Film: "Rebellious Flower"; Director: Krishan Hooda; Cast: Prince Shah, Shashank Shekhar, Kirti Adarkar, Bachan Pachehra, Mantra Mugdh, Samvedna Suwalka, Divya Jain and Nitin Sharma; Rating: ***
"Rebellious Flower" is a sincere biopic based on the life of the spiritual leader Osho Rajneesh.
Scripted by Jagdish Bharati, the narration traces the younger days of the Guru till he attains nirvana. It is his journey from a curious young lad, who is always inquisitive about understanding life and nature, to becoming the master - the enlightened one.
The narration transports you to a remote village in Madhya Pradesh, where young Raja lives with his maternal grandparents. Born with an insatiable appetite for knowledge and bestowed with the gift of clarity, he stops only when he is convinced with the right answers. Thus, he is always perceived as a troublesome boy who constantly ruffles feathers.
Krishan Hooda, in his maiden directorial venture, is sincere as he sticks to the bare aesthetics of his trade. He balances his subject with the artistry and finesse of a master craftsman, where he objectively showcases Raja, giving a humane perspective to Rajneesh, thus preventing it from being a mindless faith film.
His screenplay is episodic in nature. It alternates between everyday routine and bouts of spirituality, rather theatrically, thereby recreating the period circa 1940s.
He also uses the visuals of the ripe-golden wheat sheaf, as an ideal metaphor, to symbolise Raja's experiences; which like the grain of wheat when matured would to be crushed to feed the hungry souls.
Prince Shah, with his serene looks and a glint in his eyes when he innocently asks, "Ek baat poochu?" (Can I ask a question?), is charming as the young Osho and endears himself immediately to the audience. He lays a strong foundation for the narrative to unfurl.
Shashank Shekhar as the older Osho carries the baton forward with equal ease and aplomb. The anguish in his transition from a student to the haloed one is palpable.
The rest of the cast, which includes Kirti Adarkar and Bachan Pachehra as Raja's maternal grandparents and Nitin Sharma as Raja's father, are some of the prominent roles that are well-essayed.
The versatile and talented Mantra Mugdh, who essays the three roles of Raja's spiritual mentors; Paggal Baba, Magga Baba and Masto Baba, is free-spiritedly natural and slips into the characters effortlessly.
With a modest production budget, art director Varun Arora's efforts are praise-worthy.
Neeraj Tiwari's lens captures the rustic landscape as well as the intrigue and confusion in Raja's life with utmost honesty.
The music rendered by Amano Manish, based on folk and classical Indian scores, is soulful as well as rustic. The songs merge seamlessly in the narrative. They are well-picturised and help in bringing out the ethos of the film.
What could have become an uninteresting subject for many, has been sensitively handled and made into a watchable interesting film, true to its genre.
If entertainment is not all that you seek from cinema, watch "Rebellious Flower".