The biopic of artist Raja Ravi Varma is a wasted opportunity
Ketan Mehta’s Rang Rasiya, based on the biographical novel Raja Ravi Varma by Ranjit Desai, is a film about offence and how acting on its impulses can oppress and ruin lives. In our part of the world, this story about modern India’s first major painter and his tryst with Hindu fundamentalist thought is unfortunately a relevant story not because of his widely appealing yet sophisticated art, but because his life-long struggle to keep his art free is not unheard of among artists even today. Discovering cinematic potential in the book and this subject is, in itself, a statement. Mehta, the maker of films such as Mirch Masala and Maya Memsaab, has been a director willing to take risks with his subjects. All this makes Rang Rasiya an important film, released after battling the censors for years, but that’s not enough to make it a classic or a provocative film.