Friday, July 21, 2006

Paint It Yellow...

I have a lot to say about this movie. You shouldn't be surprised at that - I've had the chance to see it not just the one time, but thrice since March, and have been chewing it through and through...


Oh - in case you're wondering why the post has this weird title, Rang De Basanti was shown at last week's "BAFTA Goes Bollywood" event in London, and the movie title was translated into "Paint It Yellow", which is a reasonable translation, but you of course lose so much nuance... what was it that Bill Murray said about things being lost in translation?



The first time I saw this movie was in March, in a cinema in Dehra Dun. I had gone back to visit my parents, who are living the retired life in that lovely little town, and my parents could not stop talking about this movie and how wonderful it was. My mother kept telling me that when she'd seen it the first time it had reminded her of me when I was in university. In hind sight, all I could think was, OH MY GOD! Did she think I was either (1) that indifferent, (2) that much of a loafer, or (3) that much of a potential political assassin?

However, seeing that movie in a cinema filled with local loony Doonies (a term coined by local resident & columnist David Keeling - read his columns about Doon on a Sunday at the Asian Age) the scene that collectively traumatised us all was when Waheeda Rehman goes to answer the door after her son has been cremated, and is greeted by two Indian Air Force servicemen, there to deliver her son's effects.

The power in this scene is especially resonant in a town like Dehra Dun. Virtually every family there has someone serving in the Indian armed forces, and that scene drew a collective gasp; it was the visualisation of the worst nightmare that everyone with someone in the armed forces harbours. My own mother was near tears in that scene. She told me later about how when my father was off at war in 1971 she had dreaded seeing a military jeep or truck turn into our street. And in 1999, we saw so many trucks coming in with the remains of young men & old from our neighbourhood - men who had died in the Kargil war.

Keep watching for more posts about this great movie...and if you hated it, please tell me why...



All images from the official movie website

4 comments:

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

I certainly did not hate the film. Just annoyed. The potential of a subject like this could have been best utilised by offering viable solutions as well. i wrote of this here:http://www.kavitachhibber.com/main/main.jsp?id=movie_reviews-Mar2006

Ashley said...

I enjoyed this film However, Aamir Khan is just too old in my opinon, to play the role of a 23 year old.

How should the title be translated? I assumed it meant, "the color yellow"

The Buddha Smiled said...

Thanks, both Kavita & Ashley. I'm going to put a follow up post on this movie, so keep watching this space.

The title is definitely a clause, not a phrase. The word "De" in the title is the conjugation which turns the word "Rang" from the noun "colour" into the verb "to colour". So if I could translate the title, I guess I'd stick to "Colour Me Yellow", rather than just "Paint it Yellow"...

Sweta said...

Does basanti actually mean yellow? I thought it was a name.