RANGEELA: Ram Gopal Varma’s A LOVE STORY ( 25 Years of Rangeela)

POSTER OF HINDI FILM RANGEELA

 

Munna: 10 ka 30…10 ka 30…

Passerby: 2 ticket dena…

Munna: Chal nikaal teen 30 k 2 note…arre 60 Rupye dena be…:

Passerby: Corner ka hai na…

Munna:  Ekdam corner ka hai; ek yeh corner ka hai ek woh corner ka.”

 

Monday Morning: Around 9 AM as the advance booking window opened , was glad to be amongst few people who had lined up in front; before I had a rude awakening by the ticket giver saying ”Subah subah kaam dhanda nahi hai tum log ko, kya dekhna hai yeh movie mein, Urmila ko”. Taken aback i asked out of keen anticipation, ‘’Paper mein likha tha ki DOLBY sound rahega yeh theatre mein, woh sach hai na.” He shrugged me off saying “Usse se kya hota hai”, and after collecting couple of tickets; was smiling all way back home as I had booked a date with Rangeela on 16 Sept at Mehul, Mulund(W).

My excitement of watching this movie goes back to the first poster which was published in SCREEN magazine, where there was an advertisement every Friday which unveiled details about a movie which I still believe changed the way movies are made in Hindi.

POSTER OF HINDI FILM RANGEELA
POSTER OF HINDI FILM RANGEELA

JHAMU SUGAND presents….

A Ram Gopal Varma Film….

Of A R Rahman’s first Musical for a Hindi feature film…..

These were displayed in a span of 3 weeks with last one being of Aamir Khan in a long shot when he walks away in dark at the end of Kya kare ya na kare.

Passerby: Ey picture ka ticket hai kya..

Munna: Nahi bus ka hai mangta hai…

Passerby: Kitne mein diya…

Munna: Arre sunta nahi 10 ka 30 bol raha hai…

Passerby: 15 mein dega kya…

Munna: Interval tak dekhne milega… chalega kya…”

The music date by TIME audio was decided and I was having butterflies & nervous excitement to catch hold of its audio cassette. Then before its audio launch something happened.

The first promo of Urmila running on a beach with Asha Bhonsle’s blissful voice and a catchy beat, had some real tough time in store for JAI GANESH music centre(Thane). Being a Rahmaniac was constantly enquiring about arrival of its music at their shop and once I got a hold of it; there was no stopping back of its music on my system. Morning, afternoon, evening & nights there was only thing which played at my home & in my mind Rangeela re, Hai rama, Yaaron sun lo zara, Mangta hai kya, Tanha Tanha, Pyaar yeh jaane kaisa hai, Kya kare ya na kare, theme.

Rangeela was one of the keenly anticipated films of those few months after its music release as a lot of careers were at stake especially Urmila Matondkar who was re-inventing & rejuvenating herself, RGV who never had a solid box office hit and was making his first mainstream entry into Hindi films & Aamir Khan who had given duds like Aatank Hi Aatank & Baazi prior to this. It helped as nobody had an iota of knowledge what this movie was all about apart from Aamir playing a tapori.

Munna: Ey Khajoor chal torch dikah…Kya chalu ho gaya kya picture…”

Friday Afternoon: Walking up steps and being comfortable at my seat along with a friend in balcony, there was a brief introduction of a newly placed sound system which at those years was subjected to Sterling, Regal, Eros & Metro primarily for Hollywood movies. Rangeela was a first to introduce it in Mumbai suburbs and this music which gave an idea of how well songs can be enjoyed on screen was a life changing experience with smoke effects & a laser display to match it up. It was one of the most brilliant introductions to DOLBY SR(Spectral Recording) and an entire cinema hall was unanimous in appreciation with thundering applause. Eros at Churchgate did the same and have come across many people who went to both cinema halls just for this priceless spectacle.

Movie watcher: Aye pair neeche lena…

Munna: Abe tu pair dekh raha hai ki picture…chal aage dekh…

Movie watcher: Arre apun bhi ticket khareedela hai…

Munna: Ticket khareeda toh theatre kya tere baap ka hua…”

 

The movie in brief was about a struggling dance artiste Mili(Urmila matondkar) who wants to make it big in movies as her vagabond black marketer friend with a heart of gold Munna(Aamir Khan) helps to achieve her dreams. And when movie star Rajkamal(Jackie Shroff) actually takes her under his wings and she lands up as a lead actress in his particular film, Munna is unable to express his feelings of love for her. Doubts and some situations make Munna feel that Mili is not made for her and maybe even she loves Rajkamal; who too has a secret crush on her.

Though not an earth shattering story to boast about, but here RGV shows his stamp of how he was on the finest talents in India at that time which he established with SATYA. The dialogues by Neeraj Vohra & Sanjay Chhel were outstandingly natural at those times and so straight to life unlike all melodrama that was dished out.

Munna: Interval tak gaaneich gaane hai..Ek do miss hua toh kya sirf Jee(ZEE) tv par dekh leneka..”

A Scene from RANGEELA
A Scene from RANGEELA

Cinematography which was a very important companion of RGV’s film in those days; was by WB Rao throwing brilliant colours on screen with imaginative choreography by Ahmed Khan in his debut after Saroj Khan(Tanha Tanha) was unable to devote time & got replaced.

The standout scenes comprises of Munna taking Mili out for a treat in a 5 star hotel with some real laugh out loud dialogues & Mili confessing her love for Munna to Rajkamal running away from the movie premiere; which was a complete seetimaar experience.

Rangeela has many more remarkable moments especially Munna & Mili’s friendly fights, , Munna’s inability to propose to Mili and his interaction with best friend Pakya(played brilliantly by late Rajesh Joshi). Achyut Poddar & Reema Lagoo as Mili’s parents also conveyed much warmth along with Avtaar Gill(Producer PC Chopra) & Gulshan Grover(Director Steven Kapoor) in one of their best roles ever with some inside digs on Hindi film industry. Jackie Shroff was very competent and underplayed his role to let both Aamir Khan & Urmila walk away with most appreciation.

Munna: Apun public hai public…kisiko bhi kuch bhi bol sakta hai…Jispe apna paisa vasool nahi, uska dabba gul…Chahe woh tera pyaara Rajkamal hi kyun na ho.”

The actual stars of Rangeela were undoubtedly A R Rahman who had a ball with a terrific soundtrack and background score which enhanced some scenes to great levels, Urmila Matondkar; who turned an overnight sensation the way she was presented and Aamir Khan in which I can proudly & boastfully say is his career best performance.

With a scar on his cheekbone, old rugged clothes, body language, stubble and such sincerity in his eyes the way he emotes; unfortunately of which is lacking in so many of his current blockbusters. Note him in a scene specifically where Urmila after coming from a preview screening finds him at stairs and as she expresses that her being a movie actress was solely because of Jackie; its Aamir with brilliance personified.

And last but not least how can we forget Ram Gopal Varma; the man behind this colourful cinema. There is a lot of misconception in general that Dil Chahta Hai was a changing face for Hindi cinema which I strongly disagree. Dolby recording, subtle one liners, relatable characters, first grade sound design(late H.Sridhar) and brilliant choreography; you had all in this and more including many careers launched. Its movies like these because of which we still have a lot of faith in RGV, searching his return to form.

As Shefali Shetty(Actress Gulbadan) says: Sitaphal Milkshake…Baraf Daalke

PC Chopra: 2 Sitaphal Milkshake….Baraf daalke…2

Production Guy: Season nahi hai November mein milega.

PC Chopra: Toh November jaakar lao….Jao….

We are still expecting RGV to come back and make movies which won’t have sepia tones, 360 degree camera movements and ear shattering background scores but wonderful colours of sound, visuals and can be seen in all seasons and mood; guiding us along this song Chal mere sang sang….Le le duniya k rang….Ho ja RANGEELA re….

46 Comments

      1. Ajay , I still remember those happy days of college where whole college groups of boys have bunk the college…

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  1. Excellent Post. Glad to see your first post on MAM. Though i don’t remember Rangeela as well as you. Since me & my family had met with an accident during that time hence could not see it in theater. The first Dolby/DTS experience for me was when i had watched Hindustani at Ganesh.
    But surely it is one of the best films ever made. A trendsetter in many ways. Excellent performance,dialogues and of course the music . Also one of the most technically polished films to ever grace the silver screen. Aamir Khan was destined to play Munna. Period. Others were also superb esp. Jaggu dada , Gulshan Grover & Rajesh Joshi. Gulshan grover’s dialogue “My competition is with Coppola, Spielberg ” was a howl. Another super scene was when he is discussing film making with a guy who has come to watch the shooting. Howlarious. We all are waiting for the day when RGV will get back to making a film minus those ugly & long close ups, 360 degree camera stunts etc etc.

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    1. Thanks for your appreciation, have to remember Rangeela from my side as its the only film which i saw for a record of 8 times at a movie hall…(6 in Mehul, 1 in Ganesh & finally last at Eros)

      Even i had seen Hindustani at Ganesh but the sound was never upto mark there and below standards of other halls in Mumbai.

      Yes even one more scene is when Gulshan Grover asks Avtar Gill ki Picture hit banana kiske haath mein hai and after pointing towards himself, Avtar Gill has to say that Sirjee Picture hit banana aapke haath mein hai, director k haath mein.

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  2. Good post my friend. Bole tho Ekdum jhakas likeley. “Milli…Bole tho life mein settle hona bahut zaroori hai”.
    I think Ramu should revisit his old movies for inspiration or read this post for sure to regain his lost magical touch.

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  3. The movie was running in Woodlands theater in Chennai and they had put up an ad in a newspaper days after the movie got released. It reads as follows “Audience is requested not to dance on the stage” in BOLD lines.

    I was 12 years old then and was unable to convince my parents to take me to the movie. But my school seniors used to say that there was no stopping the college guys from dancing. It was madness.

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    1. Well glad to know something like that was happening at theatres in Chennai…As it was ARR’s first hindi album…Had Dolby made an invasion at theatres for this film?

      In Mumbai there was deafening seetimaars when Urmila confesses her mutual love for Aamir to Jackie after running away after the movie premiere…And yes the songs were also greeted with generous applause…

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      1. Ajay- Dolby had just made its entry into Chennai when Rangeela came out- in fact I remember that the movie completed its silver jubilee in erstwhile Ambika/Ambalika in Coimbatore ( present Anandini/Harshini ) which initially did not have Dolby & then later on the movie ran for a few more weeks in Shanti which had the Dolby effect with posters/ad’s clearly mentioning ” now watch in Dolby etc”- it was a revolution all right- I remember having performed for ” Kya kare kya na kare” in college on stage 🙂

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    2. @Sethu: I am glad even Chennai theatres could feel the spectacle of this musical in its true sound….You performing on Kya kare kya na kare is a youtube moment…We need the video to be uploaded here….

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  4. the movie was brilliantly written by ramu. he won the filmfare for ‘best story’, and that was so deserving. wonder why things soured between aamir and rgv, but i do wish they both make a comeback together with something hard hitting …
    rangeela is a classic … watched it twice back2back on consecutive days in orient, calcutta. even purchased the audio cassette twice, before finally buying the cd. inf act, this happened to a lot of rahman albums. even dil se, i had to buy so many time 🙂

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    1. RGV after a week when Rangeela was declared a success; gave an interview in TOI mentioning how interfering Aamir Khan was and stated that even Govinda would have done a better job…It started the end of an association which seems permanent now…

      Yes Dil Se, Kaadhalan, Bombay are of the many cassettes that needed an upgradation to CD from tapes because of the mauling it recieved by a deck…

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  5. i don’t really remember the contents of the movie , but did hear people talking a lot about it after it was released……i did enjoy all the song sequences ..Now, after reading your excellent post i am tempted to watch the movie….keep it up Ajay!!

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    1. @Sudha: You surely need to give it a view and is one of the better & subtle/realistic romances to grace silver screen with a thundering musical score….

      It plays on FILMY freqently is what i believe, so keep a check or will intimate you in advance if i come to know…

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    1. @Jahanzeb: Your comment from our Rahman fan group means a lot to me and though it seems wishful thinking, would really love the ARR-RGV combo again..

      For the time being lets look forward to ROCKSTAR & enjoy its beauty….

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  6. Excellent post buddy!You have not only brilliantly captured the finer nuances of the movie but also the overall experience and magic of watching a movie,that was infact the highlight of this post.I very fondly recollect the long discussions we used to have on film making,sharing our views on a particular movie….. all these and more i could find reflecting in this post.I am still very hopeful of RGV regaining his foothold and adding to his list of masterpieces… SATYA,COMPANY,SARKAR,BHOOT,SARKAR RAJ,etc

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    1. @Ajay: Thanks buddy, your comment is so special especially as i learned the art of watching some real good Hollywood greats after a recommendation from you…i.e Seven, The Usual Suspects etc…

      And yes we were witness to RGV in his prime form by watching Company, Bhoot & Sarkaar together….

      Like

  7. wah ajay saab, you seem to make a debut with a bang, nice post on rangeela, i remember it was the first film i saw outside domba at mehul in mulund, it is one of few luv stories i like to watch

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  8. Rangeela rocked the nation ,was 1 of the best films produced by Bollywood,it started a new series of movies having the bambaiya hindi through it!!!!

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    1. @Snehal: You are bang on and even Munnabhai MBBS has its inspiration from Rangeela…Aamir Khan’s name is Munna along with the tapori language which was very much acknowledeged by Abbas Tyrewala; who was the writer of Munnabhai MBBS.

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  9. very well written ajju… i still remember rangeela where urmila emerged from a plain jane to ooomph n voluptous beauty… those days i had sony walkman n i used to listen rangeela songs on my way frm office sitting on the footboard of shahyadri exp… it ws a wonderful experrience for me…. especially the tanha tanha song… a break thru for me cos i ws wild n careless thn (evn nw, u knw better)….keep up it up man… proud dat u my friend

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    1. Thanks dear….Well nice to know your nostalgiac ways of listening to music sitting in the footboard is equivalent to people hearing it in their mobile phones nowadays…Now that is some inspiration that people must have taken from you….Yes Urmila transformed herself to become an overstar night and for this film alone she will be remembered forever…

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  10. Hey Ajay, thanks for your post. It was a refreshing one indeed 🙂 I fully agree with your thoughts that this movie was the turning point for Hindi cinema with all its content. Keep up the good work of writing about movies. You have said it all and there is nothing that I can add to it. God bless A.R.Rahman, and give some sense to RGV to truly entertain us as he did with Rangeela. Bye n pls continue writing 🙂

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    1. Thanks Pankaj….Munna to waiter in a food joint “Ey khajoor..Rokda hota toh apun 5 star mein jaake cutting nahi peeta tha kya..Chal chal tera account kal settle karega..Kisko diya hai jo tu reh gaya hai..”… LOL…Those early days….

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  11. Either these films i.e. Rangeela, Satya and Sarkar and made by Ram Gopal Verma or not made by him. This question stays unanswered even today. Nevertheless, Rangeela a true legendary film by a timeless performance by cast. Well covered Ajay.

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    1. Thank you so much Sir…..RGV is on an ego trip and his coming back to form will be as difficult as Zimbabwe winning a Cricket world cup…

      As far as i know when we had a filmy discussion, you had seen this one at Eros with Alifiya Ma’m during your courtship days….

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  12. hey nice article.. u know i became amir’s fan after this movie.. loved his taporigiri.. it was so perfect ..specialy when he wears yellow shirt pant n standin by taxi callin urmila.. n in fivestar hotel he orders some bhajiya wajiya lolss n loved urmila’s dance on beach in red dress .. rangeela was a fantastic movie n music was unforgatable.. thnx ajay tumne fir se ek bar meri soch ko rangeen kar diya.. hahha..

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  13. great article .very well written . dialouges added anathor dimension . in my opinion at that time rgv had a geniune approch towrds direction . his films were down to earth .all characters were so easy to relate. the scene when urmilla comes to aamir s room unannounced and starts reharsing her lines . “kya tum mujhse pyar karte ho ..i m shocked ” aamir’s expressions r priceless . above all this movie was made up of so many small and lovable moments that makes it timeless ….

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    1. Thanks moonstruck for your encouraging words….You are bang on with your observation….I really believe even Aamir has lost that sincerety and honesty which he conveyed through his eyes in a lot of scenes……He could never outdo this performance ever after that; though he had a lot of commercial blockbuster successes later…

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      1. abs right ..nowadays he looks like a version of himself . he tries so hard that his hardwork is visible .. the effortless actor is missing nowadays

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    1. Yes Sandesh, we were part of a repeat viewing as you wanted to see how is Dolby enhancing this movie at Mehul….We travelled to Dombivili a lot of times to watch Hollywood cinema as Pooja over there had DTS….

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  14. Nice! I always found Aamir too theatrical for my taste, even when his roles required a little subtlety from him. To me, his best performance will remain Raakh. He was raw and didn’t consider himself a star yet, I guess and that’s why I loved him in the movie. RDB comes a close second and then of course, Rangeela. In both movies, he plays loud characters…. and he plays them with aplomb.
    Rangeela was a lovely movie. Total paisa vasool! And what songs! That piece of music ‘before’ ‘Hai Raama’ is one of the best ARR has ever given.
    Urmila….. where the heck is she? I see her all the time in party photos. Why isn’t she appearing in any movie….. and please not opposite Himesh. She deserves a lot better! She was one of the finest actresses of her generation who could easily go from glamourous to simple, theatrical to real…. I really miss watching her act!
    RGV – Huh! Are you people still hoping? I kind of gave up after Sarkaar Raaj. To fit in his gimmicks of camera placement is now what he focuses on…. and he thinks the movies will work on his name and star power. And if you don’t like his movie, he always has reasons to blame you. Maybe you are less intelligent, maybe you can’t watch violence, maybe you’re a woman!

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    1. Yes Aamir Khan’s effort to perform is showing more often than not in movies nowadays…Missing his ease & naughty charm in Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahi, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander…etc…

      No comments and all comments will be less for ARR, he is huge to me…

      RGV’s take on your last sentence defines his state of mind now…;-)

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  15. Very Good Post Ajay…like you i am also a big fan of Rangeela and still have the original cassettes of the Album (seems to be working fine). Saw it first day in a small border town of Ferozepur (raja talkies). Yes missed the Dolby Experience :). Do you know if this is true that Aamir khan used to take bath only once in 15-20 days during the shoot so that he looks like tapori? Not sure about this but used to hear about it a lot that time

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