Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Raajneeti


Ever since the project was announced, Raajneeti was hyped as based on the life of Sonia Gandhi, portrayed by Katrina Kaif. The creators probably thought this would give them good publicity. Later, as if they couldn't handle it, the director Prakash Jha and Katrina Kaif dismissed these reports. Anyway, as a result of all this, Raajneeti was widely associated with Katrina Kaif and nobody else (compare Google searches for "raajneeti katrina kaif" and "raajneeti ranbir kapoor". Arjun Rampal doesn't even have a chance!).
In fact, the movie is not about Sonia Gandhi and nor is Katrina Kaif the lead character.

So, what is Raajneeti all about. Just politics! Politics in north India, to be precise. But the movie is just an over-glorified potpourri of the epic Mahabharata and Francis Ford Coppola's classic The Godfather (1972) (screen adaptation of Mario Puzo's novel by the same name).

The basic theme of the movie is Mahabharata with story elements and scenes lifted from The Godfather. I say lifted and not inspired (the euphemism film-makers generally prefer) because there are far too many occasions and far too many similarities.

Since the central theme is Mahabharata and not The Godfather, there's no character equivalent of Don Vito Corleone (aka "The Godfather"). Ranbir Kapoor plays the lead character of "Samar Pratap" - a combination of Michael Corleone of The Godfather and Arjuna of Mahabharata. Arjun Rampal plays "Pritvi Pratap", the elder brother of Samar and leader of a political party. The father of these two does serve the purpose of Don Vito Corleone when the story needs him to ;-)
The negative role, Duryodhana, is played by Manoj Bajpai. His character, "Veerendra Pratap", the cousin of Samar-Pritvi brothers, leads a rival group with in the party. Veteran actor Nana Patekar plays the uncle of these young turks and serves the purpose of Krishna.
Assisting Duryodhana, err Veerendra Pratap, is "Sooraj Kumar", the illegitimate brother of Samar/Pritvi (Karna of Mahabharata, of course) played by Ajay Devgan.
In this heavy star-cast, where does Katrina fit in, you ask? She plays "Indu" (or "Indu Pratap") the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, having close ties with the political family.

The basic plot is quite simple and straightforward, if you remember your Mahabharata (or at least B.R. Chopra's highly acclaimed TV series - "Mahabharat").
The popular 'Rashtrawadi party' is led by Veerendra Pratap's father, assisted by his younger brother. Samar, our Michael Corleone, has just returned from vilayat to attend his uncle's birthday party. Indu (katrina Kaif) is in love with Samar, who on the other hand has a blonde girlfriend and has no intentions of hitting on with Indu.
When the big party leader falls following a heart attack, a fight for power begins between the factions led by Samar and Pritvi. Sooraj (Ajay Devgan) is a local leader and when he's mocked by Pritvi, Veerendra gives him refuge and befriends him (I told you, Mahabharata all the way). The fight that ensues gets bloody and Samar is pulled in, although quite voluntarily, to the crookedness and violence of politics.


Although the critics generally seem to have given very positive ratings to Raajneeti, I find it quite un-original and lacklustre. I quite honestly fail to see any brilliance in the adaptation or the direction. If you've watched The Godfather, you'll recognise several scenes and twists in Raajneeti. The similarities seem endless and many elements have been spiced-up/altered, but not very much, to suit the Bollywood style.
The script is not that great either. most characters have wide ranging qualities. A man shown to be crushing another man's skull is later described as dil ke ache! The ending is also quite boring and predictable drama (remember Karna's chariot getting stuck in the battlefield? Well, a Scorpio is the modern-day chariot ;-).

The director makes a desperate attempt to make the movie seem very "bold" by stuffing in a couple of love-making/steamy scenes, at regular intervals throughout the movie. On-screen kissing doesn't seem to be a taboo any more these days. The story dismisses all concerns of increased infertility among the current generation, as all women in this movie conceive with just one copulation.
The portrayal of politics as a beastly game and the deplorable depiction of women politicians add more masala.

One appreciable thing about the movie is the excellent acting by the male actors. I can't say the same about Katrina Kaif, but she hasn't done very bad either. Ranbir Kapoor has performed quite well, and so has Arjun Rampal. Ajay Devgan (a hugely over-rated actor, in my opinion) is his usual unimpressive self.

To conclude, I'd say Rajneeti is just an okay movie, much better than the average filth Bollywood produces. Ranbir Kapoor, though no Al Pacino, is showing lot of promise these days. Although much over-rated and not really worth the praise it's getting, Raajneeti won't irritate you and mock your intelligence (well, it does make a try, in a couple of occasions).

2 comments:

  1. Gr8 review...:-)) Nee oru hanumaan thanne

    ReplyDelete
  2. okkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

    doesn't look worth going to the theater
    thanks for the info on restaurants

    ReplyDelete