Review: Rajneeti

Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif in Rajneeti

Politics and Problematic Brotherhood

Rajneeti

Director: Prakash Jha

Starring: Ajay Devgn, Nana Patekar, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpai, Naseerudin Shah, Shruti Seth and others

Genre: Mahabharatha inspired Godfather styled Gangster Drama, or is it called politics?

Rating: *

Hindi Film Industry primarily revolves around the foundations set by many noted filmmakers. Some of these filmmakers may have made better movies once upon a time. You can’t expect them to revive the magic again. There are several ways to attack the current affairs and these men have been trying their best to bring out a political drama which everyone would call cult classic. But, no one has been able to sit down and think as time is of the essence. Hence, we rip storylines from famous Hollywood films. If not, there are always novels which buzz about politics and harsh Indian summers.

Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti is a collage of these created products. It mixes The Godfather and The Mahabharatha. While the latter is used in the backdrop, much of the action is rehashed from the former.  The car bomb that kills the innocent American girlfriend of Samar Pratap (Ranbir Kapoor) along with his brother Prithvi (Arjun Rampal) or the disloyal Minister waking up in a bloodstained bed to find his gay lover dead remind us of The Godfather. The sibling rivalry of Prithvi and Veerendra (Manoj Bajpai) and the brotherly relationship between Veerendra and Sooraj (Ajay Devgn) resemble The Mahabharatha. On the political front, Katrina Kaif’s costumes and makeup distinctly allows her to impersonate Mrs. Gandhi. In one way or the other, Rajneeti becomes influenced and Jha never gets to perform the duties of a filmmaker working on an original script.

Why so serious?

If it’s a Ranbir Kapoor starrer, you have to think that Ranbir is always the last man standing, no matter whatever the baddies bring with them. He has the charm and wit to take on anything. However, his character, Samar, becomes a Michael Corleone-like figure. One question struck my mind after watching him pull on a serious Al Pacino-like expression in the second half. Hey Ranbir! Why so serious?

Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti relies on its ensemble cast. Most of them deliver by all means while some appear for the sake of an intimate scene and disappear the morning after.

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Review: Bommalaattam – Tamil Cinema

Bharathiraja who has had quite a long route from his rural subjects like Mudhal Mariyadhai, 16 Vayathinilae made a quick step up with city genres like Sigappu Rojaakal and the previous Kangalal Kaidhu Sei. His latest film, Bommalaattam is also made in the city. Bharathiraja who dealt with themes like eternal love, maternal respect and even psychology in his long list of movies has now made a movie which can never be interred with these themes.

Bommalaattam is a long way from what the audience would feel the rustic director would ever capacitate. It is a pacing, quirk story with ennumerous twists and flashbacks. If you’ve seen Andrew Niccol’s S1m0ne, you may start to think, Bommalaattam may be a rip-off. But, that’s where Bharathiraja unveils his artistry. S1m0ne instead appears as a mere inspiration for this well-written thriller.

As Bharathiraja states in his usual welcome speech – Some changes do justice, some changes do harm. Bommalaattam is a mixture of these just and harmful moments.

Bommalaattam is all about Rana – a successful cinema director who makes a film by informing the audience about a mysterious heroine. The usual press-chase happens and Rana, who created the heroine’s career, kills her by pushing the car from a hilltop and detonating a bomb in the car. Rana’s plight might have been hidden if it wasn’t for CBI officer Vivek Verma to intervene in this suspicious accident as told to the rest of the world.

Nana Patekar has done an extremely marvellous job as Rana. You can never see the man in better shoes more than this. Vivek Varma – the clever CBI officer, portrayed by Arjun is what I would call good casting. But, why do we still have the long-hair business? Is it because Bommalaattam has been in production since 2006 – the year where Silambarasan, Jeevan and other young heroes had long hair that would be the fashionable look as up north John Abraham and Ashmith Patel usually sported that look? These questions rally around in your mind when you watch Arjun run his fingers through his hair every now and then.

Let’s talk about the females, namely Kajal Agarwal and the critical Rukmini Vijaykumar. Kajal has done justice to her role as the young and sweet fan of Rana, girlfriend of Vivek Verma and an independent poet on her own. Kajal joins as an assistant to Rana as she prefers Rana’s character.

Rukmini Vijaykumar is Rana’s new find heroine – You will never see such charisma inside Rukmini who agrees to do anything the doctor says. Rukmini is placid, naive, energetic, constant and symbolically Rana’s Challenge and indirectly Bharathiraja’s too.

Ranjitha – yes the one who appears on the daily soaps. You should know her through a lot of films shot in the mid 90s. Her name might be forgotten like her role too. You never notice Ranjitha acting on the screen. The space on the screen is mostly shared by the above four that other characters are considered minor.

The second half is filled with flashbacks – Rana’s flashbacks, Vivek’s flashbacks, Anitha’s (Kajal’s character) flashbacks and finally Trishna (Rukmini’s character). You get really bored watching flashbacks. What these offer is just the ‘TWIST’.

I must offer Bharathiraja a hand for trying a film in the Martin Scorsese style. I meant the rapid-fire editing, that Thelma Schoonmaker usually does for Scorsese. If you don’t know about it – watch ‘The Departed’ and then read on.

The cinematography is one step for Bharathiraja and one giant leap for the audience. We have seen better Over-The-Shoulder shots in Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum. Why does he have to try it out?

And the biggest muck-up of the day is Himesh Reshamaiyya – the music composer. When did Bharathiraja ever opt for a club song. It really pains to hear insanely jumping beats with loud jazz guitars and Karthik and Pop Shalini! This song happens in a club and in an European country where Arjun rides a chopper. However, the other songs provide a relief as they are optimally played in the background as Bharathiraja didn’t want to waste time erecting sets and paying the extra dancers.

At this time, I must mention two more actors who have small but memorable roles – Manivannan and Vivek the comedian. Manivannan’s portrayal has been shaded grey heavily. When you see Vivek – you automatically start laughing as he is a mass entertainer, spanning for more than a decade.

Spoilsports of Bommalaattam are probably the ultra-sleuth dialogues spoken by the character, Nitish Kumar who boasts as a hit-maker and a direct-to-south Hrithik Roshan sorta guy who is the son of the producer for whom Rana is working under.

Well, it all happens quick in just 2 hours and 34 minutes that after the movie ends with Bharathiraja’s ending speech of the same ‘Some changes do justice, some changes do harm. blah blah blah’ you think for a moment on how the hell the movie finished sooner than you ever expected. Well, the flashbacks as I said wound up the running time.

Bommalaattam, as I say is a director’s movie. It is what Bharathiraja wanted. It is what the audience exactly needed – A COMEBACK.