Ketan Mehta's historical saga Rang Rasiya will finally hit theatres this May after a delay of over three years.
The film is based on the life of the 19th century Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma. The film is directed and co-produced by Ketan Mehta, and stars Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen in lead roles.
Ready since 2008, the film could not release due to various reasons including dispute between Mehta and the distributors. Also, the Censor Board had once objected to a topless scenes of Nandana Sen, who plays muse to 19th century painter, played by Randeep.
Initially, the film was supposed to release in 2008, later in February and November last year but now, it is releasing in May this year.
"Finally the film is releasing end of May. There were never any issues on the censor front, there were basically legal issues. There was some partnership and financial institutions that were involved and the issues needed to be sorted out,"
"It is an expensive film, historical epic with costumes and no big star cast...it has taken its time in getting a release and every film has its time. Also we have made it in English and Hindi," he said.
Rang Rasiya raised many eyebrows due to the skin show by Nandana. The director was criticised for presenting Nandana in the form of Indian goddesses.
Mehta says his film is about creative freedom. "It is not all about sensuality, the theme of the film is creative peace and freedom of expression. It is a relevant film today, despite the fact that it is set 100 years ago. It is a very contemporary film".
"Every film has its own destiny. I have made the film at that point of time when I felt there was climate of intolerance in India like M F Hussain was hounded out of the country, rogue elements beating up girls in Mysore... The film is in a sense response to the climate of intolerance," he said.
Rang Rasiya has travelled to festivals across the world including Cannes, London, New York and Chicago. It was also voted as the Best Film this summer in the London Film Festival.
"It went to London, New York, Sri Lanka, Kolkata and other film festivals and has been appreciated wherever it travelled," Mehta said. Now the filmmaker is gearing up for his next film, titled Noor.
"My next film is an international co-production one. It is an Indo-British-French co-production...it is called Noor. It is again a period film set up during the Second World War. The script is ready and the basic production tie-up is being worked out. There is no star cast in mind yet," he said.