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Politics...And Beyond


04 Jun, 2010
2 hrs 48 mins
204 votes
5 128
4 40
3 10
2 2
1 12
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After Bhanu Pratap (Khan Jahangir Khan) suffers a stroke, the reins of the party go into the hands of his brother, Chandra. Meanwhile, Bhanu`s son Prithviraj Pratap (Arjun Rampal) takes advantage of his father`s power and starts taking decisions.
The family strife thus created gives way to disputes that form the basis for the political turmoil that soon erupts.
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`Raajneeti` has a sprawling canvas, and it takes some time to figure out the characters and their motivations. Arjun Rampal is the impulsive, hot-headed Bhim. Manoj Bajpai is the scheming Duryodhan. Ranbir Kapoor the focused Arjun. Nana Patekar stars as the wise counsel Brij who represents Krishna; and Katrina Kaif plays Indu who stands for Draupadi, a pawn in this clash for ultimate power. The film`s first half is immensely engaging, the various machinations making for thrilling entertainment. It`s in the second half that `Raajneeti` stumbles. The Kunti character`s confrontation with her abandoned son, played by Ajay Devgan, lacks the required dramatic punch. Also rather unconvincing is the sudden transformation in Ranbir Kapoor`s character Samar, a subplot whose antecedents may be drawn to Michael Corleone`s initiation into his family business in `The Godfather`. ...Read full review
Nana Patekar, the Krishn like figure, manipulates from the backroom. In rajneeti, or politics, he says, Faisle sahi ya ghalat nahin hote. Unka mol toh maksad poora karne ke liye hota hai. Chahe jaise bhi ho. (Decisions taken are never right or wrong. Their worth is restricted to meeting an immediate end: by hook, or by crook). Jha, the director, makes for an odd, relatively grass-root politician among mainstream filmmakers, if you may. Back in his home state Bihar; hes known to be close to its progressive CM Nitish Kumar. Hes himself fought the general elections twice, both as a party candidate, and an independent from a hinterland constituency. Outside of a script from Karunanidhi (once a screenwriter himself), I suspect, were unlikely to get a more authentically insider account of the intrigues within state politics, suited still for blockbuster cinema. Jha also knows a thing or two about producing shock and awe on screen. This helps. ...Read full review
Raajneeti is a character-driven story with a multi-star cast. Jha doesn`t get intimidated by that. Each character is laced with betrayal and deceit. The director also adds purpose to their actions so there are no loose ends. It takes a while to get a grip on the narrative but once that`s done, the first half offers the necessary punches. The high points are the varied relationships between each of the characters. Be it Indu`s one-sided love story with Samar; the camaraderie between Veerendra and Sooraj; Samar`s strategizing with Prithvi; the silent but strong bond between Samar and Brij Gopal - it`s the drama between the protagonists that fuels up the pace. To add to this, Jha scales his film a few notches above with his sweeping crowd shots - perhaps the best in recent times. The actors themselves do a commendable job. Ajay Devgn brings intensity into every scene. He adds pathos and affliction to his character. Ranbir Kapoor gets the meatiest part and makes the best of it. From candid to sharp to calculating, he brings forth the transformation brilliantly. Arjun Rampal may not look like a politician but this is one of his finest performances. Manoj Bajpayee is the surprise packet and shines in every scene. Nana Patekar excels in the brooding moments. Katrina Kaif plays her lovelorn act convincingly. Her body language is amazing in the last 10 minutes of the film. You can`t imagine anyone else playing Indu. ...Read full review
Skillfully dealt with, this may not necessarily be a problem, but here Jha is in masala mode, a lethal combination considering he`s serving us the single oldest plot we`ve known as a nation, randomly meshed together with the most iconic American film of all time, The Godfather. Therefore, absolute predictability, which, combined with an ensemble cast uniformly reduced to amoral caricatures, results in a film that only works if you take friends along and provide your own laughter and commentary track. It starts off relatively alright, if a trifle too bombastic. The narrator shoves the film at us mercilessly, throwing up characters of all kinds, essentially till we get used to the who`s who. There are some initial moments of quirky allegory and even moments of political stratagem, before things start going boom. And then, prodded along by the ludicrous need to go from Kunti`s pregnancy to Duryodhan`s death in three hours, all of politics is reduced to gang-war, and all dialogue to pure bluster. ...Read full review
Director Prakash Jha has always been a master story-teller (remember Gangajal, Apharan). This time, his political thriller unfolds as the quintessential Pandava-Kauravas conflict from the Mahabharata, with most of its characters tracing their antecedents to the epic. And that brings us to the second high point of Raajneeti: its fleshy and form-filled characterisations. If you go character-spotting, it won`t take long before you discover a modern-day Yudhishthir in Arjun Rampal, an Arjuna in Ranbir Kapoor, a Krishna in Nana Patekar, a Duryodhana in Manoj Bajpayee and a Karna in Ajay Devgn. And as these half-brothers fight out their brutal war for the political domination of the state, spilling over with its dynastic and caste politics, you begin to see shades of The Godfather too in Ranbir Kapoor`s interpretation of Arjuna. The young actor presents an engrossing desi portrait of Michael Corleone as Samar, the reluctant, albeit ruthless rookie who plays the political game with masterful strokes. Setting aside his academic ambitions to teach in NYU, he is thrown into the deadly vortex after an untimely assassination and learns the rules of the unethical political sport, faster than anybody else. Of course, he does have the experienced stalwart, Nana Patekar by his side, to guide him, his explosive, impulsive elder brother, Arjun Rampal to hug him, vivacious childhood buddy, Indu (Katrina Kaif) to adore him and American girlfriend Sara (Sara Thompson) to whisper sweet-nothings in broken Hindi to him....But by and large, he strategises alone, like Mikey in his high-backed chair, and unleashes one bloody ace - from up his sleeve - after the other. And, there is little the rival camp, headed by Manoj Bajpayee and Ajay Devgn, can do, other than hiss, rave and rant. Absolutely engrossing fare. ...Read full review
Bhaskar Sanyal [Naseruddin Shah], the fire-brand leftist leader, is feared for his single-handed ability to challenge the most powerful of leaders. Until one private mistake of his hurtled him into a self-imposed exile. Cut to the present day. Prithvi [Arjun Rampal] is the heir to a powerful political legacy and impatient to seize the top position. But his cousin, Veerendra [Manoj Bajpayee], proves his biggest political opponent. He`s a man who believes he was born to rule and who will now stop at absolutely nothing to claw his way back to the top. Cornered by family and political colleagues, Veerendra plays a new game: He picks up Sooraj [Ajay Devgn], a youngster with anger in his heart and leadership on his mind. Sooraj doesn`t know the secret behind his identity, which, of course, is revealed much, much later. Prithvi`s brother Samar [Ranbir Kapoor] is an `outsider`, with no political aspirations, but he gets sucked into the battle-ravaged arena of family rivalry. Only to turn into a master of the craft of political warfare. Indu [Katrina Kaif], daughter of a wealthy industrialist, is also caught in this web. Last but not the least, there`s Brij Gopal [Nana Patekar], who plays the role of mentor and guide to Prithvi and Samar as the battle gets bloodier by the day. ...Read full review