Dwivedi (Raj Varma), Vipin Sharma (Paachan), Paresh Rawal (Govardhan Das), Jim
Boeven (Fritz), Feryna Wazheir (Frenny), Darshan Jariwala, Suhasini Mulay,
Sachin Khedekar, Tom Alter, Tripta Parashar, Vikram Gokhale, Rashaana Shah
by Ranjith Desai, a celebrated Marathi writer. It becomes very challenging for
me to review such movies, where real stories are told, or some sort of biopic
is made. This movie also may not be devoid of shortcomings, but such movies celebrate
the life of someone, and one gets to focus only on the story. It took more than
five years to see the release of this movie in India. In Kerala, the release is
is an art-centric biopic, drama based on the colourful life of Raja Ravi Varma
(19th Century), one of the greatest Indian painter of all time. The
story lets us know, how he re-discovered our ancient culture for us.
begins with the auction of Raja Ravi Varma’s painting and then the story moves
further in flash back. Ravi Varma showed his artistic capability right from his
childhood days. Later, when he grows up (Randeep Hooda), he gets married to a
princess and moves to her palace (as part of marumakkathayam system). Being an
eccentric painter, he was inspired by the beauty around, even a maid in the
palace became his inspiration. He was not born in a Royale family but the ‘Raja’
status was conferred to him by Travancore king who was very pleased with his
artworks. He gets to stay in the royal palace and enjoys the colours of life with
the girls, but soon is thrown out of the palace on the death of the King by the successor to the throne.
Varma moves to Bombay and later on gets a big project from the Maharaja of
Baroda Palace. He gets to travel all across the country and then he gets his
idea of telling Ramayana, Mahabharata, rather the culture of India through his
artwork. His muse was Sugandha (Nanadana Sen). Gods and Goddesses got face
through his painting. He joined hands with the German printer Fritz Schleizer
(Jim Boeven) and an Indian businessman Govardhan Das (Paresh Raval) to set up a
lithographic printing press in Bombay to reproduce his paintings. His paintings took the icons of Hindu
mythology out of the temples and royal palaces and made available to the so-called
untouchables, common man. He was getting famous and respected by many people all
across the country and on the other side he became the eye of the storm for
many religious fundamentalists. Raja Ravi Varma had transformed by then into a
highly talented and rebellious artist. He was dragged to the court for hurting
the religious sentiments of people, trying to destroy the culture of our
country. Story unfolds as part of court hearings.
questions that why artists are not given creative freedom. Issues viz.
religious prejudices, deeply ingrained caste and class divides are also covered.
also mentions about Raja Ravi Varma’s illustrious protégé, Dhundiraj Govind
Phalke who later became the Father of Indian Cinema (Dada Saheb Phalke).
relationship between the artist and his muse is explored so beautifully and
shot so aesthetically. It is amazing to see the artist drawing his inspiration
from the beauty around and making it alive through the canvas. Also, it is
beautifully depicted, how the muse surrenders herself completely to the man
(artist) she falls in love with and even dares to bare herself so that the
artist could paint the stories he most cherished and wanted to express. The
scene where both the lead protagonists Ravi Varma and Sugandha lay painted in
colours of passion is also very well shot.
movie has its own dragging moments, the story unfolds through great cast and
their performances beautifully. Randeep and Nandana suit their respective
characters so well.
art, passion, love. Watch it for one of the most amazing artist our country has
seen – Raja Ravi Varma.