers in New York City, Houston and Dallas, which consist of a fairly large Indian diaspora. This was to ensure that there would be no pirated DVD sales before its intended DVD release on 15 March 2006.[70] The DVD release sold more than 70,000 copies over six months, and as a result the film was the highest selling title at the time of its release.

Reception

Critical reception

Critics gave the film an overwhelmingly positive response, in particular the ensemble cast's performance and credibility. Although The Indian Express spoke positively of the cinematography and the film's story, it noted that "the message that the film carries with it tends to get diluted towards the climax.[71] Praising the film's cast for their performance and the cinematography of Binod Pradhan, Taran Ardash wrote that the film would be successful with the urban audiences.[71] The Hindustan Times summarized the film as being a "well-scripted, skilfully crafted [and] thought-provoking entertainer".[72] Saisuresh Sivaswamy of Rediff.com wrote that films like Rang De Basanti can easily get into "preachiness", but believed Mehra got his message across while avoiding this, also appreciating the music, cinematography, dialogues and art direction.[73] The Hindu credited Kamlesh Pandey for writing a story that would have been a difficult film to make, but it added by saying that the transformation of the youngsters into heroes seemed poetic. Although the screenplay, direction and the cast were also well-appreciated, the reviewer felt that Rahman's soundtrack lacked pace.[74]

The film also received positive reviews from critics outside India. The review from the BBC gave it the highest possible five star rating and added that it was "an entertaining mix of romance, history and social commentary".[1] Although the San Francisco Chronicle spoke highly of the film's production values, the music and the cast, it baulks at certain flaws in the film making such as Mehra's muddled message of political assassination and poorly developed characters and situations.[75] Derek Elley of Variety praised the technical crew and although he positively reviewed A. R. Rahman's music, he said it will remain unmemorable. Despite these points, he said that "the movie remains disengaging at a personal, emotional level", thereby weakening the climax.[76] The Bloomberg website wrote positively about "the raw energy of a young cast and A. R. Rahman's splendidly rousing soundtrack".[77]

2007 Academy Awards Best Foreign Film Submission

Since the film "reflected contemporary Indian reality and had cinematic excellence", it was chosen as India's official entry for the 79th Academy Awards despite stiff competition from films such as Krrish, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Omkara and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.[78][79] While discussing if the selection committee's choice was correct, critics felt that the Academy members could have better related with Omkara, an adaptation of Shakespeare's play Othello.[72][80] Despite these qualms and Mehra's belief that his film did not stand a chance at the Oscars,[81] the efforts to publicize the film in the United States began earnestly. Music composer A. R. Rahman performed several concerts across the East Coast to promote the film. Besides his efforts, producer Screwvala planned to use resources and expertise from his partners in 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Pictures for organizing its publicity efforts.[82] When the nominations in the foreign film category did not feature this film, it sparked off debates on whether the film should have been India's entry for the Oscars. In one such debate on a television channel that involved Screwvala, the selection committee was questioned about its knowledge of the requisite artistic criteria for such award ceremonies. While one outcome of the debate was on how Omkara would have been a better choice, the other discussed the West-centric sensibilities of the Academy members. However, results from a simultaneously conducted SMS poll indicated that 62 percent felt that the film was the right choice for the Oscars.[83]

Awards and nominations

Rang De Basanti received the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment in addition to awards at a number of other ceremonies. It won several awards at the annual India-based Filmfare Awards including Best Movie, Best Director, Best Music Director, Critics Best Performance - Male (Aamir Khan), Best Editing (P. S. Bharathi), Best Cinematography and RD Burman Award for New Music (Naresh Iyer) categories.[84] It also won the 2007 International Indian Film Academy awards for Best Movie, Best Supporting Actress (Soha Ali Khan), Best Screenplay (Rensil D'Silva and Rakeysh Mehra) and Best Music among other technical awards.[85][86] Apart from these, the film won eight awards apiece at the 2006 Global Indian Film Awards[87] and 2007 Star Screen Awards,[88] and six at the 2007 Zee Cine Awards.[89]

The film was also nominated for the Best Film not in English language at the 2007 British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards.[90][91]

Social influence

A pictorial collage that showcases how the Indian brands have used pictorials from the film (clockwise from top: Tehelka's second anniversary magazine, a Business & Economy periodical and Amul – a dairy products manufacturer).

Rang De Basanti had a noticeable impact on Indian society. A study of bloggers behavioral patterns during the first month of the film's release revealed a significant increase in public ire towards government and politicians for constantly being mired in corruption and bureaucracy and their inefficiency in providing basic amenities. Intense political discussions spurred on by the film's influence were observed in these patterns.[63] While commenting on this, writer D'Silva said that the film "has struck a chord somewhere".[92] Besides instigating political thought and discussions, it evoked social awakening for many. Some discussions rallied on how citizens should support and contribute to non-governmental organizations and exercising simple citizen duties of paying taxes and voting, while the others contemplated on how to become more responsible towards the country.[63] Unlike other Indian films with jingoistic overtones, several young Indians could relate well to the characters of this film.[93]

While such reactions were observed on the Internet, youth activism took to streets to protest on public interest issues. A direct impact was on the 1999 Jessica Lall Murder Case, one of the high-profile murder cases in India. A month after the film's release, a court acquitted the main accused because of inefficient prosecution and hostile witnesses.[94] This sparked intense civil protests and media campaigns that sought his re-arrest. Taking cue from the scene in which the protagonists hold a silent, candlelight vigil at New Delhi's India Gate, one such group of demonstrators carried out a similar rally to voice their protest.[95] Shortly thereafter, a survey was conducted to assess reasons for the sudden upsurge in people's social involvements. Eighteen percent of the respondents felt that movies like Rang De Basanti were the main reason behind it.[96] Another such massive youth activism was seen in the Priyadarshini Mattoo rape and murder case where similar rallies were organized in India, United States and around the world.[97][98] Following the release of the film, another social outcry was against the introduction of reservations for socially backward classes in educational institutions. Young doctors and engineers joined hands in peaceful rallies in major cities across India.[99] Though the film was not released in the neighbouring Pakistan, it evoked similar reactions there. Inspired by the film, Pakistan's national newspaper, Jung, launched a television channel that was to focus on citizens' issues and support public awakening.[100] Reacting to these strong social reactions, actor Kunal Kapoor thought that the film was just a catalyst that presented "patriotism in a package that the youngsters understood and empathised with".[101]

In the Indian media, frequent referencing of the film was evident, with many brands using pictorials from the movie.[102] In addition, the media also uses the terms "RDB" (abbreviated title of the movie) and "RDB effect" while referring to instances of public activism on matters of public interest.[63] When the 2007 University of Delhi Student Elections focused more on the important issues facing the students than in the previous years, one student referred to this as the "RDB Syndrome".[103] On similar lines, Kamal Sunavala wrote a play titled Under the Influence which focuses on a young Indian expatriate whose life changes after watching this film.[104]

See also

Further reading

References

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  2. ^ a b Sen, Raja (2006-01-12). "Rang De is not a war film". Rediff.com. http://www.rediff.com/movies/2006/jan/12mehra.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-16.  
  3. ^ a b Iyer, Sandhya (2004-04-20). "Mehra to paint the town yellow". The Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/626728.cms. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jha, Subhash (2006-02-03). "It’s so much fun to raise the bar". The Telegraph. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1060203/asp/etc/story_5760702.asp. Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  5. ^ a b c d Doval, Nikita (2004-04-01). "Aamir paints it yellow!". The Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/593812.cms. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  6. ^ a b c d e Sen, Raja (2006-01-14). "Just jump off the cliff!". Rediff.com. http://in.rediff.com/movies/2006/jan/13rakeysh.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
  7. ^ "NRI industrialist to produce Aamir’s Rang De Basanti". Apunkachoice.com. 2004-03-28. http://www.apunkachoice.com/scoop/bollywood/20040328-1.html. Retrieved 2008-03-17.  
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External links

Awards
Preceded by
Black
ब्लैक
Filmfare Best Movie Award
2007
Succeeded by
Taare Zameen Par







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