Ketan Mehta's bilingual Rang Rasiya is courting controversy for the number of sensuous scenes it has, but lead actor Randeep Hooda says it is worth watching despite the passionate portrayals.
"There are no such hot scenes in the film that cannot be watched. It has some kissing scenes and a few semi-nude scenes, but it has been cleared by the censor board. The film is still watchable," Randeep said.
"It's an epic movie of grand proportions with emotions, softness and everything. It's a must-watch and I am sure people will take it back home with them," he added.
Based on Marathi author Ranjit Desai's novel, Rang Rasiya is the love story of 19th century painter Raja Ravi Varma and his ethereal muse Sugandha, played by Nandana Sen.
Randeep plays the visionary painter, who was also a great admirer of the female form and hence the string of sensuous scenes between him and Nandana in the movie.
Releasing Jan 30, the biopic is titled Colours of Passion in English. Both versions have been produced by Anand Mahendroo along with Mehta's actress wife Deepa Sahi.
Randeep, who was seen in films like D and Ru-Ba-Ru, says the film is more about a man's ordeal to survive and flourish in life than about the painter.
"Rang Rasiya is not a movie on art or about an artist in particular. It is an inspirational film and a man's story about overcoming all the hurdles in life. It is about his struggles to take his business all over the world and in the midst of it is his love story with one of his muses," he said.
Bringing Ravi Varma to life on the big screen was not an easy task.
"Ketan (Mehta) had to do ample research on the artist. Even I read a lot of stuff on Raja Ravi Varma. Since he died in 1906, not much was available so far as his physical appearance was concerned.
"All we had were some black and white pictures of him. His character in the film is mostly based on imagination and I've put in a lot of effort for the same," the actor said.
Randeep also took painting lessons to fit into the character.
"I took painting lessons for a few days and learnt all the (brush) strokes ranging from the lighter to deeper strokes and even sketching with charcoal. But then I realised I can't be as good as him even if I paint for the next 20 years."
The actor revealed that while shooting the film, they "had a painter on the sets all the time" and that "all the colours on the sets were done with consultation".
An otherwise chiselled and toned Randeep also had to "put on 20 kilos to portray an older Varma" in the film.
The film has already travelled to different festivals across the globe and has been widely appreciated for its thematic appeal. It was screened at the 52nd London Film Festival, Cannes, Venice and the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council (MIAAC) Film Festival in New York.
"Audiences abroad were enthralled by the colours and emotions of the theme and their reaction was splendid. We even received a standing ovation at the London Film Festival," said Randeep, who is recovering from a recent ankle injury.
His other forthcoming projects include Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye, Love Khichdi and Khusarprasad Ka Bhoot.