It has been 10 years since the release of Rang De Basanti . The movie that made the youth of India sit up and take notice, the movie that made you believe that you could actually make a difference, the movie that shook the dust off ‘deshbhakti ka jazba’ and made it as relevant as ever!
The film went to on win most of the awards not just in India but also at film festivals across the globe. It was extremely well received by the audience and the critics and since then the film has been regularly telecasted across television channels on patriotic occasions. To celebrate the completion of 10 years of this masterpiece, the cast and crew flew in from different locations from outside India. Aamir Khan, who was busy shooting for his upcoming film Dangal, was also back to join in for the screening of the film at a Juhu theatre. The celebration was then shifted to Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s residence. The reunion was eventful while all smiled proudly for the cameras.
But, the task of bringing RDB to screen was easier said than done. Here are some facts behind the journey of bringing the phenomenon of Rang De Basanti to our screens:
1) The film had to face quite a few hurdles at the censor board before it got clearance. Sharmila Tagore, who was the censor board chief at the time, did not give the film a go-ahead, since it shows the murder of the defence minister. However, when Aamir stuck to his point, a special screening was arranged for our then Defence Minister, Pranab Mukherji. Since he did not object to the film, Rang De Basanti made its way to the big screens.
2) Sharman Joshi was selected for the role of Sukhi in just one audition. But Siddharth was not the first choice to play the role of Karan Singhania. Hrithik Roshan and Arjun Rampal were the first choices, but their rejection opened the gates for Siddharth. As for R. Madhavan’s role, Shahrukh Khan was the first choice but after he rejected it, the south star was called to fill in.
3) According to Siddharth, he became popular for two things after RDB – one for being the man who killed his own dad (Anupam Kher) and two for being the chain-smoker. He feels he has influenced a lot of youngsters to smoke. In fact, during one of his visits to IIT, the students requested his to smoke in the style he did in the movie.
4) Atul Kulkarni, on the completion of 10 years of Rang De Basanti, stated that if the audience still appreciates and remembers the film after 10 years of its release, then the film belongs to the public and not to the artists.
5) Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra got his idea for Rang De Basanti while shooting his documentary in Gujarat.
6) Originally the title of the film was supposed to be ‘Aahuti’. It was changed to ‘Young Guns of India’. However, both were not retained because most of the people working on the film felt those names were not impactful. Finally, the film was named ‘Rang De Basanti’. The meaning of the title is ‘Color it Saffron’ and since the yellow colour in India stands for sacrifice, the title indicates the person’s readiness to be sacrificed for the country.
7) Writer Kamlesh Pandey said that due to the title people used to question him as to who would be playing the role of Basanti and whether this movie was a Sholay remake. To this, he smartly responded that it was a remake of Sholay from the viewpoint of Basanti.
8) Aamir Khan, who was skeptical to play the role of the 25-year-old DJ, agreed immediately after hearing the script. The movie took 14-15 months to go on floor and in the meantime, Aamir kept Fanaah on hold . He even lost 10 kgs and received training to perfect the dialect and to look convincing in the role of a young college student.
9) During promotions, 2000 posters of RDB were returned. Today, the same posters represent a trend.
10) Daler Mehandi, the ‘Tunak tunak tun’ singer who is known for his powerful and energetic voice, also sang RDB’s legendary title track . But little do we know that he managed to sing the whole track in just one take.
Wow! Too much to take in. But we are glad that all worked out and Rang De Basanti became a part of our cultural legacy.