Monday, June 14, 2010

Rajneeti - A commentary on the dark underbelly of Indian Politics

Violence begets violence and hate begets more hate! - the axiom on which Rajneeti is built.

 In a country, where many states from Jammu and Kashmir in the north to Tamilnadu in the South practice dynasty politics, where rhetoric fetches votes more than concrete policies and execution, where politics has appropriated prime time television's entertainment space and where the boundaries between private and public space is increasingly a blur, Rajneeti is like a mirror, a shade more melodramatic and perhaps a shade too conspicuously violent at that. At the outset, the critics seem to have lavished generous praise on what is a typical masala movie. 

What works in favor of Rajneeti?  

  1. Fine acting by the star cast -
    • Ajay Devghan - After Gangajal and Apaharan, we see Ajay again outperforming himself in a role that was the most difficult to play 
    • Ranbir Kapoor - as a scheming brother always trying to get a "one-up" on the challenger 
    • Katrina Kaif - comes across struggling in the eye-candy scenes while carrying herself remarkably well in the weighty ones
    • Nana Patekar - a natural fit for the role he plays
    • Manoj Bajpai - good but was something wrong with his make-up? 
    • Arjun Rampal - the character you actually feel a lot of sympathy for.    
      2. The screenplay by Prakash Jha and Anjum Rajabali is pacy and raw.
      3.  A heady mix of melodrama, action and Mahabharat style rendering of story.
      4. Presenting a picture of the Indian polity as a bunch of power hungry, morally                 unscrupulous, manipulative and corrupt men.

What doesn't work?

  1. The political language employed in some sequences sounded discordant with the age we live in. 
  2. The see-saw battle within the family - cliches of rape and murders. 
  3.  Absence of songs - for an intense movie, some songs could have been thrown in...the album has some decent numbers from multiple composers, my favorite being 'Mora Piya'.
The movie was a bit of a letdown despite the fine acting on display. For a movie based on politics, there was very little realism. The effort towards basing the movie loosely on the characters of the Mahabharata was unique and one can comfortably say, successful too especially the characters of Kunthi and Karna standing out! Deserving mention is also the fact that the movie had no real hero, perhaps because of the moral dubiousness of all the characters. The costume was hard on the eye with little variety. Overall, a watchable movie with nothing great or appreciable to take away. 

On a personal level, I went for a movie with friends after a long long time. We had good fun on the way to Mayajaal and on the way back singing some memorable numbers. The oldies again ruled. We seem to have a fascination for them, no matter how modern we consider ourselves to be!!

Continue reading at your own risk:

Now that I am about to complete the first term of the PGPM, I couldn't help thinking - 

  1. Were the brand elements of the two parties shown in the movie impactful to get into the customer's (the junta here) cognitive space?
  2. Wasn't internal family battle a case of 'Prisoner's dilemma' with the two sides always competing and losing more in each successive round, never for a moment, exploring cooperation?
  3. From a philosophical standpoint, isn't the concept of Nyaya always more appealing than rigid Niti?


Anonymous said...

Did rajneeti, have a perfect mix of 3Cs and 4Ps?

nidhinuts said...

Q: Can you resemanticize the story in 1 word?
A: Yes... Mahabharat...

Shiva said...

@ Amar: No man, now that you got me thinking, I think it had!! :)

@ Nidhi: Good one :)

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雅信 said...

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$$ said...

Now, i have to watch this movie for sure! :)

BTW... the new template is good; a change is always welcome! :)