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Raajneeti Review

Deepa Garimella / fullhyd.com
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait to rent it
Some might call Raajneeti a much brighter, friendlier version of the grittier, more morose Sarkar. Some might call it a watery version of the infinitely more splendid Mahabharata. The naïve, however, might simply be able to enjoy Raajneeti for its more apparent worth.

Though it possesses an instantly engaging cinematic splendour, Raajneeti is like any other political drama. And by any, we mean any. There is betrayal, plotting, scheming, cold blooded murder, pawns being shifted all over ruthlessly, and basically, unusually well-groomed political leaders who smoulder their way through it all.

In brief, Samar Pratap (Ranbir Kapoor) and his brother Prithviraj Pratap (Arjun Rampal) must manage their inherited political legacy after their father gets assassinated. They have a ruthless rival in their first cousin Veerendra Pratap (Manoj Bajpai), who, Duryodhana-style, joins hands with local Dalit poster boy Sooraj (Ajay Devgn). Sooraj happens to be Samar's mother's first child, born out of wedlock (jyeshth putr, if you must).

Scruples are a luxury here, and so are feelings. Everyone plays at this game, and everyone who does, loses some.

Raajneeti is realistic cinema to the extent that the settings are rural, the crowds are large, the conflicts are genuine, the field of political strategy has been understood, and there are people like Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn and Manoj Bajpai in the cast. There are powerful moments, that come in mostly when the said smouldering bunch does its said smouldering bit.

However, you quickly realize that you've seen it all before. It isn't just the fact that the role of Sooraj, one of the film's key characters, has been all-too-obviously adapted - end-to-end - from Vyasa's Karna.

For one thing, it is the fact that political games by themselves can hardly get any fresher or more novel; they've remained the same for millennia. And then, the film has some rather cheesy confrontations and resolutions to certain issues, helped along by contrived dialogue in some parts. There's also the danger of the heavy duty shuddh Hindi alienating local Hyderabadi audiences somewhat.

The lopsided promos of Raajneeti, for their part, have managed to sideline the issue of predictability in the script. There is no central female character here, and the only women who are involved in this testosterone chess board are involved purely because of their "feminity" or "sexuality" (or "vulnerability", whichever the politically more correct word is).

Katrina Kaif's waving to the crowds lasts for a total of about 3 minutes - and it comes in at the end of her defeating battle with her feelings for the conniving Samar Pratap. Sarah Thompson plays Samar's girlfriend and fulfils the role of a foreigner who is freaked out at the brutality of Indian politics. Shruti Seth plays a Mahila party worker who uses her body in vain to get a party ticket. The mother, of course, has given birth to the wronged son Sooraj.

The actors are in top form, as expected. Though you'd have expected more of Naseeruddin Shah the leftist, there's much meat in the rest of the acting department as well. Devgn, Nana Patekar and Bajpai are every bit as impressive as always. Ranbir Kapoor seems an actor mature beyond his years and his experience, and has great screen presence.

And despite her much-publicized look and research behind this role, Kaif has miles to go in the acting department. She's vibrant and refreshing to look at, though, and that possibly makes up for a lot else.

Raajneeti's visuals have pomp and stateliness, and an overall cinematic pleasantness. It is the kind of movie where rural grime is a concept that must be dealt with by the story rather than be romanticized by the camera; and the kind of movie where political bigwigs live, debate and negotiate in swanky and scrubbed-clean interiors.

The music is pretty powerful as well, except for one misfit of an item song.

Well, it's merely among the better films Bollywood has come out with this summer. Watch it if you're curious to see what "better" means.
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Raajneeti (hindi) reviews
Rating is quick and easy - try it!
  • Cast
    Ranbir Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Nana Patekar, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpai, Katrina Kaif, Shruti Seth, Sarah Thompson
  • Music
    Wayne Sharpe
  • Director
    Prakash Jha
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
Can watch again - No
Good for kids - No
Good for dates - No
Wait to rent it - No
singhprashast2011 on 9th Sep 2015, 8:26pm | Permalink
Watching political drama films is not in my routine list. Thus my review may not appeal to each and everyone. It's true that Prakash Jha is a master at making Political films, but its also true that he faltered to handle such a sensitive subject.

Raajneeti is a predictable political revenge saga that has no soul in itself. The positive efforts of the film are overshadowed by damp writing, poor direction, and of course, a very 'political' type of routine screenplay.

The film starts off well. Till the interval, many things go well. However, a poorly scripted second half just doesn't impress.

Talking of the performances, every actor, except Katrina, gives an immensely powerful performance. Rather, performances are the only redeeming feature of this film. The music is charming, but was however, not just needed at all. The cinematography is excellent. The climax of the film is well scripted.

Talking about what's not good in the film, its obvious that a poor writing and characterization kills the film. Although you see Naseeruddin Shah in all posters prominently, you don't get to see him for more than 2 or 3 minutes. Ranbir Kapoor's character is the worst scripted. One is lost in translation, thinking whether his character is positive or negative. There are various moments where you realize that the film's canvas was very big and the subject could have been exploited better. But, the film falls short of all the expectations one makes from this film.

But, there are a few scenes, which really deserve praise. The sequences involving Ajay Devgn are simply the best ones. Apart from this, there is nothing you can expect from this film.

On the whole, Raajneeti is a film that never takes itself seriously in terms of doing justice to its subject, but does take itself too seriously in terms of being a "Raajneeti" as a bad film. If you like such political revenge sagas, watch it, otherwise, avoid it with no regrets. Heavily disappointing.

Pros: Climax and performance by all. Nothing else.
Cons: Poor story, execution, Ranbir Kapoor's poor characterization, excessive politics!
digitaldreamz on 23rd Jun 2010, 6:03pm | Permalink
only Raaj no Neeti
It's more like a gangster movie rather than a political background movie. we will only feel happy after watching the movie that Indian politics are not as violent as depicted in the movie with so many gun shots and bombings with in the parties.
Except for a couple of plots, nothing was interesting. Arjun rampal is the best of the entire heavy star cast. Katrina can never fit the role with her english slang hindi. Nana patekar is utterly unused.
Ajay devgan's emotional background reminds that hindi cinema can never change in some areas. Manoj and Ajay justified their roles.
One more thing i wonder is "are the politicians not aware of any contraceptives these days?"
The strongest man in the movie is the one who has a heart attack and still survive defeating other family members in the race of life

Pros: Arjun rampal and Ajay devgan
Cons: Poor story line
Saradhi on 5th Jun 2010, 11:55am | Permalink
Not a great movie. A modern day Mahabharat. Performances are outstanding. Script is very poor. A political movie should be political with variations in situations. Everything is predictable in the movie. Nothing great. 3 hours of head ache.

Pros: Casting
Cons: Script, violence
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