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Rang Rasiya
Rang Rasiya review Cast : Randeep Hooda, Nandana Sen, Paresh Rawal

Rang Rasiya is a colourful triumph, director Ketan Mehta meriting applause for his portrait of painter Raja Ravi Varma, skillfully blending a biopic, a period film, a love story and a social critique, within a tight frame. Arching across the 19th-20th centuries, Rang Rasiya traces Raja Ravi Varma's growth from a callow youth to a citizen of profound impact. Young Raja (Randeep) has several sensual encounters, by waterfalls, atop giggling swings, wrenching jewels off lovers' bare skin with satisfactory elan, painting portraits for pleased royals - until he meets the ethereal Sugandha (Nandana) in Bombay.

Randeep Hooda's performance is superb, maturing from a swarthy, 'swarthee kalakaar' to the first determined defender of the freedom of expression in modern India. In a hilarious scene, as Lokmanya Tilak delivers a speech, Varma breezily flirts with pretty journalist Frenny (Ferena Wazeir), later an ageing, wheezing man dismissing critics arrogantly, guilt-struck when Sugandha's socially mocked.

Alongside, Nandana's portrayal poignantly brings alive the lustrous power of a woman - divinely - in love. Paresh Rawal etches a characteristically sharp cameo as canny merchant Govardhan Das while Vikram Gokhale and Darshan Jariwala drip spite at Varma's art which, via mass-printing, brings the divine home to all - including those called Untouchable, barred from temples.