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Ok, this is a review that I had been wanting to write ever since I saw it three weeks back. In that time, I saw, much to my surprise, that it was becoming a grosser…I wonder why…
But first of all my impression. It is plainly apparent that Jha is a big fan of the Godfather series and that he has borrowed heavily from the movie (he admitted as such – he used the word ‘inspired’ not borrowed though). In the mixture, he also put in themes from Mahabharata.
For someone who has literally grown up on the cult classics like the Godfather (both the movie and the book – both masterpieces in their own right), ‘Rajneeti’ proved to be a sort of a farcical déjà vu.
Scenes have been lifted unapologetically from the movies – the hospital scene, the horse head scene , the killing of the traitor in the car, the shooting of the don, the car bomb scene which effectively combined the Sonny shooting scene and the death of Pacino’s pregnant wife, the transformation of the reluctant youngest son to the ruthless don…though none of them came close to the drama of the original
It was really too much. He should have just labelled the movie – ‘Rajneeti – Godfather scenes included’ or something. I don't quite fathom how someone like Jha could stoop so low to become akin to Anu Malik of direction. Either he thinks that the Indian audience wont care that the movie that they are seeing is a rip off (in which he seems to be dead right) or that the majority have not seen the original or both…unfortunately, he seems to be right…
The question to be asked is – could one relate to it? A police inspector slapping the member of the one of the most powerful political families in India?A gang-war happening within a political party which ends up decimating everyone? I mean really, what works in the environment of Mafia ridden New York of 1940s transplanted into the Indian political environment seems absurd. You don't kill powerful opponents in the middle of the road – its not Corleone vs. Tattaglias. I mean imagine Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharti going out on physical decimation wars. Police inspectors don't slap heirs to the political thrones, as they might have done to heirs to mafia families on the decline.
And I don't see the similarity to Congress that everyone kept talking about. True, every effort was made to make Kaif look like Sonia Gandhi (the wave especially and the accented Hindi coming naturally) and her husband was assassinated but that's that…Just pre-launch hype.
The end result? I just remember multiple scenes of Mahindra Scorpios screaming their sirens coming into identical looking mansions and people with a put on air of mystery and menace streaming in. This scene must have looked admirable enough for the director to have repeated it atleast three dozen times. I also remember lot of individual scenes which seemed to have been stitched together just because they looked good in godfather (and made perfect sense there though sadly, not here). I was almost cringing as waves of déjà vu washed over me.
And as I said, in the sad admixture, Jha puts in elements of Mahabharata – of Draupadi and Karn (or Karan). Again, the scenes seemed forced. Put in because it suited somebody’s fancy and not because it had to make sense.
The acting was terrible except to some extent from Ranbeer, though the transformation was not convincing as in the case of Pacino. Patekar looked the part maybe because these are the roles he usually does – so outside the comfort zone for him. Kaif was wooden and Manoj Bajpai was excruciatingly over the top. Devgan did not have the meat in the role to make an impact. And I didnt quite figure out why they put Naseerudin Shah in the credits…He had barely five minutes and his contribution consisted solely of siring an illegitimate child.
The plot made no sense. One thread did not follow the other. Truthfully, if it was a series, would have made more sense. Three odd hours was too short for all that was shown to be given meat. By the time, the movie winded to a halt after some senseless twists and turns, I was so weary and nauseated, I wanted to take a stiff drink.
And then it turns out that it was a hit!!! I think that the reason would be that we don't have a mature political genre for the movies. The last movie in that genre was the excellent and sophisticated “Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi”. The genre and the look and feel of the movie is different from the usual stable. Plus we are political without knowing it and it seemed like a movie that would mix politics and intrigue – a deadly combination!!! Plus for someone who hasnt devoured Godfather, some of the scenes would look very interesting and arresting…More film makers should look at this genre and more of the “Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi” please. “Rajneeti” would not be more than attractive junk for more mature audiences…
So Jha wins on the back of the inexperience of the movie going public…alls fair in politics and movie making it seems…
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