Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rangeela (1995): Colorful, young and fun

This is yet another one that I watched that all-so-long month ago (now eking toward two) before I graduated college. But if Omkara and Tere Naam were dark and depressing, Rangeela, as its name promises, is anything but.

Synposis: An orphan named Munna (Aamir Khan) is taken in by a family whose bubbly daughter Mili (Urmila Matondkar) grows to be his best friend. While Mili works as a movie extra and dancer and dreams of being an actress, Munna earns cash selling movie tickets in the black market. One day, Mili is noticed by actor Raj Kamal (Jackie Shroff), who gets her the heroine's role in his upcoming movie called Rangeela (it’s Rangeela-ception!). Then Munna realizes he loves Mili and Raj is falling too, all while oblivious Mili is too busy chasing success to notice.

True to its name, Rangeela is...colorful. It’s hard to describe the film any other way as it blends an artistic feel with an upbeat tempo, young feel and also a tone of fun. The best way to show that is through the songs, which have very “modern dance” choreography but are, yes, fun. The music, being A.R. Rahman, is of course brilliant; and, side note, Rangeela was actually Rahman’s first non-dubbed Hindi film.

A lot of the movie is driven on the female protagonist’s flamboyant character, and Urmila Matondkar is gorgeous enough to draw anyone in. She somehow manages to be sexy and smouldering and adorably cute bouncing around in her short shorts and fluffy early 90s hair.

On the other hand... Aamir needed to take a bath through the whole movie. Just like my advice to prospective suitors last week via Tere Naam to not propose by telling the bride you’ll slap her father, via Rangeela I tell you, prospective suitors, take a bath before trying to woo a girl, especially an ambitious one.

Jackie Shroff, however, is lackluster and somewhat creepy. Somehow he managed to win a Filmfare Award for this role (in the same year that DDLJ pretty much swept the awards), but I honestly don’t understand how. That and you have to see him in a Speedo running around with Urmila in a bathing suit, which is downright brain damaging (though not so much as Underwear Rishi in Bobby or Speedo Paresh Rawal in 36 China Town).

One of the things I most liked about Rangeela, though, was that it’s a film about making films. Watching movies portray movie-making is fun, and Hollywood does it far too little. As an industry, Bollywood acknowledges it’s a part of the filmi world a lot  more than Hollywood (with its “realism”) does; for example, Bollywood has fun putting in cameos, nods to other films and industry-mocking jokes that the audience, acknowledged as a filmi-knowledgeable audience, will appreciate.

That’s another one of those things besides Mili that’s colorful about Rangeela: Its look at the movies is full of fun, pageantry, drama, and so on. All the colors of the wind.

Anyway, sum total, Rangeela is fun. My only word of caution is that it takes forever to finally reach the climactic lovey moment, which literally happens at the very end of the film.

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