Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sarkar Raj

Rating : 7/10
Running Time : 125 Minutes
Release Date : 6th June ‘08
Director : Ram Gopal Verma ; Writer : Prashant Pandey ; Music : Bappi-Tuttul
Starring : Amitabh, Abhishek & Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ravi Kale, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Rajesh Shringarpore, Govind Namdeo, Upendra Limaye

Ignore the hype, ignore the sheer star power, ignore that it’s a sequel (successor to Sarkar)and ignore the similarity (or not) to the Thackerays. And you still have a very interesting, original film, one that doesn’t hesitate to take a path rarely traveled in Bollywood. It is let down (albeit only marginally) by some patchy dialogue – its very good in parts and mediocre in others. Plus there were some bits which were unreal (almost straying into sermonizing in a couple of instances) and others we saw too much of – I cant say more for fear of giving it away – but this still doesn’t detract from a very good cinematic experience, one where you’re constantly wondering whats going to happen next and one where what does happen, does actually surprise you.

The story is only incidental, another excuse to showcase the political in-fighting, backbiting that characterizes most politics in India. Like most other movies it connects the mafia / rule of brute force with the politicians and it does showcase how some petty, vested interests ensure the nation remains backward. A foreign company wants to invest in a mega powerplant, the largest in the world / India, in the Thackerwadi region in Maharashtra. The politicians advise the company, which is fronted by Aishwarya Rai (daughter of the owner), there is no chance of relocating the 40,000 odd people of that region and hence proceeding with the project. It then reaches Sarkar (Amitabh Bachchan)…

I loved the acting, especially of the three Bachchans. Amitabh was sensational, easily the patriarch of the film, dominating it with his presence, even though he didn’t have the most screen time. I thought Abhishek acted very well, a mature performance, that of a person coming to grips with running his father’s business. Aishwarya, as you know I’m biased towards her, but I thought a) she looked great b) she looked different – effortlessly fitting into the power dressing of todays business women c) she acted very well, going from a woman clearly out of place in the politics, kind of like Alice in Wonderland, to someone, who though still not entirely at ease, is beginning to make sense of it all (thanks to some tutorship). The scenes between Amitabh and Abhishek were the highlights of the film – they share such an easy on-screen chemistry that you really wonder how they are in real life. The other character actors were very good, giving life to their roles. I also loved the last scene – I don’t think there was a better way to depict that life and business go on…

Not so great were the songs (ordinary), the background score (over reliant on the ‘Govinda Govinda’ theme) and the blood and gore. I also thought that the business aspects of the power plant – why is it actually so good for Maharashtra or why does it have to be in Thackerwadi were completely glossed over, while some reasoned debate would have enhanced the film.

RGV has redeemed himself with this one, only a bit though. It’ll take a lot longer for me to forget his Aag….


moksh juneja said...

Beg to differ on Aishwarya. the intense scene between Father-Son was becoming a dull the blank look of Aishwarya.

I loved Bilu's character - he only one line in the whole movie - "Sarkar ko sab pata hai!"

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Anonymous said...

Political drama is something I dont connect with, I read rave reviews on the movie and also ensured I watched the trio's interview along with Ram. There are so many Malayalam movies which portraits politics, try watching them.Not necessarily new ones am sure u will like them ..

Anonymous said...

Apurv, this is one of the rare films I have seen recently. That alone should have made me less critical.

But man, the woman is made of plastic. :-( Cliche upon cliche - whether it is the convenient blowing up of Abhishek's wife just as Aish starts making eyes at him or Aishwarya's clothes somehow showing her to be a 'western' business woman - just distracted. And not to mention the technical blooper. The project cost of Rs 200,000 crore would actually be sufficient for 10 plants which deliver 5000MW. But then again, I can hardly shut down even for a film :-)

I will blogroll you if only to pretend to have seen all the desi films for social gatherings...