RANGITARANGA: AN INCOMPLETE ENDING

It’s been more than five days since I watched the movie ‘Rangitaranga’ – a Kannada movie that has been the town’s talk among Indian cinema lovers.

I was one among the 80 adults who watched the screening in a small Kino in Zürich. True to its hype, I loved the movie as it had a link to my childhood – a distinct theme that forms the basis for the film, which is recurring (on my mind) from the 90’s teleserial in Kannada, Gudada Bhootha. The movie was refreshing in many ways, and my thoughts on the same.

SPOILER ALERT: I DISCUSS THE PLOT AND THE MOTIVES OF CERTAIN CHARACTERS…

‘Rangitaranga’ (Colourful wave) – a word that will soon find its way in the Kannada dictionary is a well-thought-out movie, and the title justifies in no small extent how different moods of a human being is identified with a specific set of colours.

Songs with matching music and lyrics penned entirely in Kannada/Tulu remain the movie’s best side-kick. The background music mixes well with the visuals, and we are in a maze right from the moment the film begins.

To get a psychological-mystery (thriller) right requires a master screenplay and attention to details as various thought processes connect the characters with the story to take it forward.

If ‘why’ isn’t part of your thought process while watching the movie, then you have missed something!

When taken in isolation, every character has an element of ‘mystery’ barring the antagonist until the movie’s dying minutes.

The movie’s ending was abrupt, and it left me with more questions than answers to those mystic puzzles found in the film. The antagonist’s revealing came in as a surprise element (kudos to that!), and credit to the writers to have treaded a unique path leading up to the climax!

Unlike most movies, I rate movies positively if it can make me think and have some vigorous discussions. One such unsettling feeling I have from the film is how they revealed the antagonist and his role in the movie. Despite very well-penned sequences –  the shades and the background for the antagonist’s antics lacked sophistication.

Instead, I believe it was hurried upon to close the gaps the story had created thus far.

Was it a case of wearing a ‘mask’ all along or a medical case of ‘bipolarity’?

I am partial to this school of thought influenced by Jim Morrison’s quote – “The most important kind of freedom is to be what you are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask.”

In the director’s defense – a movie isn’t a great platform to explain things, unlike a ‘book’ or a mini-series.

In a gripping movie, the ‘climax’ must never be overlooked. Instead of two back-to-back songs that come after intermission, there could have been elements added in the film that provided depth to the antagonist’s negative tendencies.

In hindsight, a great opportunity would have been when the Yakshagana scene was shot, which the hero Gautam attended. The antagonist could have been shown with traits that point subtly to his dark side – a slight hint to his characteristics of being the ‘Uttama Villain.’

Instead, it can be seen; many deliberate attempts were made to conceal the ‘truth’ and plot frequently misguided our thoughts. While Gautam was engrossed in the show, our mask man was busy plotting something else.

Whether it was a ‘mask’ or ‘bipolarity’ – the antagonist’s antics are pleasing during the daytime as he comes across as poetic, cheerful, and even supportive on various issues.

Was he wearing a mask to go by the day until the dusk beckons to unleash his ‘dark side’? This is despite not recollecting ‘the hero’ whom he knew pretty well.

Or did he give in to his dark side and let his mind loose on hunting down pregnant women – and re-live his first killing each year? As stated, there is a pattern in the movie, July 7th each year, and the eleventh day after that, when he unleashes his darkest weapon – his anger and satiates himself by killing the kidnapped pregnant woman. That’s all for the year!

What happens to this dark side of his for the rest of the year? Does he wander (as shown in the movie, he does) when he has a bout of depression, and the maniac in him takes over? or is it a case of hunting down his prey days leading up to July 7th? The more I think about it, I am convinced it was a ‘mask’ all along, and the antagonist knew very well what ticked him towards his beastly side!

There are many questions about the antagonist, which made the movie incomplete and made me believe, there is a scope for a documentary revealing the quirks of this accused ‘Gudada Bhootha’! Would the movie makers be interested in showing the actual character?

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