Ketan Mehta’s ‘Rang Rasiya’ to be screened at London film fest

October 22nd, 2008 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Oct 22 (IANS) Director Ketan Mehta’s forthcoming bilingual film, “Rang Rasiya,” in Hindi, and “Colours of Passion,” in English, will be screened at the 52nd London Film Festival. There will be two screenings on Oct 25 and 30, according to Anand Mahendroo, who has produced the movie along with Deepa Mehta.

The movie is a sensuous love story of the great Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma and his muse, a woman called Suganabai.

Talking to IANS, director Mehta said that the movie also dwells at length on an obscenity case slapped on Raja Ravi Varma by puritans in the late 19th century.

“Though Raja Ravi Varma died in 1906, the film has a contemporary appeal as the conflict between artistic freedom and social taboos that pestered the painter is still a matter of debate in India,” Mehta said.

He cited the example of how the noted Indian artist M.F. Hussain has now become a victim of intolerance and regressive mindset of a section of the society.

“What I mean to say is that, dichotomy still exists in how some influential people who otherwise consider themselves progressive look at the world of art. On the one hand, they feel proud, as they should, about India’s successful moon mission, but on the other hand, they get jitters at the sight of a nude painting,” Mehta explained.

Was that what inspired him to make the movie?

“Partly, yes. But I always wanted to make a film on the life of Raja Ravi Varma. When I was at FTII (The Film and Television Institute of India), I studied art as a hobby.

What drew me to Varma was the knowledge that the images of our Hindu gods and goddesses that have inscribed on our minds were actually his creation,” he informed.

About his choice of artistes for the movie, Mehta said that he never wanted to cast popular stars as they would have overshadowed its theme.

In order to keep the perspective of the movie in focus, he also chose foreign cinematographers (Rali Ralchev and Christo Bakalov) to shoot the movie, he said.

“Local cinematographers would not have been able to get themselves out of the familiarity. I needed a cinematographer who could look at the perspective with a freshness of outlook,” the director revealed.

Starring Randeep Hooda, Nandana Sen, Paresh Rawal and Jim Boeven, “Rang Rasiya” will be screened at the MIACC Film Festival, organised by Indo-American Arts Council, in New York on November 6 and 8.

The movie is slated for commercial release all over in December.

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