Both strikingly beautiful and audacious, Ketan Mehta’s film charts the life of the great Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma (played by Randeep Hooda), from his early days under the patronage of a King of Kerala, moving on to British Bombay in the late 1800s, where he makes his fortune.
Here the genius gives birth to Indian modern art and helps inspire the independence movement and the dawning of Indian cinema with his depictions, which bring to life the Hindu gods and goddesses. He must first find his muse who comes in the lavish form of Sugandha (Nandana Sen). Varma’s fascination for his model turns into a torrid, paint-smeared, love affair, which is reflected in his art. The religious power brokers see his increasingly eroticized work as dangerous and Varma is dragged to the British courts to be tried for blasphemy.
Mehta’s homage offers not only a spectacular insight into a turning point in Indian history, but also questions the freedom of the artist in contemporary society. –LIFF
Ketan Mehta (born 1952) is an Indian film director, who has also directed documentaries and television serials.
Early life and education
Born in Navsari in Gujarat, Ketan Mehta did his schooling from Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Delhi and later graduated in film direction from Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.
During his career he has made 10 feature films, seven documentaries and 2 television serials- Captain Vyom & Mr. Yogi (TV series) to his credit. His repertoire of themes include comedy, satire, romance, violence and rebellion.
Ketan Mehta’s very first film Bhavni Bhavai,a Gujarati film, won him acclaim. His movies have been selected for various international film festivals such as Nantes (France) and the Moscow Film Festival, where his movies have won numerous awards over the years. Mirch Masala was one of Ketan Mehta’s notable efforts which won him the Best Film Award at Hawaii. It was released to 52 cinemas in the United States… read more