Movie Review: Raajneeti – Compelling and Exhausting

Movie Review: Raajneeti – Compelling and Exhausting

Raajneeti, the modern version of Mahabharata is a superior effort.  Prakash Jha, the most reliable man in Bollywood (he has found elections in MP) , when it comes to making movies based on political themes. has done poetic justice to his most ambitious project.  The movie also borrows copiously from God-Father but if you take Raajneeti by its own individuality, it is strong and heady, despite a few flaws.

Story of Raajneeti: The film is all about the ruthless and non-compromising race for power.  When a senior leader of a political party becomes confined to a hospital bed, Prithivi(Arjun Rampal) is all set to take charge.  This is something that does not go well with with Veerendra (Manoj Bajpayee) , Prithvi’s cousin.  He takes in his confidence a dalit leader called Suraj (Ajay Devgan). Now Sooraj is actually the son of the same woman (Barkha Bisht) who gave birth to Prithvi and Samar (Ranbir Kapoor). She had engaged in a one night affair with a reporter Naseeruddin Shah, and the abandoned child later turned out to be Suraj (Ajay Devgan)

Now battle lines are drawn and both the parties constantly indulge in dirty and gross politics, killing each other’s aides, using women as baits and blackmailing the other, till a murderous conclusion is reached.

What’s good about Raajneeti:

1. Prakash Jha has a responsible task of making sure that every character is given justice and that there are no loose ends. He does a good job at it making sure that the story moves fast at the same time making everyone waiting with bated breath to see what could happen next.
2. He manages to recreate Mahabharata’s characters so beautifully that except for one contrived scene, all of them look beautifully etched.  You can feel the ethos and the power-hungry struggle of the epic in the form  of  the characters of Arjun(Ranbir Kapoor), Ajay Devgan(Karna), Duryodhana(Manoj Bajpayee), Krishna (Nana Patekar)  and Bhima(Arjun Rampal) in the movie.
3. There are ample amounts of twists and turns and some of the sequences are so interesting and thrilling that they are surely going to recoil in your memory long after you’ve left the theaters.
4. The dialogue and the editing of the film is crisp. The lines are acidic and the narrative moves fast.  The director has taken cinematic liberties and has shown enough violence and sex which is why the movie ran into a lot of censorship trouble. But then the movie would have fallen flat if such liberties weren’t taken.
5. The performances in the film is definitely an icing on the cake. There are stellar performances in the film that is sure to make you head for the theater again.

What’s not so good about Raajneeti:

1. Prakash Jha goes over the top with high octane scene, the fact that CMs, police personnel and leaders of the opposition parties are hacked to death and not merely shot, looks unrealistic
2. The sex scene between  Arjun Rampal and Shruti Seth is embarrassing and unrealistic. She makes orgasmic expressions while she is just caressed!
3. The speech scene of Katrina Kaif is cut-short, Katrina Kaif herself said that it is a five minute speech and it has been reduced to seconds.
4. Ajay Devgan’s character is short-changed in the second-half so much that it looks half baked though the actor is first-rate in the role.
5. Naseeruddin Shah’s fans are going to be disappointed, he spends one night of passion with his protege Nikhila Tirkha and thereafter he is gone from the movie itself.

Best scene in Raajneeti:

1. The bomb explosion scene(cannot divulge) where two main characters die definitely leave a lump in your throat

Performances in Raajneeti:

This movie is a performance powerhouse

1. Ajay Devgan: Though sidelined in the second-half, Ajay Devgan excels in the role of the Dalit leader.
2. Nana Patekar: His role is superbly understated and he is given the most acidic lines but he gives them a deft touch so much that he does not overwhelm anyone else but still stands out.
3. Arjun Rampal: More an eye-candy than a politician, this man who has improved with every role gives his career-best in Raajneeti.
4. Katrina Kaif: Katrina Kaif’s role develops piece by piece and it is in the last 10 minutes, she comes on her own with a refreshing look, amazing body language and expressions similar to Sonia Gandhi, the Congress leader.
5. Sarah Thompson: The British actress has a brief role and delivers a punch
6. Shruti Seth: Oscillating between outrageous and astounding, this two scene babe is exciting in every manner.
7. Ranbir Kapoor: Ranbir Kapoor has the meatiest role, he has got a dream-character, unpredictable and so damn practical and guess what, Ranbir makes it stand apart from every other role he has done.

The supporting talents in the form of Vinay Apte, Nikhila Trikha, Dayashanker Pandey,Chetan Pandi and Darshan Zariwala all merit a round of applause too.

The film has a number of talented names in supporting roles and each remain etched in your memory, especially Dayashanker Pandey, Chetan Pandit, Darshan Jariwala, Shruti Seth, Kiran Karmarkar and Vinay Apte. Nikhila Trikha, as Arjun and Ranbir’s mother, is admirable.

Conclusion: Watch Raajneeti  for spurts of thrills and political twists amidst flaws that may be excused for cinematic liberties.

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