“Kuch loggo ke saath galat karo, toh wo puri duniya ko sahi kar dete hai. Aur phir taaqat aur rudbe se bhari Rangbaazi ek jarurat nahi, aadat bann jaati hai. Rangbaaz toh khatam ho sakta hai, par shareer mein khoon se bhi tez daudne wali Rangbaazi nahi!” Rangbaaz, in literal Hindi translation means the one whose personality has many colours. But if you dig deeper, it also stands for someone like aatank machanewala. Both of Siddharth Mishra‘s characters, Shiv Prakash Shukla from Rangbaaz and Amarpal Singh from Rangbaaz Phirse, mean the latter one. Mishra picked up the Best Writer award for the widely popular ZEE5 Original Rangbaaz along with an award for 377 Ab Normal for being the Best Digital Film On The Web, last year. Although Bollywood and the web has churned out umpteen number of crime thrillers, a certain flavour that Mishra mixes in his secret recipes of hard-hitting dramas is our current favourite.
Let’s sample Rangbaaz Phirse, since it also released only recently. The digital drama stars Jimmy Sheirgill, Sharad Kelkar, Gul Panag, Sushant Singh, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Spruha Joshi amongst others. In a departure from the regular Uttar Pradesh-Bihar backdrop shown in the films, Mishra ventures to the Nagaur district of Rajasthan to bring to life the tale of a notorious gangster Amarpal Singh. To tell you in brief, Amarpal Singh sarkar banwa bhi sakta hai aur gira bhi sakta hai. Now, Rajasthan is a state that enjoys a reputation for its royalty and opulence. It is hailed as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, and Rajasthani food and culture too, enjoy a special status.
However, the state of law and order in many parts of Rajasthan have gone from bad to worse. Besides a rich heritage and folklore, Rajasthan has been home to dacoits, criminal gangs and most-wanted personalities. So much so that some of them date back to pre-independence era, while others ruled the valleys for decades only to surrender recently. Pegging on this very fact of the matter, Siddharth Mishra recreates the magic of the Saqib Saleem-headlined web series with Jimmy Sheirgill behind the wheels this time. Retaining every essence of Rajasthani culture – be it the language, the food, the gang wars, the locales, the dialogues, everything is captivating and weaves together the overall experience into a phenomenal watch.
A striking feature of the screenplay and writing is that it is not preachy. Even though Rangbaaz Phirse is based on the hashtag #NotBornACriminal, given how Amarpal enters the murky underbelly of crime, Mishra keeps the grayness intact. There is no right or wrong here. It is all about perspective. Commenting on the hashtag, Mishra told us exclusively in an interview, “There are so many gangsters, India is full of gangsters, every country is full of gangsters. We actually picked stories of gangsters who were doing well in life but circumstances, systems, caste politics and many other reasons forced them to become dreaded gangsters. So Rangbaaz tries to show the human side of gangsters, without glorifying them without focusing on the crime and sex attached to gangsters usually.”
In a world full of violence, it is essential we take a step back and realize what is causing it. While we make no claims of whatever is shown in the series is the only side of the reality, there does have to be an understanding that such a scenario does exist. Not everyone is born a criminal. And not everyone needs to die one.
Catch up on the real-life story of gangster Shiv Prakash Shukla in Rangbaaz season 1 before the highly-anticipated season 2 drops in December this year.