Political Potpourri at its Bollywood Best!

June 13, 2010 at 8:48 am 2 comments

Raajneeti largely lives up to its hype – which in itself is an achievement for Prakash Jha as the movie has constantly been under scanner for one reason or the other in the last year and had generated tremendous interest among the audience. It is no surprise that the film is heavily inspired by the Mahabharat – the supreme Indian epic, and Godfather, besides drawing influences from Indian politics, in particular, the Gandhi family.

As a complete package, it succeeds by keeping the viewer engrossed for its length; there are enough twists and turns to keep you from getting bored through the near 3 hours of its running. However, be warned that you need to have a certain proclivity for electoral politics and bloodshed.

I won’t delve much on the story, but one needs to pay attention to the first half an hour of the movie, as we are introduced to the entire ensemble of characters in the start itself. The rest of the movie is all about how they try to outplay each other in a power struggle to win the state elections and chief-ministership. The premise might appear straightforward but Jha has painted it on a large canvas, with a strong screenplay and tight editing. Given the limited time, he manages to pack in a lot in terms of story, action and sub-plots, but doesn’t make it look overcrowded. As it turns out, the highlight of his movie is the characterizations and the interplay among them.

Each character in the story is etched carefully, and the actors play their parts exceedingly well. It is easy to see the untamed aggression of Bhim in Arjun Rampal, just as we can make out the characters of Karna and Duryodhana in Ajay Devgn and Manoj Bajpai respectively. Even Nana Patekar’s Brij resembles the calm and always composed Krishna from the Mahabharat, even though the character shown here is ruthless and conniving. In fact, Jha has made a conscious attempt to highlight the greys in each of the characters, rather than show it as a battle between the right and the wrong. Even the initially positive character of Ranbir (a superb act as the perplexed Arjun of the epic) ends up corrupted as he gets sucked into the murky world of politics. Jha has thankfully not tried to show the political arena as the war of Dharma (righteousness), and kept it real by showing politics as a means to achieve the end, whatever it takes. In fact, there is even a 3 dialogue “Gita gyan” by Nana Patekar where he very clearly gives this message.

What however could have been better is the excessive, and almost needless, violence. Jha actually went overboard in trying to convey that bloodshed is hand-in-glove with politics. VIP cars blasting at the drop of a hat, chief ministerial candidates wielding the gun to settle personal scores and half the characters being assassinated by the end of a state election is not really what Indian Raajneeti is all about? It could have been kept suggestive rather than having every one blatantly kill everyone else.

Katrina’s character in the movie was a little unrealistic and, in my opinion, another actress would have done better justice to the role. Perhaps she would have been more suited as Ranbir’s foreigner girlfriend. Music is not central to such a story; the classical fusion numbers, however, were very enjoyable and mellifluous and will stay in my iPod playlist for a while.

All in all, Raajneeti almost blends all the right ingredients for a Bollywood potboiler, and is a racy (if you discount the end), entertaining drama. Definitely (maybe, more than) a one-time watch!


Entry filed under: India, Movies and Cinema.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Deepak Jeswal  |  October 31, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I enjoyed Raajneeti. The first half was superb.
    The second half I felt could have been tighter, and more ‘dramatic’ in the sense Ranbir-Ajay face-off (quintessential Karan and Arjun one) could have been more highlighted.

    But yes, overall it was a damn interesting movie. In fact, I saw it the second time round recently when it came on a channel. Enjoyed it the second time too.

    Have you seen Aakrosh? I liked that one too. Quite similar in hue.

  • 2. D.A  |  November 27, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    good review. bollywood does take a break from the usual masala mix without the help of amir khan 😛


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