Rang Rasiya is an Indian drama film based on the life of the 19th-century Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma. The film is directed Ketan Mehta, produced by Deepa Sahi and Aanand Mahendroo. It stars Randeep Hooda, Nandana Sen and a newcomer Triptha Parashar in the lead roles.
After his last commercial cinema Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005), Mehta chose to make a film on the 19th-century painter, Raja Ravi Varma's life. Incidentally both these movies were based on a subject from the 19th century. His new film is an adaptation of a Marathi writer Ranjit Desai's biographical novel Raja Ravi Varma. This bilingual in English and Hindi is titled as Colour of Passion and Rang Rasiya respectively. Mehta thought that Varma was the most fascinating artist of that era and his character, persona and paintings fascinated him from his days at Film and Television Institute of India. After reading Desai's novel, he formulated the story of his new film.
Raja Ravi Varma
When Mehta first met Nandana Sen at her house, he saw two life-size reproductions of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings. This assured him that she was familiar with the artist and his works, and made his job as a director easier. Speaking of the character she was to portray, he said:
"To me, she was the perfect woman to play the muse of an artist who sparked off debates about censorship of art. She has that child-woman quality, which was so much a part of Sugandha's personality."
Speaking about her character, Sen said that "Varma saw in her (Sugandha) the face and soul of a goddess. (For him) she is passionate, possessive and hungry for love." To portray this character, Sen was required to dress and look like a young Maharashtrian woman with long hair, light eyes, waist chain and a nose ring. In addition, she also gained five kilos for the character since she had to look voluptuous. She was helped with her familiarily with the physical patterns in Varma's paintings of women, such as, "the way they tilt their hip, the way they play with their hands. Though the film has a few scenes in which she had to expose, she chose to do it because she thought that the sensitive scene formed the story's basis. Although it was not an easy decision to take, she felt absolutely comfortable while performing the scene. One such scene is a wide angle shot that shows a bare breast of a skimpily clad Sen. Though this scene was aesthetically shot, the Central Board of Film Certification, which regulates the ratings and certification of media in India, objected to it and ordered for a review based on consensus.
Mehta saw Hooda's previous films Risk and D, and he thought that he was a skillful actor. In this film, he played the role of Raja Ravi Varma in two phases — first as a 60-year-old and then as a 20-year-old in a span of 10 days. As a preparation for his role, Hooda tried to learn the basics of painting. He was happy working in the film and said that his acting skills were well-groomed by Mehta's abilities.
Besides Hooda, since Mehta wanted to work with new faces, he introduced a Scottish actress and another from India. Paresh Rawal was also set to play an important role. Triptha Parashar, whom Mehta spotted in an advertisement, was immediately offered the role of a princess without auditioning. Ferena Wazier, who was born to Kashmiri parents in Britain, plays a Parsi girl in the film.
Sangita Kathiwada is the creative consultant and Niharika Khan, the award winning designer is the costume designer.
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