Movie Name: Rangreza
Release Date: December 21, 2017
Director: Amir Mohiuddin
Review by: Momin Ali Munshi
As I was walking out of the cinema hall after having seen Rangreza, all I could think to myself was: it was not such a disastrous film after all. Obviously, not the most amazing film I have seen, but not the absolute worst either, and I say that because the review titles I had come across before seeing the film were rather negative with ‘zero out of five stars’ being one such title that particularly stuck with me. Generally, I read reviews only after I have seen the film myself and penned my review, but having seen the film and not completely hating it as such, I had to read a few reviews.
It was after reading the above-mentioned reviews, I realized that the film I had seen and the film that had been reviewed were not the same. The film I had seen was about two hours in length and apparently was an edited version of the original film which had a run time of about two hours thirty minutes. So in a way, this review is probably the only review of Rangreza version 2.0, the updated version of the film which probably would have been better received by the critics and translated into better sales at the box office had it come out earlier. But then why label it as a ‘meh’ film?
I remember when I reviewed Ho Mann Jahaan two years back, I categorized it as a filler film. A film that is not great but not bad either, synonymous to that student in a class who does just well enough to pass the exam with decent marks. Similarly, I would say Rangreza is also a filler film. Although in hindsight, I realize that Ho Mann Jahaan was way better, and unfortunately for the film, the films that were coming out back then had raised the bar and Ho Mann Jahaan was judged accordingly. Whereas films that have come out this year, well the less said the better. So yeah Rangreza is just another filler film.
So what is the film about? Reshmi (Urwa Hocane) comes from a conservative, middle-class qawwal family and has been betrothed to cousin Waseem (Gohar Rasheed). Waseem is a no good trouble-maker who lives together with Reshmi in their ancestral home. Rockstar Ali Zain (Bilal Ashraf) is the son of a politician and falls for Reshmi after seeing her backstage at one of his concerts and thus begins the love triangle that is Rangreza.
Rangreza was promoted as a musical, and given how the main characters had a musical connection it was assumed that music would be a major part of the story and would thrust the film forward. However other than few fleeting references here and there the music element actually takes a backseat. In comparison, Ho Mann Jahaan was actually more of a musical given its brilliant soundtrack and generally how well the music element had been interwoven with the story. But unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in Rangreza.
Ali Zain is a rock star who does open the film with a concert but other than that, he is almost always the lovesick hero brooding over Reshmi and we hardly get to see any other side to his character. Similarly, Reshmi comes from a qawwal family who very well could have been qasais (butchers) because other than the introduction sequence where we are introduced to them in excruciating detail, we hardly get to see the qawwal side to them. Basically, the writer in his head had created these characters and thought if they were referred to as a rock star or qawwal enough times the people would believe that to be fact.
Rangreza had a cliched premise, but the musical angle was an interesting spin and had it been well etched, the film could have been something else altogether because I strongly feel that films with a localized flavor are connecting with the viewers. Moreover, the film could have done so much more for the mirasi community and art in general, because given the stark difference between the two families in the film, a heated confrontation seemed to be imminent which would probably go down as one of the strongest scenes had it actually happened. The film briefly touched upon the issue but somehow the focus shifted towards elitism and politics, which was an opportunity wasted.
On the acting front, Gohar steals the show with his theatrical act which does come across as a bit over the top and annoying at times, but nonetheless proves how Gohar can get into the skin of any character and is a force to be reckoned with. But I do feel the director should have toned it down a little bit considering how it came off as a bit too eccentric. On the opposite end, Urwa Hocane just plays herself as she has probably done with most of her films. That is not to say she is bad, it is just that she could have done better and made the character her own but she probably is a directors actor and did what was asked of her.
Bilal Ashraf is the weakest link amongst the three as he is stiff and his expressions limited. However, if you compare it to his past works, Janaan and Yalghaar, there is a visible improvement and he is far more comfortable in his skin. Also, he is probably one of the very few actors who have the hero like presence and look good on the screen, so that works in his favor, but he needs to perfect his craft. As for the supporting actors, Ghana Ali leaves an impact with her short yet meaningful role. Given the right roles, this one is a star in the making. Tanveer Jamal and Saba Faisal as the parents of Urwa Hocane are too good, whereas Imran Peerzada and Seemi Pasha as Bilal’s parents come across as plastic.
While the script may have failed the film with the one-dimensional characters and the half-baked romantic track between the two leads, the visual side is rather strong.The beautifully shot scenes complemented by the stirring background score sort of make up for the loopholes especially as the film ends on a high note. Some of the scenes are just breathtakingly gorgeous and while the music element may not have been as strong as expected the songs are all memorable.
Verdict: Great music, beautiful visuals, but a weak storyline with half-baked performances await you.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars