Saturday, June 5, 2010


I've never picked up my pen or typed away furiously at a keyboard, EVER, to write about a film I did not like. Despite watching Race with its 'I want to be different' meandering plotline, despite sitting through that obnoxiously superfluous entertainer called 'Prince' and many such, I never really felt like writing about a film as much as Rajneeti did.

Despite being SUCH an intense topic to explore, Prakash Jha fails us by creating a film with too many loose ends and convenient ones at that.

Rajneeti is a political drama, as all the characters very gravely remind us every two seconds in an attempt to make sure none in the audience forget the film's title.

The Story begins with a politician daughter Comrade Bharati differing from her papa's ways and joining the fiery communist leader Bhaskar Sanyal, played by Naserrudhin Shah. During the first-summer rain, with Bharti losing her acting skills(or lack thereof) in that... was it a dance?... she loses herself to her leader in a moment of passion.

Naseerudhin Shah, who could have probably made this film SO MUCH better had he just been around in the sides of the frames, makes a hasty exit from her life and from the film itself! *sigh

Then and there begins the saga... called Rajneeti. In a Nehru family inspired, Godfather-ish rendition of a Mahabharata with modern warfare and Fabindia Kurta clad-politicians, Rajneeti loses focus.

Trying to reconstruct the story-developing scenario, it must have been similar to this:

> Establish two camps like Pandavas and Kauravas. Enter the two politician brothers.

> Breed enmity Godfather-ish style. Paralyse older brother. Kill younger brother. Make Younger Brother's first son Sunny Corleone-esquely volatile and the Older brother's son very conniving.

> Add hospital sequence, police face-off scene-by-scene from The Godfather.

> Make everything more dramatic by using shudhdh Hindi that no one really uses in everyday land!

> Make Krishna mahashay add fuel where necessary, advice a la Bhagavat Gita when required, and basically to prod and usher people around to do whatever he wants without getting his hands bloody. Nana paterkar, the Mamaji.

> Thicken the plot, bring twists, kill people, kill more and more people, kill more and more and more people, bring in the Nehru family influence, foreign bahu, a little no-influence twist of two women liking hottie Ranbir(Samar, summer, pronounce whichever way you like, based on which side you are: In India or Outside India).

> Copy Sunny Corleone's weakness for women angle and also his intense family bonding to fit like a glove.

> Make Ranbir the detachedly attached Michael, using people, hiding things from his beloved, being fiercely loyal to familee.

> Enter Karna who plays kabaddi(parallel to chariot race), name him Suraj(Surya putra to hain hi!), make him meet Manoj 'Veer' Bajpai's sidekick. Suraj, incidentally is the charioteer...oops driver's son. He has the entire gadget essential- two silver earrings he never parts with on-screen, a lovely lustrous red wrapper in which he is sent floating on the river(Ganges?).

> Kill more people and repeat this as often as is possible.

> Bring twists and turns. Copy the blasting off wife in the car sequence from The Godfather. Add brother in the car for an exciting twist.

Also blast off plotter-of-dad's-murder in a car sequence.

> Kill...kill...kill...

> Throw some lone-woman-fighting sentiment, suspiciously similar to Sonia Gandhi, although Katrina is not the foreen bahu and YES that is the twist in the tale and oh-so-original idea.

> Make laidee win and make brother-in-law cum ex-love interest wipe out probably, the ENTIRE opposition party itself to help her make a clean sweep.

> Make B-I-law walk off back to where he came from- his lovely USA- as if he killed no one, he saw no blood, he wreaked no havoc.

> Throw in fancy one-liners that remain sadly, just that- One liners that stick out like a sore thumb amidst the archaic Hindi- "Come, give me a hug!", "Fall in the line or fall on the wayside!" etc.

> Dress all the men, like million buck worth Arjun Rampal wear fancy white kurtis you so drool over and hottie Ranbir sport some black magical sheeny kurtas that ooze out class!

> Make all the women wear saris like they are either heritage-hotel receptionists or Air India flight steawardesses with their permanent smiles and benign eyes.

> Make some loser design the party symbol for Arjun's Jan Shakti party. What lousy colours, what a terrible design! And they even dared to display their party t-shirt in the background!!!

> Observe facts like Manoj Bajpai mixes his drinks with Appy Fizz! :D

> Notice that both bahus could have had a moment of "I'm pregnant", "So am I" dialogue, which they failed to do!

>Hindi dialogues I learnt: "kokh ki aulaat":creation of my womb; "yon soshan": sexual abuse.

Phew! The film was entertaining only in a way that it made me notice these things and exchange hearty laughs over all these and more.

It could have been so much better had Jha decided to stick to the plot rather than his inspirations. A raw gritty political story, tracing the heights and lows of being a leader of this country's political system would have not only made an interesting but also a gripping film.

But getting carried away with the Mahabharata, The Godfather and the probable Nehru-family influences has only made Rajneeti weak and predictable.

P.S.: Watch it only if it is playing at a theatre very near you and you have too much money to spare. Otherwise, wait for the cable to show it, predictably, very soon.

The convincing campaigns.
The crowd! WHOA! Must have been quite a task.
The casting coup.
The theme and conviction to make a film about politics.