Rang Rasiya is more about what it could have been than what it is. Here’s a great story of a world class painter of the 19th century, Raja Ravi Varma, who also boasts of an utterly admirable and charming personality.
Director Ketan Mehta chose well to tell this story on screen but unfortunately, failed largely in bringing the magic alive. The film is full of scenes that are laced with sex and more sex, most of which are forced and were not needed in the narrative.
Ravi Varma (Randeep Hooda), who is married to a princess, is more inclined towards the colour palette than worldly duties. His family doesn’t approve of it and thus he becomes a rebel, who starts finding solace in his paintings.
This leads to trouble and he has to leave home in order to preserve his art and philosophy. All this is happening in late 19th century, a time when the peaceful co-existence of religion, science and art was probably not possible.
Ravi Varma begins to give a new dimension to his art, but the demise of the king leaves him in a lurch. Now, the princely estate of Baroda appoints Raja Ravi Varma as its chief artiste and there begins a journey which continues till his last days.
Post this, Rang Rasiya becomes a love story which exists in Sugandha’s (Nandana Sen) heart and Ravi Varma’s mind. The film takes a while to gather momentum and begin to underscore the principal conflict points in the legendary artist’s career.
With the help of an Indian businessman Goverdhan Das (Paresh Rawal) and a German printer Fritz Schleizer (Jim Boeven), he sets up a lithographic printing press in Bombay that reproduces his paintings by the hundreds and thousands.
Rang Rasiya boasts of strong performances by the two principal actors; Randeep Hooda as Raja Ravi Varma and Nandana Sen as his muse in Bombay, Sugandha Bai. This film has been in the cans for several years, but given the timelessness of the story it tells and the crucial issues it addresses, it has lost none of it’s relevance.
Having said this, Rang Rasiya should have been all about Raja Ravi Varma’s life as an artiest but this one concentrates on his sex life and that’s where it falls flat.
Rang Rasiya, which claims to be based on Ranjit Desai’s biography of renowned painter Raja Ravi Varma, is a journey where souls undressed and make out...1.0