No spoilers - read on.
Rang De Basanti, contrary to public opinion, is not the quintessential Aamir Khan movie. It stars a whole plethora of stars - from Siddharth (of Shankar's 'Boys' fame) to Atul Kulakarni. However, Aamir does succeed in stamping his authority over the movie - chiefly through two powerful scenes where he displays a gamut of emotions including introspection, ruefulness, grief, contemplation and much more. However, to his credit he hardly ever attempts to 'steal' a scene from his young companions in the movie. Though his role was a tad similar to that of Akash of DCH, Aamir succeeded in imparting shades of insecurity to the character of DJ that went a long way in ensuring that DJ was not merely a Punjabi clone of Akash.
The surprise factors in the movie - for me - were Siddharth and Kunal Kapoor. Siddharth displays a newfound maturity as an actor, and hardly falters in his portrayal of the rebellious young man who can hardly wait to get out of the country. Kunal, on the other hand, is just about outstanding as the young Muslim who is often the target of the Hinduvta hardliner Atul Kulkarni (who, as expected, turns in an exemplary performance himself). Both Siddharth and Kunal have very vulerable personas, which made them apt choices for their respective roles. Soha Ali Khan did not disappoint (boyh, does she look like Saif or what!). Madhavan appeared affable in what little screen-time he had. Sharman Joshi (the one redeeming factor of 'Style') is as goofy as ever.
A review of 'Rang De Basanti' would be incomplete without a mention of Alice Patten, who acquits herself honorably in a difficult role (remember how many foreign actors have ended up becoming cariacatures?). In fact, of late, more and more non-Indian actors have been turning in more-than-competent performances - 'Kisna', 'Lagaan' and 'Mangal Pandey', for instance. I'd be glad to see an Indian actor do the same in a Western movie (of course, Om Puri has akready done it, several times over).
A.R.Rahman is competent, as usual. I liked RDB much more than the director's previous 'Aks'. However, I have a grouse - my favourite song Lukka Chupi ended up being clipped. I especially liked the Western bgm ARR used in the opening scene, where Bhagat Singh is being hung to death.
Is RDB worth a trip to the movie theatre? You bet your ass, it is! After the disappointing 'Mangal Pandey', Aamir Khan is back - and how !