Tuesday 18 October 2011

Roja [1992]

A pet theme of some of Mani Ratnam’s films has been “love at the times of war” – an emotional human drama unfolding at the backdrop of a socio-political upheaval. This journey began with his much-loved Roja. This was also the movie that ensured that thenceforth his fame was no more restricted just among Tamil cine-goers. It told the story of Roja (Madhoo), a young woman belonging to a small village in Tamil Nadu, who gets married, against her wishes, to an educated city-dwelling guy called Rishi (Arvind Swamy), only to be falling for him after their marriage. Soon after, he is sent to Kashmir, a hotebed for Islamic terrorism, accompanied by his increasingly doting wife, only for misfortune to befall them when he gets kidnapped; the terrorist outfit (the leader of which was played by Pankaj Kapoor) demand the release of a notorious ‘jihadi’ in lieu of the engineer. The film was filled with simplistic political ideologues, along with large contents of melodrama and populist jingoism. However, these facets got successfully masked thanks to the simplicity of the touching love story, the strong emotional connect that it managed to establish with me, the soulful and mellifluous music by A.R. Rehman, and fine acting by the leads – Madhoo provided an especially powerhouse performance as the simple-natured and helpless wife trapped in a place utterly alien to her, especially linguistically.

Director: Mani Ratnam
Genre: Drama/Romantic Drama/Political Drama/Musical
Language: Tamil
Country: India

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