A story of a boy and girl who grow up as neighbours and ultimately find love in each other has been told in many different ways in mainstream cinema. Director Venky Atluri presents a fresh take on it, narrating a boy-meets-girl story with a lot of humour. Some of this humour is in a sticky zone, with the risk of ending up politically incorrect or insensitive. But slowly the tables turn and some of these sticky issues get addressed, while the fun quotient stays intact. Even when things seem like they could get emotional and sappy, enough cheer pervades through Rang De. And Venky has on board a good set of actors who keep us invested in the romantic comedy drama.
- Cast: Nithiin, Keerthy Suresh, Vennela Kishore
- Direction: Venky Atluri
- Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Arjun (Nithiin) is the apple of his parents’ (Naresh and Kausalya) eye until Anupama (Keerthy Suresh) arrives in the neighbourhood with her mother (Rohini). He’s glad to be in her company until she, being innately better than him, begins to get all the appreciation. Arjun compares this to Rajesh Khanna being upstaged from his superstar status with the arrival of Amitabh Bachchan!
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From childhood till college, Arjun unwittingly bears the brunt of Anu’s actions, to hilarious effect. It’s bad enough he is chided for drunk driving. She then brings up the fact that he has flunked in exams. To top that, she announces that she has scored 95%. As Arjun’s friends (Suhas and Abhinav Gomatam) keep reiterating, ‘she did it again’.
The initial portions are a roller coaster ride of fun but underneath all that laughter, Venky shows us several fault lines in the relationships. Anu’s love for Arjun and Arjun’s jealousy and hatred for her are only one part of the drama. There’s also the strained relationship between Anu and her mother. The mother has no qualms funding Arjun’s exam malpractices, but refuses to support her meritorious daughter’s dream.
When we begin to wonder if everything, including a loveless marriage, will be masked with comedy, Venky turns the tables to reveal a Tom and Jerry scenario between Anu and Arjun.
New characters are introduced now and then, all adding to the humour. The stretch involving Brahmaji and his coaching institute (you can’t miss his posters with Obama and Modi) are fun. When the superstitious Vennela Kishore arrives, it sets the ball rolling for yet another fun ride.
As Anu and Arjun figure out where their relationship is headed, gender issues also get addressed. When Anu blames herself for an incident of sexual harassment, Arjun asserts that it’s not her fault; elsewhere, there’s a statement about respecting a woman’s decision about motherhood. Cheers to that!
Keerthy Suresh is a treat to watch and Nithiin matches her at every step. The success of a romance drama steeped in situational comedy depends on its actors and the lead pair, along with Vennela Kishore, Rohini, Naresh, Brahmaji and others, stay on cue. The Gayathri Raghuram and Vineeth story also acts as a cog in the wheel.
Devi Sri Prasad’s music and the visual canvas, with cinematographer P C Sreeram being at the helm, also work hugely for the film.
I wish the story had also addressed the issues with the parents — the tendency of a parent to constantly compare an under-performing child with a smarter one; and another parent who doesn’t make an effort to understand her daughter’s dreams.
This might be the nth time we are watching a film where the man realises that he needs to grow up and be sensitive to the woman who has always stood by him, but still, it works. A few missteps aside, Rang De is entertaining and sensitive where it needs to be.