The spirit of Rangeela, at 25: A still-colourful fantasy from Ram Gopal Varma, AR Rahman Aamir Khan, Urmila Matondkar

Posted on September 8, 2020


At a macro level, there’s literally nothing you can sense at a one-line level and say, “Wow, this is going to be huge.” But the beautiful “micro” touches make the movie.

You don’t associate the word “benign” with Ram Gopal Varma. You associate it with someone like Sooraj Barjatya, whose Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! had the sweetest-natured people — and the sweetest-natured pup. (Its name was Tuffy, but it could have been Toffee). But a year later, we got Rangeela, and it was just niceness all around. The heroine (Urmila Matondkar, as Mili) is benign. The hero (Aamir Khan, as Munna) is blustery, but benign. The third wheel (Jackie Shroff as Kamal) is benign. The only time he flares up is when some uncouth men (the only un-benign people in this film) harass his leading lady during a shoot, but the scene lasts all of 12.283 seconds. Kamal may be known for his furious fisticuffs on screen (one of his hits is titled Mr. Bond, and believe me, it is not about an insurance agent), but in Rangeela, where he’s mostly seen off-screen, he seems the sort of chap who spends his spare time listening to Mehdi Hasan ghazals with a Kalamkari shawl thrown around his shoulders.

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