Joined: 08 June 2006
Joined: 21 October 2004
Joined: 18 March 2009
Joined: 24 June 2008
Joined: 18 March 2009
Joined: 27 February 2006
Joined: 24 June 2008
Joined: 24 June 2008
Director: Prakash Jha
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Katrina Kaif, SUVs, cars galore
Rating: 2 stars
Ola, a leftist activist carries that classic jhola. After disrupting a political rally, he is visited by a woman, a much-younger comrade. Dread. She dances in the first rainfall of the season (wish we could do the same, actually). He joins in. Treason! They curl up in bed. Together. Convinced that this is his ek hi bhool, the man vanishes into a cyclone. He never reappears, he doesn't even phone. The rain dancin' woman is pregnant. Uh duh.
Incidentally, Naseeruddin Shah is that Jhola Man. And he's assigned, probably the sexiest one scene of his career, in Prakash Jha's Rajneeti an overbloated, over-hyped, self-proclaimed allegory on the Mahabharata. Don't you believe that, guys, because this is not even in the class of Shyam Benegal's infinitely superior take on the epic (Kalyug, 1981). In effect, it has been majorly 'inspired' by Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather. Sorry to say, though, here's an offer you can safely refuse. Grunt, it has no exclusive Brand(o)-value at all.
In fact, the result's one enormous 19-reeler punishment of a movie, a harangue which revels in the cliches of corruption, police venality,media 'stupidity', furtive sex and gleeful violence. Honestly, Jha has exposed the endemic weaknesses of the body politic far more insightfully in works ranging from the micro-budgeted Daamul to Gangaajal and Aparahan.Those efforts were worth saluting, this one's worth comfy stretches of siesta. Or you can even amble out of the auditorium for a stroll, return, and you won't miss anything. Except maybe an extra scowl or two from the mega-furious Manoj Bajpai. Hai hai.
So believe it or snooze, the screenplay co-hacked with Anjum Rajabali, amounts to little more than a taxing cavalcade of shiny cars entering in and out of frame (at least 25 scenes feature automobiles gliding into a Padmalaya studio-like mansion). Plus, the dramaturgy's opening reels are brain-addling: you strive to figure out who's-who, and why-where on earth. Absolutely no mirth, or entertainment.
Heavier than a cement slab, the plot lightens up only when the women saunter in to grin-a-grin, toss manes of hair, uncork champagne, or display a cleavage in return for an election ticket. And woohoo, a disco-numbah is swiftly switched off, as if Jha was embarrassed by moves of his item gal Barkha Bisht. This is strictly not yappening. In the name of political cinema, his multitude of characters particularly Katrina Kaif and Ajay Devgan enter and re-enter rooms like highly irregular college students. As if to just fill in their attendance quota. Eeesh.
The 'story' is a cat's cradle of confusion, complication and perspiration. Occasionally, it is an unintentional hoot, too, like one of the guys here returning from America where he's ben writing his Ph D. thesis on the "subtext of violence in Victorian literature". Ha-ha-ha- out-LOUD? Absolutely. Curiously still, an American mamma is shown ironing clothes solemnly, she fetches up in India later, and looks super-tough like Ironlady 2.
And there are such incendiary lines of dialogue, as a Dalit complaining, "We are the power but our buttons are pressed by someone else." Industrialists, are you listening? By the way,the Dalits are hopelessly caricatured, and eventually succumb to the dynasty in power. Surely if Dalit politics is to be discussed at all, Jha has to take a clear stand where or what his ideology is instead of just planting it like some cactus in his glamour garden. Don't d..d..dawdle.
The Kamala Nehru Park-style of backdrop set up by Jha exists in a la-la-land, part Bollywood, part Hollywood. Here the elder generation is bumped off (Bang, you dead mistah) or despatched to a hospital suite (it even carries a huge sign saying TOILET..was it shot in the hospital's lobby?). Oink?
Meanwhile meanie beanie Manoj Bajpai (in unsuitable shiny outfits and geled hair) wants to control the candidate lists of the approaching elections (aren't they always around the corner in the movies?). Meanie's arch-foe turns out to be Arjun Rampal, who is modelled on Sonny Corleone, temperamental, sexually charged and generally grrr grrr. Next: Much blah-blah-boo-boo transpires till his younger bro, Ranbir Kapoor, jets in from the US. His Victorian literature thesis can wait. Ewww.
More: Baby Bro becomes Michael Corleone, toughening up, thanks presumably to his workouts in a mental gymanasium. A mega-moneybags who funds elections wants Michael to marry his bitiya, the champagne-popping Katrina Kaif, as long as Mikey promises to become Chief Minister. So much mantri mantra, it hurts.
Err but Baby Bro wants Sonny Bro to become CM. Ergo Katrina is married off to Arjun, who instantly becomes asexual and sleeps on a slim diwan. No dil tera diwan for him. Does it all end here? No, no, no, way. Baby Bro's Victorian galfriend (Chestnut Hair) arrives from New York, Boston, or wherever. And like the Diane Keaton of yore, she is horrified to find that her Victorian Man is involved in politics, kidnappings and murders. "I'm Irish. My father died in a terrorist bomb blast in Ireland," she sobs, but says she will tolerate all that jazz-bazz because she is pregnant with his child. Loads of pregancies here, maaaan.
Enough. The body count multiplies faster than rabbits. Enough, enough, cars crash since they too must have death scenes. Enough. Stop!
Technically, the cinematography is easy on the eyes, the editing is difficult on even the most Zen-person's patience, and the music score is eminently forgettable.
Jha's direction is self-indulgently repetitive. To his credit, he handles the crowd scenes with exceptional mastery, but that's about it.
On the acting front, Nana Patekar as the dynasty advisor, keeps smiling as if were competing with Mona Lisa. Ajay Devgan, as the Dalit firebrand, believes in glower power till he become irritating.
The bad news is that Katrina Kaif still cannot act for nuts almonds or cashews. Her Hindi dialogue is sing-song and her speech at a public rally is flat as an uttapam. On the other hand, Arjun Rampal is impressive, moving effortlessly between the grey and black shades of his desi Corleone.
Incontestably Rajneeti, or whatever there is of it, belongs to Ranbir Kapoor. He is excellent intelligent and restrained in an enterprise which is strictly average, never mind its star roster, extravagant resources and bulldozer publicity. Suggestion: instead rent The Godfather DVD or never thought, I'd live to say this Sarkar.
Bottomwhine: Need an ice-pack for a headache.
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