Rang de Basanti: The solvent brown and other imperial colors

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A little less than half-way into Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra's Rang de Basanti (Paint it Saffron, 2006), four young men - DJ (Daljit), Karan, Sukhi, and Aslam - are almost accidentally plucked out of their urbane, metropolitan, indeed remarkably privileged Delhi university environment to play the roles of the illustrious revolutionary quartet of Bhagat Singh (1907-1931), Chandrasekhar Azad (1906-1931), Hari Sivaram Rajguru (1908-1931) and Ashfaqullah Khan (1900-1927). As the young students begin to prepare for what is to be an amateur documentary on the lives of these martyrs to the cause of national autonomy, the visual diagram of their own contemporary lives comes into contact with the 'quaint' lives and times of Singh, Azad, Khan and Rajguru - boys who were themselves no more than twenty-three or twenty-four when their paths intersected in the most volatile of fashions through the manner in which they chose to die. While Karan, DJ, Sukhi, and Aslam awkwardly grapple with the effort to approximate the roles of men who seem remote from them, in their lives, in their deaths and in their passions, what we view on screen in the first half of Rang de Basanti is the hesitant and stuttering encounter between two distinct visual worlds, estranged from one another by what appears to be an insurmountable chasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBollywood and Globalization
Subtitle of host publicationIndian Popular Cinema, Nation, and Diaspora
PublisherAnthem Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781843318897
ISBN (Print)1843318334, 9781843318330
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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