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Rang Rasiya (transl. Colours of passion) is an Indian erotic drama film based on the life of the 19th-century Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma.[1] Made as a bilingual, the film is titled Rang Rasiya in its Hindi version and Colours of Passion in English. The film, directed by Ketan Mehta, is produced by his wife Deepa Sahi and by Aanand Mahendroo. It stars Randeep Hooda as the title character and Nandana Sen as his love interest.

Rang Rasiya
Rang Rasiya Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKetan Mehta
Produced byDeepa Sahi
Aanand Mahendroo
Ketan Mehta
Written bySanjeev Dutta (screenplay)
Ketan Mehta
Based onThe life of Raja Ravi Varma
StarringRandeep Hooda
Nandana Sen
Feryna Wazheir
Triptha Parashar
Gaurav Dwivedi
Music bySandesh Shandilya
CinematographyRail Raltchev
Christo Bakalov
Release date
  • November 2008 (2008-11) (London Film Festival)
  • 7 November 2014 (2014-11-07) (India)


Script and fictionalizationEdit

Mehta thought that Varma was the most fascinating artist of that era and his character, persona and paintings. He was fascinated with Ravi Varma right from his days at Film and Television Institute of India. After reading Desai's novel, Mehta felt inspired to make a film based on the life and times of Ravi Varma, and set about formulating the story of his new film.[2] He moulded and recast the script to project Ravi Varma as a radical painter, a strident advocate of the artistic license to depict nudity, and as a victim of conservative society. He felt that this positioning would help the film achieve more traction with the intelligentsia, and ease the path to awards and honours.[according to whom?] Given that many of Ravi Varma's paintings are actually used as icons of worship in conservative Hindu homes, this positioning represents a major stretch of the imagination, a major effort at fictionalization. In fact, Ravi Varma was himself of conservative outlook whose paintings indicate that he had a strong preference for decently clad, soft-featured, ladylike gentlewomen and a distaste for brazen hussies. Very few of his works venture into the realms of semi-nudity, and these few forays seem to have been calculated, highly reluctant efforts on his part to appeal to a progressivist western audience. Even at that time, art appreciation in the west was in the grip of a progressivist mafia who cherished radicalism and disdained traditional norms. In the present era, Ketan Mehta dealt with a similar environment in India, and this informed the choices he made while developing the script of this film. Also, a simple, lineal depiction of Ravi Varma's life and career would have given the film the look and feel of a documentary, which is what had happened with his previous film, Sardar. Movies require a narrative, as also a certain amount of drama and sensuality, and the script was developed to meet these needs. Mehta came across a relatively minor (and frivolous) court case which had been brought against Ravi Varma for allegedly depicting a Hindu deity irreverent in one of his paintings, and used this to develop a suitable script.


After his last commercial production 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. Rang Rasiya is an adaptation of the biographical novel Raja Ravi Varma authored by the Marathi writer Ranjit Desai.

Cast and crewEdit

When Mehta first met Nandana Sen at her house, he saw two life-size reproductions of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings. This indicated to him that she was familiar with the artist and his works, something that he thought would make 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."[3]

The much desired controversy regarding "censorship of art" was quickly forthcoming, and Nandana was the willing lynchpin of that achievement. Among several scenes in the film that depict her in various grades of undress, one wide angle shot shows the bare breasts of a skimpily clad Nandana. The Central Board of Film Certification, which regulates the ratings and certification of media in India, duly objected to the scene, terming it nudity.[4][5]

Mehta saw Hooda's previous films Risk and D.[2] 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.[6] 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.[7]

Paresh Rawal plays an important role in the film.[2] Triptha Parashar, whom Mehta spotted in an advertisement, was immediately offered the role of a princess without auditioning.[8] Feryna Wazheir, who was born and raised in the UK to Kashmiri parents, plays a Parsi girl in the film.[9]

Sangita Kathiwada is the creative consultant and Niharika Khan, the award-winning designer is the costume designer.[10]



The soundtrack of Rang Rasiya is composed by Sandesh Shandilya and lyrics are written by Manoj Muntashir

Track listingEdit

1."Rang Rasiya (title)"Sunidhi Chauhan, Keerthi Sagathia4:01
2."Kahe Sataye"Roop Kumar Rathod, Sunidhi Chauhan3:57
3."O Kamini"Sonu Nigam,3:39
4."Anhad Naad"Kailash Kher, Anwar Khan4:38
5."Sun Balam"Rajashwari Pathak3:56
6."Rang Rasiya (Re-mix )" 5:15
Total length:24:06


The film was screened at 2008 The Times BFI London Film Festival.[11]

Rang Rasiya had been languishing in post-production from the year 2008 due to the Censor Board's objection with certain bold scenes that involved paint and nudity. It has been given a release date of 7 November 2014.[12]

Critical receptionEdit

Subhash K. Jha said Rang Rasiya is the best film of the year and gave it 5 stars.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Ketan Mehta's Rang Rasiya at BFI London Film Fest". 22 August 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "No scope for controversy in 'Rang Rasiya': Ketan Mehta". 27 November 2007. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  3. ^ "Meet the seductive Nandana Sen". Man's World. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  4. ^ ApunKaChoice. "Rang Rasiya Censor Board Objects to Frontal Nudity". Retrieved 13 September 2008.
  5. ^ "Nandana Sen asks for NOC on Rang Rasiya promotions". Patrika Group (2 August 2014). Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  6. ^ K. Jha, Subhash (22 September 2007). "Randeep back in the gym to get in shape". Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  7. ^ Nagarajan, Saraswathy (29 September 2007). "Portrait of an artist". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  8. ^ Sahgal, Geety (15 August 2008). "Good going". Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  9. ^ Ghosh, Aparajitha (16 September 2007). "Bollywood newbie Feryna Wazheir is an angelic beauty! Hollywood Actor Jim Boeven was cast as Ravi Varmas friend Fritz Schleizer". Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  10. ^ De Cunha, Uma (25 July 2008). "Connecting film with other art forms". Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  11. ^ "Ketan Mehta's Rang Rasiya to screen at London Film Fest". 12 August 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  12. ^ "Rang Rasiya to release on November 7, 2014". 22 September 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  13. ^ "'Rang Rasiya' - thank god For Raja Ravi Varma". Ians Live. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014.

External linksEdit