#CAA Protests: Why We are Thinking of Aamir Khan’s Rang De Basanti Today
With students taking to the streets, Rang De Basanti, a film on student revolution proves to be prophetic
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti which opened on January 27, 2006 was about a group of college students who take to the streets to protest against the corruption in our governance and society. Going by what is happening in the country right now, Rang De Basanti seems eminently prophetic.
In an earlier interview to me, Rakeysh had said, “As an artiste, it is gratifying to know that the film still has a deep relevance to society and to cinema. But it’s also sad that the issues that RDB raised are today more relevant than they were five years ago. But as a citizen of India it is deeply saddening to know that issues of socio-political injustice that the film raised are more alive today than five years ago. I can only cross my fingers and hope that the issues in RDB are not relevant five years from now.”
The controversial ending which showed the student heroes gunning down a corrupt politician was labelled ‘fascist’. Rakeysh explained, “It wasn’t a heroic but a poetic ending. They become heroes because they die. What I’m trying to say is, we got independence from the goras. But we got enslaved by our own. Now we’re killing each other. You’re from Bihar. You know what I mean. There can be no neat solution to the problems we face. Rang De Basanti is a conversation with the masses.”
However Rakeysh Mehra didn’t want to take on the role of the social reformist. "I'm just a cog in the wheel. Rang De Basanti is a venting of so many ideas simmering within me. Please try to understand, I'm not important. The film is. But I can't allow myself to be weighed down by these considerations. A lady in Ahmedabad asked me to do more films like Rang De Basanti which provoke thought. But I can't be holier-than-thou about it. I can't whip up an identical sincerity and passion within myself. Things that bother you come out on screen. There're so many other issues other than the ones in Rang De…Just because it worked I can't take on the role of social reformist. If and when it happens again, it will. I've to completely believe in what I do."