After almost a decade Director Ketan Mehta’s Movie ‘Rang Rasiya’ finally hit screens today in India.
Rang Rasiya (Colors Of Passion) is about my favourite Indian painter and father of modern Indian art Raja Ravi Varma, who gave faces to Indian gods, and made saree a popular Indian garment.
I had a great opportunity to watch english version of this movie last year at Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Its an interesting movie on censorship of Art.
Raja Ravi Varma was dragged to court for painting God and Goddesses in half nudes and how he eventually fought back and won the case.
Both strikingly beautiful and audacious, Ketan Mehta’s film charts the life of the great Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma (played by Randeep Hooda), from his early days under the patronage of a King of Kerala, moving on to British Bombay in the late 1800s, where he makes his fortune.
Here the genius gives birth to Indian modern art and helps inspire the independence movement and the dawning of Indian cinema with his depictions, which bring to life the Hindu gods and goddesses. He must first find his muse who comes in the lavish form of Sugandha (Nandana Sen). Varma’s fascination for his model turns into a torrid, paint-smeared, love affair, which is reflected in his art. The religious power brokers see his increasingly eroticised work as dangerous and Varma is dragged to the British courts to be tried for blasphemy.
Mehta’s homage offers not only a spectacular insight into a turning point in Indian history, but also questions the freedom of the artist in contemporary society. Not to be missed!
Other good reason to watch this movie is because my friend Feryna Wazheir, a very talented British Indian actress who plays a parsi Journalist for Times of India in this movie. she was a last women in Raja Ravi Varma’s life.
Raja Ravi Varma (29 April 1848 – 2 October 1906) was an Indian painter and artist from the princely state of Kilimanoor (presently in Kerala) who achieved recognition for his paintings depicting scenes from Indian literature and mythology including the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. He is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art and his paintings are considered to be among the best examples of the fusion of Indian traditions with the techniques of European academic art. Varma’s paintings portrayed sari-clad women in graceful manner which became an important motif of that time, reproductions being found in many homes.
Some of the Paintings by Raja Ravi Varma