Prakash Jha’s Raajneeti is a battle epic, fought between two sides who have, at first, the hunger for power, and later, the thirst for revenge. Thrilling from the start, this political drama sucks you in before you can resist its force, and Prakash Jha, with Raajneeti, has made a commercial blockbuster while making sure it remains a unique product, a film unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Prakash Jha takes from The Mahabharat: An unwed mother parts with her newborn, cousins warring for ultimate power, a maternal uncle who guides, the bad cousin who befriends the bastard son, and reasoning to kill unarmed foes.
The dispute between the two sides causes the party to divide, and so begin the extreme measures taken by both the sides to destroy the opposition and win the election. It’s Arjun Rampal, Ranbir Kapoor and Nana Patekar versus Manoj Bajpai and Ajay Devgn. There are many well-layered subplots, and you don’t mind the heaviness of Raajneeti coming at you so fast; in fact, the wonderfully ruthless editing gives all the scenes an appearance of being highlighted, and you might not realize the film is three hours long.
Prakash Jha shows political rallies in a mind-boggling way. He also extracts super-performances from all. The talented Mr Bajpai gets a role to sink his teeth into and he chomps away, and takes over Raajneeti along with Arjun Rampal and Ranbir Kapoor. Arjun Rampal is surprisingly brilliant, and for Ranbir Kapoor it’s yet another seemingly effortless performance. Katrina Kaif acts, too… and eventually enters politics. Raajneeti has a story that gives all the actors space and time to act it out. As for the oldies, Naseerudin Shah puts in a special appearance, and Nana Patekar is the wise maternal uncle who plays politics without raising his voice. Anyway, the movie’s unpredictability is what will keep you hooked, and you might even be sad when you realize it’s about to end.
Prakash Jha’s Raajneeti is a high-voltage political drama that you need to go watch right now.
By Aditya Mehta