Rang Rasiya that was made in 2008, finally gets to see the light of the day this year. While the film did not find any takers initially, for years together the film has been facing controversies. Based on the life story of iconic painter Raja Ravi Varma as depicted in the novel named on the artist by Ranjit Desai, RANG RASIYA releases this week. Raja Ravi Varma (Randeep Hooda) is an artist for whom painting is worship. When he is marries to the princess of a Kerala state (Tripta Parashar), he decides to paint his wife as an inspiration. But when she demeans the art form and shoos him away, he decides to look for beauty beyond and finds it in Kamini (Rashanaa Shah), one of the servants in the palace. While she inspires him to paint one of the masterpieces that is responsible for him to win the title ‘Raja’ from the King of Travancore, the death of this old king leaves Ravi Varma shattered and he decides to shift base to Mumbai where he attempts to rediscover the love for art. So when he meets Suganda (Nandana Sen) in a temple, she becomes his inspiration for his future works. In an attempt to impress his biggest patron, the Raja of Baroda (Sameer Dharmadikari), Ravi Varma undertakes the task of showcasing Indian culture through the language of art with his paintings. While his paintings become available to the common man, the ‘so called’ guardians of the Hindu culture raise objection and Ravi Varma is arrested for using human face for God and also for portraying aesthetic art through nudity.
With the bright colours, the gorgeous Indian beauties, the delicate Indian architecture, Ketan Mehta manages to paint a beautiful picture on celluloid that will prove to be a treat to art lovers. Though the filmmaker captures the nuances of the artist, Varma’s struggles, his success, his downfall well, the switch between the past and present frequently makes it difficult to focus on the subject. The film solely rested on Randeep Hooda’s shoulders. Though Randeep struggles to make his act work in the first half, it is the second half that he manages to pull off some stellar scenes with aplomb. Nandana Sen, as the muse of Ravi Varma looks good in every attire of Goddesses. Paresh Rawal as the business minded Govardhandas, though an extended cameo, suits the role perfectly, Darshan Jariwala as the guardian of Hindu culture and Chintamani Pandit do a good job. Others like debutants Rashanaa Shah, Feryna Wazheir and veteran actor Vikram Gokhale help the movie move forward. With this period drama set against the backdrop of the British Raj in 1800s, there is enough scope for melodious music that would have given a boost to the artistic portrayal of characters but somehow the music fails to make a mark. Except’ Kahe Sataye’, the rest of the tracks aren’t worth mentioning. Rang Rasiya is for the artistic and creative people who believe in freedom of expression.
7/10 | 3.5 Stars