Rang De Basanti (2006)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Rang De Basanti</strong> (2006)

(Netflix Streaming, August 2018) Fourth film in my Aamir Khan mini-binge, Rang de Basanti certainly dovetails with the first three: staying away from stereotypical Bollywood tropes, this is an ambitious film that engages with contemporary social issues and keeps the song-and-dance to a minimum. Boldly making its way to a full-throated denunciation of political corruption in India, Rang de Basanti bolsters its (fictional, but relevant) case with historical parallels, a strong sense of friendship between its leads and a tragic ending that ennobles the characters’ struggles. Saddled with a 157 minutes running time and a weighty subject matter, this is not a film to take in lightly. I didn’t quite like it as much as many of Khan’s other features, but that’s probably because Rang de Basanti makes few concessions to foreign audiences in discussing issues of national importance: There’s a British character that frames the film’s story but does not really impact it (a good story choice), and there’s the sense for North American audiences that we’re listening in on an important conversation taking place elsewhere. This limits but does not diminish Rang De Basanti‘s effectiveness—the film’s length and tragic ending may be more effective deterrents. Still, Khan is an effective force as an actor here, and I didn’t need anything more to satisfy me on a mini-binge of his most noteworthy movies.

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