Thursday, June 24, 2010

Movie Review: Raajneeti

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Many of my friends who had seen this movie hated it and told me not to waste my time on it.  But i also got some fierce recco's from two or three others, which made me go try it out.  I really liked it.


The direction was quite good overall.  Narrative flowed quite well, despite the complex plot and long list of main characters.  The director built a good atmosphere to depict the political fued, kept it intense throughout, but succumbed to bollywood-giri with some unnecessary melodrama in the second half.  I find that pardonable to some extent because we Indians are all quite a melodramatic lot anyways...

Reminded me of a couple of other good movies by Prakash Jha, viz. Gangaajal (2003) and Apaharan (2005).  


By no stretch of imagination can the plot be called an original one.  The writers have generously borrowed from  The Mahabharata and The Godfather, with a sprinkling of the Gandhi clan story.

The Mahabharata linkage is obviously intentional; rather that is the underlying theme.  A little different, yet in ways similar to the linkage shown in RDB.  But i fail to understand why we cant move beyond the Godfather. Countless bollywood movies have been inspired by the Puzo masterpiece (Nayakan, Dayavan, Sarkar, etc etc).  I worship the original, hence direct lift-offs really bug me.

Some common stuff:  the incapacitated Head (Vito Corleone / Bhanu Pratap), the hot headed elder son who is killed (Sonny Corleone / Prithviraj Pratap), the sophisticated younger son who is studying abroad, completely uninvolved with the political situation and yet somehow is the one who takes charge effortlessly (Michael Corleone / Samar Pratap), the foreign girlfriend (Kay / Sarah), the car bomb killing (Apollonia / Sarah & Prithvi)......

I'm sure the Mahabharata piece must have been irritating to many.  I guess i'm not slamming it because i feel it wasn't overdone.  I dont understand why it was necessary though; could the movie have been as good without those connections?

Despite all this, the plot was quite well adapted.  Some twists were really nice.  I especially loved the rally scene where Ranbir Kapoor totally screws Bajpai, and Nana's dialogue "ise kehte hai din dahaade sen maari"!  :-)  

The best part was there were no songs.  Even the romance was cut short to two abrupt and short love making scenes.  It was all politics.  Good fun!  Would have been better with around 20 minutes lesser though, especially towards the end.  They could have ended the movie with Kat taking the oath, but for some reason, dragged on..


Some great acting by Ranbir Kapoor.  He did to Rajneeti what Ajay Devgan did to Company in 2002.  He brought in levels of dark intensity which added the depth needed to change Rajneeti from just another political movie to something much more viewable and gripping.  Even one powerful performance can drastically change the fate of a movie (remember Bhiku Mhatre in Satya).

Nana was amazing.  Gone were the shouting and loud gestures that we saw in movies like Krantiveer.  Here he was a man in control, composed & shrewd.  Arjun Rampal was also quite satisfactory.  He's got a great presence and he also managed to throw in some decent acting in softer scenes.

Two people who fell short according to me were Manoj Bajpai and Ajay Devgan.  Bajpai over-acted most of the time, though there were a couple of decent scenes.  Ajay Devgan was most disappointing.  All he did was frown, frown and frown.  I think he has acted better even in Gol Maal!

Katrina....what should i say....i absolutely love her and am perfectly willing to overlook all acting deficiencies.  She looks gorgeous in every movie.  And to be really honest, i actually felt she acted well in this one.  It was funny that between Ranbir and Rampal she eventually gets just one night of sex before she has to wear a white saree and play Sonia Gandhi... hehehe

Shruti Seth was the surprise element.  She was deliciously slutty in her hot pallu-drop scene with Rampal.  The bad boy in each of us wants a girl like that!  Come on, admit it!   :-)   All the girls thinking their guy is not like that are grossly mistaken.  :-)))


Overall, a decent movie.  Not really an amazing work of art.  Cant be compared to movies like Satya, Company, Omkara or Gulal.  But definitely a ray of hope in the shit that our industry has been churning out by the dozens.


Rashmi said...

well written ... makes me wanna watch this movie..! which means you aer gonna have to watch it all over again with me... heee hehehe hehe

Minal said...

Rao - Nice review makes me want to stop mine cause views are similar except for that bit on Shruti Seth:-)

Though i just felt Kat will always have limitations and never be the actress- the one speech that could've changed her career path was where she let down the most! Sigh!
But she is divine isn't she? Who looks so freaking good in simple cotton sarees!

Won't go into more details else I'm replicating what you wrote:-) I too loved that stage scene where Ranbir and co. hijack Bajpai's meeting - awesome!

Vivek Rao said...

Had guessed you'd feel differently about Shruti! But the important question is what does Amit feel about her? (grin, grin, grin)

Archana Rao said...

Nice review! I think i agree with most of the things except the Shruti Seth bit!!
Well Vaibhav thought on similar lines like you!! So well yeah all guys think alike :)
I loved Ranbir Kapoor and totally think that he has proved himself as a good actor! Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgan, Manoj Bajpai as usual are good!
All in all a good Hindi movie after a very long time!!

Ashish said...

You know me dude. Will RARELY watch a bollywood flick.

Now I'm sure I've overlooked many great movies, but I'm so put off by 'em, it's hard to explain (arrogant mofo, anyone?).

Where the f*** is the originality people?!? And I can't digest the fact that some ppl just make it big (or atleast have a launchpad) coz of their moms and dads. Pathetic, I tell you. The only person we have in contemporary cinema worthy of being called an actor is Aamir Khan. Period.

Sorry to digress like this, but I feel strongly about this. Wasted talent here. For eg, Paresh Rawal in Sardar. But what does he do now?

Ashish said...

Sorry, was quite hammered when I typed that out.

Well written like Rashmi said. Did you go again with her? ;-)

Vivek Rao said...

@ Chan: have you guys watched Gulal? Its really really good. Defi worth watching. Vai will also love it.

@ Boozy: hahaha had guessed as much. But anyways, i'm quite aware of your feelings for bollywood.

But i think its a bit unfair to say that most stars get their launchpad only due to their parents. There are so many actresses who have managed to get in just by sleeping around on a regular basis. hahahahaha

And no, i haven't gone again to see Rajneeti. It isn't Godfather, right? :)

The Legend Returns said...

in fact for me the only take away from Rajneeti was Naseeruddin Shah's fiery opening speech...after that the movie just fell of the cliff..even I think that Gulaal was a much better film with great ensemble cast of relatively unknown actors.