By Shama Bhagat
If there’s one Bollywood actor who has never restricted himself when it came to “demands of the script”, then he is Randeep Hooda.
Whether it is a steamy scene with Mahie Gill in Sahib Biwi or Gangster or a criminal-turned-confused-lover in Highway, Randeep Hooda has always been a supporting actor who does his job really well but never steals the limelight away from the hero or the heroine.
But Rang Rasiya is different, for a change. Here the spotlight is firmly fixed on Randeep, who plays the role of legendary painter Raja Ravi Verma, the hero of the film. The responsibility of pulling the film through the weekend at the box office seems to be his.
Is this a film that he’s been waiting for a long time? Yes, of course. But what about the fact that the sexual content of the film is being slyly promoted more than the life story of the legendary painter?
Randeep admits that the sex scenes is the USP of the film but hastens to add that he isn’t ashamed of it.
“I have no shame in saying that the film has a lot of sexual content and that is the reason why the Censor Board was not willing to pass the film it without major cuts. But we have sorted the issue now and the film is being released without a single cut,” he said.
Is he okay about the sexual content being the highlight of the film rather than the controversial life of the legendary painter who’s accused of blasphemy by Hindu hardliners during those days? Doesn’t he think that the focus on sex is merely a ploy to attract eye-balls which shouldn’t be the case?
“It’s a 100-year-old story a and the story has been told as it is. I am sure if Raja Ravi Verma had been alive, he would have been proud of the film. No, I am not ashamed of the (sex) scenes as we have narrated actual incidents. The sex scenes have been shot aesthetically,” he adds.
The actor admits that it was difficult for him to play the character of the legendary painter because he was “effeminate”.
“His body language was effeminate. His life was about all brushes and paintings. It was difficult for me to get inside the skin of the character. I was trained in painting and charcoal drawing by (art director) Nitin Desai’s assistant. I started painting more to prepare for the role. Originally Raja Ravi Verma was from Kerala and there were no audio or visual references about him. So, we kind of re-created the character,” he adds.
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I object to the line “the legendary painter who’s accused of blasphemy by Hindu hardliners during those days”. Raja Ravi Varma was called to Vadodara by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad, who commissioned him to paint tales from the Indian epics, Nal-Damayanti, Dushyant-Shakuntala, not to mention the most-worshipped paintings of Goddess Saraswati, Lakshmi, Kali. If you visit the museum in Vadodara, you will find all the paintings displayed with pride, AND you can even buy a collection of their photos. You can even visit the house where Raja Ravi Varma lived during his stay in Vadodara. Considering that the movie is about Raja Ravi Verma and his paintings, the Bollywood journalist had absolutely no reason to bring in the words ‘Hindu hardliners’, as the person who invited the artist to his palace was a Hindu king himself and extremely well-known to be a connoisseur of arts. I expected better from the Bollywood Journalist.
Kindly visit the link below before turning this blog into a religio-political one. -http://www.historyofvadodara.in/2008/05/Raja-Ravi-Varma-Paintings-Vadodara.html
I object to the words ‘the legendary painter who’s accused of blasphemy by Hindu hardliners during those days’, which are totally uncalled for and entirely unexpected in a Bollywood blog. Raja Ravi Varma was invited by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad to Vadodara to paint tales from Indian epics and the paintings are proudly housed in the Maharaja Fatehsingh Museum in Vadodara. You can even buy the photos of the paintings from the memento shop in the museum. Considering the movie is about the artist and his paintings, there was no reason for this journalist to bring in a religious-political flavour to the interview. Clearly, she has not done her homework. A visit to this link – http://www.historyofvadodara.in/2008/05/Raja-Ravi-Varma-Paintings-Vadodara.html – will tell her how honored a ‘Hindu’ king (to repeat her words) was that the potraits of the Gaekwad royal family were also painted by the artist, and should there be any doubts to this claim, you can visit the house where Raja Ravi Varma lived during his stay in Vadodara.
Bollywood journalist – I expected better from this blog. We come here to read about movies, not about the same things we read in newspapers.