The worst part of crippling grief is the realization of having to continue to live the rest of life with it. So when Sarkar is facing perhaps the worst demon of his life towards the end of this worthy sequel, you kinda feel okay - how much more life has the old man left, anyway?
Only, perhaps that's still naive sympathy. The man is still Sarkar, with the mental makeup needed to become Sarkar. There's a sense of purpose, calculativeness and clarity of decision-making needed to become an overarching don, and that kind of approach over decades sends emotions down the hierarchy, if not straight into the dustbin. He can't be as crippled as you would perhaps be in the same situation, and he wouldn't stay that way for as long.
Then, Shankar Nagare, the son, who carries the same cold clarity of thought and ruthlessness, still asks his father how he can forget nazdeeki nuksaan
for door ka phayda
, when his wife is killed.
Yes, Sarkar Raj aims to indulge mostly in characterization - there's not as much violence as there are lines. However, it doesn't really work, and that's mostly due to the writing. There's no richness in detail, and for an attempt to delve deeper, it's too cut and dry. For example, Aishwarya Rai remarks to Abhishek on how she's never seen quite a father-son like him and Amitabh, and the brief scene before that when she's seen the two of them together for the first time doesn't really warrant such a lofty line.
The villians are none too impressive, either. Strangely for an RGV gangster movie, there's no one man who you identify as this one's Satan right till the end. And you don't know who's plotting, and what he's plotting. And why Sarkar Junior doesn't get them well in time when he knows who they are, given his reach.
The plus points of the movie, then, are mainly the standard RGV visual, music and editing effects which seem to make any movie of his look good, the starcast, and the lack of just any other options in Hindi. And yes, they make this one worth the Rs. 100 if that's what you normally spend.
Sarkar Raj deals with a Rs. 200,000 crore power plant that the CEO of a firang company, Anita Rajan (Aishwarya), wants to start in Maharashtra. However, some 40,000 people need to be displaced from their villages for that, and after initial hemming, the Nagares - Subhash (Amitabh, Sarkar) and Shankar (Abhishek) - decide to support it since it will take Maharashtra to a different level.
However, a local leader, Sanjay Somji (Rajesh Shringarpore), nephew of Rao saab (Dilip Prabhavalkar), a Gandhian revered in the area who Sarkar introduces as his mentor but which has no explanation or genuineness, turns chief rabble-rouser, inciting riots against Sarkar.
Shankar, who is championing the plant, tries to talk to Somji, but Hassan Qazi (Govind Namdeo), an enemy he's made, starts queering the pitch, starting with bombing Avantika (Tanisha), Shankar's wife, out of this world. Shankar surprisingly does not retaliate with the brute ruthlessness that is his wont (and there's no explanation why, given he knows Qazi did it), and there's a heavy price he pays for that as Qazi makes his next moves.
The movie seems to progress more in fits and starts than in a smooth and logical narration. Aishwarya has almost nothing to do - and the way she turns from ruthless corporate hotshot to almost philanthropist, without any landmark incident to catalyse her attitude shift, is as unconvincing as most other things about the film. The movie has plenty of such issues - for example, why is there so much violence and bloodshed in Somji's kidnapping? And in his rescue, where Qazi gets killed? And how come Chander takes so much risk (the explanation Sarkar gives is too esoteric)?
Amitabh's acting is a given - it's rather pointless to say he's the best in any movie. For Abhishek, this role is pretty much his niche - the frugal-with-words, no-nonsense character. Aishwarya does a what she needs to, but is she starting to look older? Sayaji Shinde seems to have little to do - his character seems shoehorned in. Rajesh Shringarpore does a fine bit as the vituperative rabble-rouser.
Sarkar Raj might have made a good watch with a neatly sewed up tale. It still stays an above-Bollywood-average flick, and like we said, given the star-power, production values and lack of options, makes for a good outing.
Also read: Sarkar