{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Kids must Die !

A big question is why the kids died. Some obvious answers will be because we don't want to see the film for another half an hour or because its an Indian commercial film or it must be true to the story it emulates. But the kids must die in the end to put a logical end to their insolvable problems or to justify their situation or to just become more sacred as dead. The kids should also die to wash off their unintentional wrong doings or to balance the zero-sum game. Anyway death is inevitable for the the poor bunch because they can't just be wild at heart and get away in a Hindi film. Also they should die giving some hope to others but with a despair in their eyes speaking volumes of the hope that has extinguished in the darkness of death. They must die because death immortalize a man and more so if death is shown more of as a martyrdom.

The bigger question seems is there no other way to end a film but the easy way out to kill the kids. Here in some way, the story also deviates with the original story (story of Bhagat Singh and his friends) because they died knowing that they are going to die and that's where the narrator refers to them as the people of the third kind. But Karan and friends did not kiss death with smile, they actually wanted to live, if the director had given them some living space. But then our director turned to the audience who are ready for their death and to drop a tear or two.

I think this break of similarity between the two stories tells us more about the state of film making than about the film itself. Our films drives audiences to the theaters just to feel for the characters but not to think for them or rather think with them. I am not against what is shown in the film, as I myself enjoyed the movie but in the end it overwhelms you which is bad for any sincere effort, it should make you think rather than make you feel just sad for the characters. I couldn't help but draw parallel between Rang de Basanti and Taxi driver, although they are different movies with very different motives. What if our gang of heroes in Rang de Basanti were acquitted somehow, will the audience be able to 'relate' to them as they do it now. As in my case it took me some time to understand Travis Bickle and found that everyone is Travis to some extend when it comes to find purpose to our nothingness, would the director of Rang De Basanti ready to give us that time of appreciation of a movie, No, he wants us to feel what ever we can in the cinema hall itself and let it go. Had the kids escaped the AIR building, can our director be able to gather that much sympathy for them in the given duration of the movie. No... absolutely no. and so with no other feasible option available, the kids are killed but I must say they are not of the third kind.


ventilatorblues said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ventilatorblues said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ventilatorblues said...

Sorry about the two aborted attempts. Anyway,

"No, he wants us to feel what ever we can in the cinema hall itself and let it go."

You are right on the money to focus on the state of Indian film making rather than RDB in particular! That is why I find the negative reviews about RDB on the blogosphere, all of which are long-winded and utterly meaningless philosophical rants, so misguided. RDB = Good masala, Good romance angles, Good muzak, - what else do I need for paisa vasool? That is the expectation, and the film delivers on it.

Have to add that this is the most perceptive review I have read on the film so far.

anurag said...

I liked the movie with some reservations but the basic problem with lot of films is the way they treat their audiences : use-and-throw item, thats what hurts.

Thanks for your comment(s) :))


Alok said...

Hey Anurag,

I really liked your take on the movie and I agree hundred percent (although I haven't seen the film yet!). You are right in your analysis of how the film ends.

What I find problematic though, and here I disagree with V's comment above , is that this film is not just "paisa wasool". It appears to claim to be much more than that. I am honestly surprised at the reaction it has drawn among the young people, specially in the "NRI" community here. They obviously don't see it as another blockbuster movie like, say, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or suchlike, but a film which manages to strike at the something deeper and more meaningful.

It is from this context that I find the disconnect between the filmmaker's intention (which I have every reason to be suspect of, specially after reading your post) and the effect it has on the audiences, so annoying.

Nitish said...

Nice take on the movie and the state of the movie-making nation. Yup, the problem in my eyes lies in the fact that the directors of our nation refuse to trust the sensibilities of the audience. The concept of subtlety is completely lost on them and the only way they think that they can get their points across are by going over the top to bash it into the viewers' brains. Did the relationship between Sue and DJ have to be so explicit? What did the director aim to achieve by that? Did it add an iota to the film?

Sorry, but i aint among the ones who go to the movies for 'paisa vasool'. If the movie doesnt make me think after it is over, then it has failed. RDB did manage it to a certain level, but it could have been so so much more.

ink blot said...

Its good to watch a movie which makes you think after the movie but why would one not watch a 'paisa vasool' film. I mean at the end of the movie it should be coherent in its approach, if its entertaining wats wrong with it. Just to quote an example, on top of my mind is 'catch me if you can'. Any day its a well made movie, definetly not thought provoking but worth watching because its entertaining. There would be many such examples. That apart i concur with Anurag completely. Its such a sick feeling when directors take for granted audience as a bunch of idiots and try to play around with their emotions. More so the breed of so called serious movie makers in india like madhur bhandarkar and co. who are dishing out crap/uninspiring/directionless movies which mange to carry themselves off as good movies and win national awards as well. Regarding RDB, the movie was good -- and the end was inconsequential to me. Rather it was too predictable to have made an impact on me.

Anonymous said...

I guess your reservation about RDB is actually problem with film as a medium. The audiance has to dance on the tune of director otherwise there is no difference between novel and film. Novel gives u much more freedom of interpretation than movie. I did not find any problem with the ending. I can rather explain it other way. Bhagat singh was not keen on dying but he was ready to face that. Now when the kids decided to go to radio station, it is logical to think that they would have expected arrest, judgement and then jail or death but it the death came much faster than they expected. It should not undermine the fact that they where there for a cause that was there prime motive. The the commonality between bhagat singh and kids was the importance of cause with out bother anything else.

anurag said...


I don't want to dance to the tunes of anybody... and so do you if you think correctly.

The gap between your understanding and my understanding is between the way you see cinema as a medium.

I don't think if you consider cinema as art at all... but I do consider.

The difference between literature and cinema is basically the tools they use. They both impact us, and even a novel can make us dance.

Your interpretation of the last scene may be correct but ask yourself that how the film would have impacted you if they are acquitted and again left to their previous identity of nothingness. That would have impacted me more and that too on a genuine level but that could not have gathered much nationalistic sympathy and pity votes !

The the commonality between bhagat singh and kids was the importance of cause with out bother anything else.

Ya, if they have lived, I donot know whether kids' cause would be lost or not but definitely director's cause must have been lost.

ventilatorblues said...

I think all art is about manipulating the audience. The problem arises when the audience becomes conscious that it is being manipulated.

anurag said...


I think manipulation is not the correct word. It stinks of using the other person, a sort of back stabbing.

Probably, channelizing or conducting from medium to audience are proper words.

When you say if audience become aware of this manipulation, its directly proportional to the consciousness level of the audience, which are far from being uniform, but awareness to this manipulation has come to me for RDB and for any such film it usually comes sooner or later to an active and conscious audience, and that's where I say that film should not overwhelm you so that it shields you from thinking and make you unconscious of its design.

But if I am correct I get your intend when you say manipulation of audience.


Sandy said...

Hi Anurag,

I like your line of questioning here. There is more than one flaw in the storyline though. Here's my two pence on the movie, which i wrote in my blog sometime back



onederyears said...

Contrary to what you say, was forced to think a lot about what I am doing to change the SYSTEM and its definatley just not about the characters in the movie.And the feeling just didnt end in the theatre itself..absoulutely not.If anything made me question my very moronic existence...any movie which makes you think and stays with u long after leaving the confines of the theatre is a good one..
Going further, the charcters didnt willingly take on death ..granted..but once faced with it...didnt shy away from it..and also the consequences of their actions were pretty clear to them beforehand.

Indrajith said...

There are 3 kinds of Movie Makers.
One, the Masala or Run of the mill movie maker, second the art film makers who sparingly get any audience. The third, who can mix up both in some balancing combination so that it attracts both the audience and still a big hit. I dont know if the kids are of the 3rd kind or not, but the director is certainly of the 3rd kind.