After almost 3 months or so, a good movie was releasing in town. Rajneeti.
The long starcast -- Ranbir, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgan and Naseeruddin Shah and a bunch of others who do not deserve a mention in that esteemed league. Great reviews here, here and here. Obviously, there was company of good friends as well.
But what made the movie a "must-see" was the theme. Although the title suggests that this movie is all about politics, it is actually an modern interpretation of Mahabharat. Add to it a touch of Godfather and there was no way that S and I were going to miss it.
Godfather is one of the best movies that I have ever seen. Sarkaar was a close interpretation of Godfather and I loved that as well. But, another interpretation of the epic with Ranbir playing Michael Corleone is something that has to be seen.
But the biggest drive was Mahabharat. After having seen B.R. Chopra's version of epic during my teen years, everyone had a perception of all the characters involved. Anyone on Pandava side is a good and everyone on Kaurava side is evil. All that changed when I followed this Prem Panicker's adaptation of MT Vasudevan Nair’s Randaamoozham which itself is Mahabharat from the eyes and pen of Bheem. For all my readers, THIS BOOK is a must read, it will blow your existing perception of the characters involved.
So, with such a prelude, I HAD to see Rajneeti. I was just hoping that the reviews turn out to be true. It did...
The movie starts with a bang. The characters are introduced quickly and the lines are drawn immediately. Soon we can identify the 1:1 mapping between the Mahabharat characters and movie characters. The Godfather is blended very subtly and then the two themes go hand in hand, which is not easy, considering that both the themes are so strong in silo. Yet, their originality is preserved and tenderly intertwined in the movie.
The first half is breathtaking. The way plans are hatched, traps are plotted and the way personalities change, glues us to the seat. The usual popcorn bucket and coke glass was missing but it was never missed. This was the first time when the audience actually regretted having the interval, so good was the movie flow.e
The second half pumped up the heat and gradually the poison which was until now concealed under the flowers started surfacing. Mutual hatred, lust for power and thirst for revenge makes people take suicidal decisions and this saga is no different. It was superb.
But the part I was anxiously looking forward to was the climax. The cold gruesome finale in Godfather (especially in the book) can never be forgotten and I was really hoping that it would be chilling. Instead it turned out to be a damp squib.
The director stuck too much with the Mahabharat scheme and forgot to customize it to the today's politics scenario. Here politicians are defeated but never killed. Especially not sons of chief ministers who have ruled for about 30 years. Not in broad daylight. And more importantly, the satisfaction of defeating your rival is way better compared to winning by killing him. There is no better victory celebration than wishing a consolation hard-luck to your vanquished opponent.
The director forgot this very rule and went back to the 10000 year old war and stuck to that story line. From that point onward, the movie went on the wrong track without even trying to get back on the right one. It ended up being a wet papad instead of the crisp fried one.
But in terms of acting, no one disappointed. Ranbir Kapoor surpassed everyone and himself as well. He personified the cold and ruthless Michael Corleone and the talented Arjuna so well. He looks dignified and scary at the same time. Nana Patekar is too good. He plays the wily and cunning one with a smile -- and so well at that -- that he may well be the mastermind behind the victory. Others - Arjun Rampal, Ajay Devgan, Manoj Vajpayee, Katrina Kaif - do not let the baton fall as well.
The movie is too good, but cud have been better. Just that the bar set by Godfather and Mahabharat is so high, a superlative effort was needed to scale up to that bar. They fell short, just short.
It was dream come true, almost...