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Top10 Films

9

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Roja

Year of Release  : 1992

Language           : Tamil

Directed by         : Mani Ratnam

Cast                    : Arvind Swamy, Madhoo, Pankaj Kapoor, Nasser

Roja brought in a couple of things that would impact the entire Indian film industry. The first one was pure patriotism. The patriotism factor did get picturised in films before Roja, but not this pure, poignant and powerful. It was rediscovery of an Indian's greatest passions: the country itself. The second factor which Roja brought in was a phenomenon; a phenomenon named A. R. Rahman, who would change the Indian music scenario forever. I prefer his melodies over his fast numbers, but it was this fast numbers bug which bit the film music fraternity. An industry which was dominated by melodies got changed to have fast songs the predominant genre. Rahman was also responsible for introducing melodies with active backing of western music instruments, which also have become a major genre of film music. Roja is also responsible for projecting its director Mani Ratnam to national attention. As of Mani, all I can say is he never makes duds. Roja was one of the early films to discuss Kashmir militancy. The film has a simple storyline. Rishi (Arvind Swamy) is kidnapped by a militant group when he comes to Kashmir with his wife Roja (Madhoo) for assuming an engineer post in Indian army, and the outfit demands the release of their arrested leader. Roja being a girl from rural Tamilnadu, is highly devoted to her husband and the film mainly features Roja's attempts for freeing Rishi and Rishi's experience under captivity. The film is the first attempt in going to the world of terrorists; it ponders what they think and why they think so. Santhosh Sivan's camera work is remarkable and also Roja is one of the early films to harness the scope of steadicam in India. All this combined with brilliant performances from all the actors (I think the credit for this goes to the director as well), makes this film a milestone in Indian film history.

Best Scene         : I had co confusion whatsoever here. It is a good few years since I saw it the last time, but I still remember it vividly. Rishi sees a terrorist burning the national flag. Despite his cuffed hands and guns around him, he runs to the scene and jumps over the burning flag in order to stop it from burning. He goes on rolling over the burning flag suffering minor burns but major assault from the surprised militants. The leader of the group intervenes in time and prevents Rishi getting killed, for he is their precious hostage. Rahman's music sets the perfect mood for the scene. I am yet to watch a film scene which generated as much adrenaline rush as this one.

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