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Belonging to a prominent Uttar Pradesh-family of ruthless politicians, Samar Pratap is about to return to his Irish-American girlfriend, Sarah, in the U.S. and obtain a PhD, but cancels his trip when his father, Chandra, is shot dead. He decides to stay put and avenge this slaying but ends up dealing with aspiring politician, Indu Sakseria, who wants to wed him; his brother, Prithviraj, who has been granted control of the Rashtrawadi Party but is facing imprisonment on charges of Assaulting a Police Officer and Sexual Molestation; his cousin, Veerendra, who wants control of the party; and his astute maternal uncle, Brij Gopal - who secretly controls the entire family. Before he could even handle these situations, Sarah arrives in India and will soon accuse him of being a manipulative and conniving politician. Written by
Even if you do not know before going into the movie, it is evident in the first few minutes that the film draws heavily from the epic of Mahabharata. From the basic plot to the characters. Your palms will get sweaty a few times if you can relate to it.
Ranbir Kapoor is our modern day Arjun & Krishna woven into one. All characters in the movie have shades of gray and Ranbir is no exception. He is a strategist who is not afraid to go the bloody mile. Being a young actor in a multi starer can be tricky, but Ranbir does emerge on top, thereby setting the pace for more serious & deeper roles in the future. Nana Patekar is so subtle & understated that he takes the film forward effortlessly. No yelling, just shrewd smiles. Ajay Devgn proves yet again that he is past the stage where he needs screen time to justify his role. He easily enters into the skin of the modern day Karna, letting Manoj Bajpai as Duryodhan take center stage. And Bajpai, justifies every minute of his presence on screen. Arjun Rampal has his moments in the sun. Katrina impresses mainly through her improved Hindi. This is definitely not the role that she was hoping would get her a national award.
Subtlety is not a mark of Prakash Jha's cinema. From Gangajal to Apaharan to Raajneeti, all are in your face dramas. Raajneeti, if I may say, would be his most commercial outing in some time. We have very mainstream actors, a grand scale in the sheer number of crowds, bloody violence, cars going up in flames & people killing each other left, right & center.
Even for its 3 hour run time, some scenes & sequences do seem rushed in a bit. Nasserudin Shah has as much a presence in the film as he has on the posters. He is not in the film if you are five minutes late to the movie. All our political men are ultra virile & the females- ultra fertile. There is also a needless club song. Then, there are car bombs & a climactic gun battle that is a bit over the top just like all Prakash Jha films. It could have been kept tighter & more believable.
But that said, the film is a gripping tale with very intensely executed pieces and careful attention to detail. The basic premise remains that of the Mahabharata, but the film is not limited to that. It is fast paced and there is seldom a loose moment. It is not Jha's best work, not even close. But I am tempted to rate it highly for the power packed performances & the gripping screenplay.
I say 3.5 on 5
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