Past and present merge in 'Rang De Basanti'

Jan 19, 2006 IANS

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) After the moustachioed period look in "Mangal Pandey", Aamir Khan is back as an urban youth in "Rang De Basanti" where India under British rule in the 1930s merges seamlessly with today's India.

Slated for a Republic Day release, the film is about the dreams and desires of a London- based filmmaker chancing upon the diaries of her grandfather, who served in the British police force in India during the freedom struggle. Excited, she plans a film on the Indian revolutionaries mentioned in the diaries.

She flies down to Delhi and casts a group of five young boys to play the pivotal roles of these revolutionaries.

The five youngsters initially refuse to be part of the project because they don't identify with the characters from the past. They would rather party than be patriots.

In the film, the 1930s British India and the India of today run parallel and intersect with each other at crucial points. As the film reaches its resolution, the line between past and present blurs, and they become one in spirit. A.R Rahman's music, which is selling like hot cakes, adds fervour to the drama.

Director Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, whose directorial debut "Aks" starring Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpai bombed miserably, has pinned all his hopes on "Rang De Basanti".

Siddharth, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Kunal, Soha Ali Khan, Alice Patten, Waheeda Rehman, Atul Kulkarni and Om Puri will be seen in pivotal roles in the film.

The star undoubtedly is Aamir, sporting another new look - curly hair and trendy clothes, somewhat similar to his gelled, goatee appearance in his last 'urban' film "Dil Chahta Hai".

"Rang De Basanti" was set to release last week, but found itself in troubled waters when the Indian Air Force (IAF) objected to a computer-generated shot showing a MiG 21 crashing. It took a special screening for Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and the three service chiefs to finally clear the film.

While the IAF cleared it without a fuss, the Animal Welfare Board also objected and didn't budge till the producer edited out 20 seconds of the film showing Aamir riding a horse.

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