15 years of Rang De Basanti: team reveals what makes it timeless
Rang De Basanti was a commercial and critical success when it was released on this day 15 years ago. And the film is still being talked about – what makes it so special? We spoke to director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Prasoon Joshi, Sharman Joshi and Kunal Kapoor to get their thoughts and memories of making the film.
Rank De Basanti is one of the films that is closest to my heart. The subject matter is still relevant and always will be, like the struggle of the people with the government. It became a cult film and had a lot to offer, both in terms of entertainment and social message. It was an extraordinary film, but also a difficult film.
We discussed the script and how it would translate to the screen, but Mehra did a wonderful job. The difficult part was how the past and present would work. The characters are shooting a play and they start relating to it and living the characters. It was done exceptionally well. There’s a scene I remember when we’re driving in a jeep and we’re all high on alcohol and Aamir turns left and sees Chandra Shekhar Azad riding a horse. It was so well thought out and shot. To say that today’s characters relate to the past, but to put them on celluloid is difficult.
I auditioned for that role, and back in the early days of my career, it was a dream come true to get the part. After playing two or three scenes, I got the acceptance from Mehra. I was so happy that I went to my car and screamed with joy.
It was a greeting to the young generation and at the same time a wake-up call. The idea of India was in the hearts of the youth to make India a better place, to make it more livable and to work towards perfection, because all that is done is little.
The fact that the film is 15 years old makes part of me very happy, but there is also a part of me that is not very happy because the film is still relevant. The thing that I was talking about, the voice that I had, if you look around, it seems like a lot of things have changed, but nothing has changed. Things like tolerance for others, social and political awareness, youth participation in the running of the country, and the corruption that was pursued for so many years. It’s a never-ending job, and I’m not blaming or pointing fingers, but I hope that one day Rang De Basanti will be irrelevant. He says there is much to do and we need to participate in the idea of India.