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Monday, June 7, 2010

Movie Review : Rajneeti - Not completely compelling...


Genre : Drama

Films on Indian Politics have a trademark feel. Specially from directors like Prakash Jha, Sudhir Mishra, Anurag Kashyup. Its raw, its fast paced, its brutal and its in your face. Rajneeti is re-packaging of an age old story with new characters and known situations. Rajneeti is the vehicle for Actors and not just stars. Rajneeti is a welcome relief in the slump, but not exactly a benchmark film.

Largely inspired from the Mahabharata and The Godfather, this one is a tribute to both. Its about a family that rules Madhya Pradesh politics and the infighting within the family for power. Direct references are to the Mahabharat family in terms of charcters and direct scenes are lifted from the Godfather ( like the Hospital sequence and the horse head sequence).

Lets talk about the positives. Like most recent Prakash Jha films, this film also has a very tense undercurrent, with things happening left right and centre. Infact there are so many characters in the film, that it takes you some time in understanding who's who. But once you know, you are sucked in. The first half goes like a breeze. With political cards thrown all over the place, the movie keeps you on the edge and sets up for a stupendous second half. The scale, the background score,the screenplay overwhelm you and you think you are gonna watch history being made. 2 actors keep you spellbound - Nana Patekar and Manoj Bajpai. Nana Patekar who plays "Krishna" the guide is fabulous is almost every moment. He emotes to perfection in the most tense of scenes. Manoj Bajpai as "Duryodhan" is also in top form. His angry speeches, his inner turmoil blazes the screen. The others like Ajay Devgan, Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal do a good job aswell, and the only weak link seems Kathrina Kaif, though she does redeem herself towards the end. What is also refreshing to see, is that no one is shown as a pure soul and completely white. Everyone has shades of grey and everyone is ready to do anything to gain power.

 What makes this movie a GOOD movie but not a GREAT one is an average second half which drags. Infact in trying to put in so many references some scenes seem irritating. You wonder why did Prakash Jha spoil something that he had started so well. Some irritating points are a few forced assasinations, an avoidable reference to "KARAN", some unwanted pregnancies! The film would have done without these things. Also, though Arjun Rampal does a decent job, he seems out of place in the raw charcters look. Ajay Devgan is wasted with too little screen time. Kathrina Kaif, though suits the character to the T, is weak in some sequences. Finally, the climax is ridiculous to say the least! These points are irritating, because suddenly a complex, intelligent , realistic film becomes farcical.

Gangajal still remains Jha's most powerful film even though Rajneeti touches some dizzy height towards the interval.  Its a nice little tribute to both Mahabharat and Godfather, but unfortunately would not come in that category of culthood. I would say that it is a job half done, and I still think Prakash Jha could have avoided the Godfather references. Thats what made Gulaal so refreshing. Even though it also lost momentum in the second half, it remained a genuinely original film.

Go for it, as its one of better movies to have hit the screens in a long time. Plus, directors like Prakash Jha, Sudhir Mishra should be given support so that they come up with more compelling dramas. As far as Rajneeti is concerned, the political drama is complex, but not completely compelling..

Rating : 7 / 10 (0.5 extra for Nana Patekar's whizardry...)

14 comments:

Pavan said...

Ekdum correct...me also feel the same...

Awaiting Raavan now!! Another tribute to a mytho story!!

Hari said...

nice review viru... i felt the same about the film... though for me, the best acting in the film was of Viru's (manoj bajpai):)i somehow felt his screen time could have been increased... the mother of Ranbir and Arjun was the most irritating... the 2nd half slowed all the momentum that the first half built up... the characters that they showed as grey could have been left as they were rather than trying to justify why they did all that they did... another thing i noticed was that Arjun Rampal's language changed from slang hindi at times to shudh hindi...same was the case in some of the dialogues... the hindi was not consistent...prob prakash jha's mistake...

ArvIND said...

I felt the way Ranbir portrayed his character - a certain streak of meanness done so convincingly - a superstar in the making for sure...

about the movie it did seem a bit ridiculous how people who were part of election being killed left right & centre...overall a decent movie..

atlee said...

Havent seen it yet...u didnt mention much abt ranbir...

doesnt he have much to do?

also, it was nice of u to mention sudhir mishra...Im a huge fan of his hazarro khwaishen aisi

Sumeet said...

...Commendable scriptwriting ..about hw politicians use language as a ploy to achieve there dark motives...(that's why perhaps characters change there language from devnagri to queens english so effortlessly) ...am not too sure about casting though(Kat could have easily switched roles with her imported counterpart much to the delight of Ranbir:)..)...and ajay devgan kind of chose his own destiny by picking the wrong side(or may be signing this film)........................................................................P:S:the word "Destiny" could be a result of watching Rajneeti and prince of persia on the same day.

Ajay said...

Wow Viruu 7 seems to be very generous rating!!..obvious adaptation of Mahabarata was very crude with ranbir's character showing absurd n jerky changes!!! and to add to it the pathetic acting from rampal n kats..donno why jha got into a commercial mode by taking them..a film called Kalyug by shashi kapoor was a very complete n professional effort with its adaptation of Mahabarata..although one can argue it was not based on politics..agree that Nana n bajpai were in good form..n it was not compelling at all..

Afzy said...

Spot on vicky .... i saw it last night and after getting glued in the screen in the first half the second half was like ...abh kab khatam hongi a few scenes reminded me of Sarkar Raj ...
Acting wise i think Manoj and Nana were just brilliant what put me of was too many stars in the same screen sometimes donesnt justifies their acting just as it happened in Katrina and Ajays case ... If you see Gangajal or Apharan focus was on 1 character and it was done brilliantly by Ajay.

Orvelall the movie shows how politics works in our country and how important is RAJ GADDI for these people.

6.5 + 0.5 for acting

VishAll said...

I drew references to 'K' serials. Movie is like the daily soap but shown in a much gory manner. No doubt, Manoj n Nana were the best...I felt Ranbir's role could hve been more stronger like Abhishek of Sarkar in 2nd half. I felt it was predictable n it lacked some crafty ideas. Since there were so many characters I thot they would be from different states n diff political parites. E.g. Monoj's apperance was like South Indian neta..maybe Chiranjeevi but there was nothing of tht sort. Well, I was dissapointed.

pragya said...

Viru, you are right.. but 7 is too high. I mean they did not do justice to theme rajneeti in second half after building it so well. you cant kill everyone. IT is not a mafia war. Else the name should have been ran neeti.

Moreover, unneccesarily Ranbir Kapoor was portrayed as a hero in the climax, making it the most pathetic climax of any such sensible movie.Nana was brilliant, no doubt.It was poor adaptation of the great Epic, trying to copy paste some dialogues (jyeshtha putra), Kalyug was much much better and held the grip till the end. At least they should have changed the context to some political moves from both sides in the second half. it was sadly represented. Overall, the worst by far from Prakash Jha.

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