Rang De(Zee5, Telugu)
Starring Nithiin, Keerthi Suresh
Directed by Venky Atluri
The boxoffice success of this trashy rom-com during these times of a pandemic should worry all those who care about the future of Indian cinema.Is this the kind of shoddy cinema we would like to see flourish in the post-pandemic era when, speaking hypothetically, audiences return to movie theatres….
To see, this???!!! Rang De is the kind of addlebrained ramshackle he-loves-she-loves-they-love -not nonsense that prospered in the 1970s. Rang De reminded me of the 1977 Telugu hit Aalu Magalu where Vanisri is treated with unsettling contempt by Akkineni Nageswara Rao even she continues to adore him unconditionally.Women in films did that. They still do. Doormats will never go out of fashion.
43 years after Aalu Magalu the gender equation has not been revised much. Sure, Nithiin and Keerthy Suresh speak the “young” language and talk about sex with each other(in one ribtickling homage to young mindsets Nithiin tells Keerthy, “Just because we had sex last night doesn’t mean we have to become committed to one another”) and try to behave how normal people do when it comes to relationships and commitment.
Rang De tries so hard to be young it should have actually been titled Young De. The lead pair are neighbours. The two families are inseparable and it is presumed by all that Arjun and Anu are a couple. Anu adores Arjun although he is a certifiable wastrel with a penchant for delusional self-worth. All their friends can see they are not meant for each other. Except Anu who worships the ground he walks on while he walks all over her. I almost expected her to lie down prostrate to let him walk over her literally.
So much of the plot here is mothballed and outdated that sitting through many passages of the gender battle of the twits(with not even a modicum of wit) I thought the whole exercize is meant to be a send-off , a spoof on the romances of yesteryears when heroes bullied and heckled the heroine while she sobbed and slaved over her lord and monster…pardon me, master.
But no. These guys are dead serious about Keerthy Suresh’s prolonged humiliation by a chap who clearly needs to be taught how to behave with women. Maybe too much time with the boys drinking beer and watching porn, eh? Is that Arjun’s back story? What a pity Nithiin with his starpower, agreed to be part of something so sickeningly regressive. As for Keerthy Suresh she had rightly won the National award for her portrayal of the legendary actress Savithri in the bio-pic Mahanati .
Ironically Savithri was tossed around by the men in her life and taken for granted by those she favoured, just like Anu in Rang De.
The more things change,the more they are the same.