Friday, June 04, 2010


Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 4th June, 2010
Time : ~170 minutes
Director & Writer : Prakash Jha; Co-Writer : Anjum Rajaballi; Music : Shantanu Moitra, Pritam, Wayne Sharp, Aadesh Shrivastav
Starring : Ranbir Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai, Katrina Kaif, Arjun Rampal, Nana Patekar, Nikhila Trikha

Weaving the stories of Mahabharat and Godfather together in a fast paced political thriller is a brilliant idea. Getting a high profile starcast together to essay the roles is a master stroke. The length, predictability and heaviness of subject matter are definitely issues. But some searing performances, most notably by Katrina Kaif and Manoj Bajpai, help overcome even the fact that at its core, there is no new message in the film. Its about politics…the grim, dirty, gory side of a power struggle between different factions.

So, lets get to know the contestants.
Faction one is led by Arjun Rampal, after his father’s death. Arjun is short tempered, urbane, feisty, prone to falling prey to some eye candy but inherently straightforward. He loves his younger brother, Ranbir, who’s busy with his PhD on Victorian poetry in USA and couldn’t care less about the politics at home. Both are guided by Nana Patekar, who’s unstintingly loyal to the family and happy to remain behind the scenes.

Faction two is led by Manoj Bajpai, after the unfortunate paralysis of his father, who until then was the leader of his party and of his family (and Arjun's dads elder brother). Manoj is single-minded in pursuit of power, very clear that he wants to rule, not let his uncle or his sons take over and determined to have his own way. He is joined by Ajay Devgn, the secret illegitimate elder brother of Arjun / Ranbir, an upcoming Dalit leader and strong arm man.

Katrina Kaif is the impulsive, spoilt daughter of one of the states wealthiest men and kingmaker, very much in love with Ranbir since childhood. However, Ranbir’s heart lies with Sarah Thomson, his girlfriend in USA.

The film is about the naked lust for power, the unquenchable thirst and love for occupying the seat of Chief Minister. All other emotions, grief, fairness, and even love, are sacrificed at the altar of politics.

Arjun Rampal was good, intense to watch, but at times slightly over the top. Ranbir delivers a controlled performance but, more due to his character’s fault than his acting, we’re not able to totally go along with his metamorphosis from nice, clean, apolitical man to scheming, conniving, killing machine. Ajay Devgn and Nana Patekar are both very good in slightly subdued roles. Nikhila Trikha, in the role of Arjun / Ranbir’s mom, is the weakest link, with a very insipid performance. But Katrina and Manoj are outstanding. Katrina also has to transform during the film. From being impetuous she has to become controlled. From being mistress of her own destiny, she has to bow to the wishes of others around her. And she does it all flawlessly, looking like a million bucks. And when she gives her first political speech, she does it with panache, making you root for her, as does the crowd. Manoj Bajpai is mesmerising, almost hypnotic, leaves no ambiguity about his character, plays him to a T, transforming into a person who’s lust for power is out of control.

Good photography, gritty & beautiful locales, panoramic crowd shots and reasonably tight editing works for the film. It does stretch the credibility though in quite a few places, is fairly predictable, there are quite a few threads left loose (the whole Dalit angle, the thoughts of Nana Patekar and why is he so loyal etc) and its definitely heavy, especially after the second half where it perhaps has a few turns, blasts and dead bodies too many. When you leave the hall, your head is heavy, there is no joy or exhilaration and its not the story but the performances and some of the characters that stay with you. Some of the key characters and plot lines weren’t developed enough – Ajay Devgn’s or even Arjun Rampal’s being cases in point.

It’s like tasting two familiar wines in known bottles but only they’re mixed together to create some new flavours and the glass in which its served is entirely new, adding to the entire taste and experience. And as with the wine, if you’re not careful, it could leave you slightly heavy-headed…


Roy said...

very compelling and honest view!

real reVIEW :-)

Apurv Nagpal said...

Thx a ton, Roy

hanskapur said...

will watch it tommorrow,a first movie in theatre in last almost 5 years...just after reading your views.

Unknown said...

Apurv - very balanced view however you are totally silent on Naseer's character - is it that its practically non-existent in the movie?

Apurv Nagpal said...

hi ! Anjali, its so miniscule tht its almst shameful tht he's thr in the promo or pos

Unknown said...

Well written and totally unbiased review !! You could try being a film critic. You will definitely excel in it.

chaman raj said...

yep...honest n gud review. But it deserves better rating according to me. its one of the best political thriller i have watched lately..i'll rate it 8.

Shailesh Modi said...

Great review. I like your style.

Keep writing...


Unknown said...

spot on ,as always. however two disagreements-nikhila trikha was not bad at all in the first half. her rain dance secene with naseeruddin shah,for instance. secondly,katrina's political debut speech didnt impress at all;stilted and badly delivered. net net the films a decent watch but the second half is nowhere near as good as the first. Cheers manoj mohanka


Honestly Apurv, I was waiting for your review to come through! The best thing about you reviewing a movie I have realized takes us closer to the crux of the movie. Most of my friends have loved the movie. Some have liked it so much, they chose to give it a shot the second time. And they came back to me with the same feedback - GO WATCH IT! Prakash Jha being a director of high panache certainly knows how to blend a highly ethnic theme with an immensely direct western theme. To sum it up, you have indeed reviewed it well!

Chirag said...

Great Review Apurv.

Whats very interesting about this movie is that it is not a pretentious adaptation of Mahabharata. Jha neither claims this nor is it evident. But if you look at the story on a subcutaneous level, it seems to be such a well done adaptation.

Reminds me of Vishal Bhradwaj's genius in doing such thigns

Harish said...

To be honest i would prefer Satta over Rajneeti. Also for the Mahabharatha adaptation this film is nowhere near to Kalyug the one which was made by Shyam benegal.