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