After initial controversy when completed, the movie ‘Rang Rasiya’ again landed in bigger controversies with raging debates and discussions after Raja Ravi Varma’s granddaughter slapped a legal notice to the director of the film, Ketan Mehta, against the release of film.
The film is based on a novel titled “Raja Ravi Varma” by Ranjit Desai. The Travancore royal icon, Raja Ravi Varma, was a renowned painter from the princely state of Kilimanoor. Being referred as the Father of Indian Modern Art, Ravi Varma was the first to introduce the beauty of Indian goddesses before people in the form of humans through his paintings.
However, the granddaughter of Raja Ravi Varma, Indira Devi Kunjamma, has reportedly stated that the film has portrayed the legendary Raja Ravi Varma in wrong light and has termed his image in the film as ‘erotic’ and as a ‘playboy’. In the legal notice sent to the director and producers, Kunjamma has asked them to withdraw the release of the movie forthwith. She has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the fim’s screening.
Amid the controversies, Director Ketan Mehta said, “Rang Rasiya tells the story of a great artist. This film pays homage to Art and Artists and does not intend to malign the image of any person living or dead.” However, there has been a special disclaimer added in the beginning of the movie, which says, “This film is a dramatized version of the novel Raja Ravi Varma by Ranjit Desai. It is not anybody’s true life story. All characters shown in this film are fictional and do not have any resemblance to anyone dead or alive.”
However, Mehta tries to bring in many issues such as artistic freedom, art and consumerism, art and religion in the movie. According to reports, the film also explores the struggles of Ravi Varma while he faces the wrath of Indian people for offending their religious faith.
Mehta depicts the different phases of life which the artiste passes through, especially focusing on his passionate love with the woman, who is the inspiration for his paintings of Goddesses. The movie is starred by Randeep Hooda and Nandana Das in the roles of Raja Ravi Varma and Sugandha, a devadasi respectively.