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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
Welcome back to the world of Hindi cinema, where movies have a huge star cast, are 3 hour longs and actually have a good story line. Raajneeti is a good mix of modern-day Mahabharata and The Godfather, which turns out to be a pretty deadly combination. Its about a political family which has just lost its leader in the midst of the upcoming election. This in turn sets his family at war as the leader chooses his brother and his son Prithviraj Pratap(Arjun Rampal) as his heirs, rather than his own son Veerendra Pratap(Manoj Bajpai). This angers Veerendra Pratap and he decides to take matter into his own hand. To help him out in this scenario is the Dalit leader form the village Sooraj Kumar(Ajay Devgn). So begins the saga of murder, vengeance and the want to gain political power by any means. In this process gets stuck Samar Pratap(Ranbir Kapoor) who had just come for a leisurely visit to India from New York to attend his uncles birthday. Turning down a teaching job in New York he instead stays back in India to help out is family. In him we see shades of Michael Corleone as a young leader who at first was hesitant to join the dirty family business but reluctantly has become a major part of it, and has started taking all the major decisions. There's also the lovely and innocent India Pratap(Katrina Kaif), his childhood friend who gradually begins to see what kind of a person Samar has become. And to help Samar there's Brij Gopal(Nana Patekar), his mother's brother. He is the all wise, all knowing Mama who can be sweet and mean all at the same time.
This film in the beginning can get a little confusing to its viewers as there are way too many characters who are introduced, and who actually play an important part throughout the film. But as the movie progress the confusion diminishes and you start seeing the clear picture and you probably start taking sides. There is no pure good or evil here, everything's in a shade of Grey, like they all believe that the means justify the end. You take Ajay Devgn who is a local village fellow, a Dalit leader, in the beginning he seems all nice and right, but politics as we know it is not a nice guys game, at least in India. Ranbir turns from the innocent American student to a smart schemer who'll do anything to protect his brother. He even fakes it with his American girlfriend Sara(Sarah Jean Collins) when she decides to give him a surprise visit to India. Be it true or not but this movie shows you a pretty interesting insight of politics in India. Its a brother kill brother world out there.
Acting wise everyone has done a good job I must say but special credit goes to Ranbir Kapoor who has shown that he can actually act in films other than romantic comedies in which he plays a chocolate boy lover trying to woo a girl standing in the balcony. Nana Patekar is not his usual self hurling abuses and shouting dialogues at the top of his voice, he is a smiling, silent planner who is very subtle throughout the film and acts only when necessary. Ajay Devgn is also in the background throughout the film, which is very unlike Prakash Jha as we have seen in his previous films like Apharan and Gangajal. But it is nicely done on his part. Katrina Kaif has probably taken acting lessons and is very sober in this film, and looks amazing as always. Arjun Rampal in my opinion has 'acted' for the very first time and by the end of the movie you feel satisfied that he didn't ruin it by his dead, expressionless face. Manoj Bajpai has a typical role, so no surprises there.
Go watch this movie if you want to see a wholesome Hindi film with substance. Its got your abuses, gruesome action scenes, a couple of lovemaking scenes put in here and there, a few songs in the background, nasty cops, hot Indian summer, everything that you need to enjoy your 3 hours in an air conditioned theatre! 7/10
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