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Movie Review: Raajneeti (Hindi) 112

Raajneeti was undoubtedly among the most awaited films of this year. Coming from a director known for skills at political thrillers that are unabashedly brutal, this one is no different. While violence and killings may not suit everyone’s palette thus bringing on some criticism, one cannot deny it the credit for a fast paced script and in-your-face approach. The galaxy of actors makes sure that you don’t get bored either.

It begins with the incapacitation of Bhanu Pratap, the leader of Rashtrawadi Party that brings out the battle between cousins in the open. It is Prithvi (Arjun Rampal), the son of Bhanu’s brother seen batting the ambitions of Bhanu’s own son Veerendra (Manoj Bajpai) who is miffed at being overlooked for the party president post. The latter then befriends a youth leader Sooraj Kumar (Ajay Devgn) who becomes his man Friday.

The scene is now dotted with political murders. Following his father’s killing, Samar (Ranbir Kapoor) vows revenge and engineers a string of killings and political moves including a marriage of convenience with Indu (Katrina) just to see his brother Prithvi win. But unknown to them and to Sooraj is that the latter is their step brother, born out of the affair between their mother and leftist Bhaskar Sanyal (Naseeruddin Shah).

To a large extent, the tale seems to have its roots in the Mahabharata. While Rampal & Ranbir play Bhima & Arjuna, Katrina is Draupadi. With Ajay Devgn being Karna, his mother is Kunti and her brother Nana Patekar, Krishna. The antagonist Manoj Bajpai is the obvious Duryodana. Parallels to The Godfather can’t be ruled out either as Bhim and Arjun here are in a way similar to Mario Puzo’s Sonny and Michael Corleone.

Contrary to the extent that the promos had projected her role, Katrina didn’t have much to do. An eye candy in the beginning, a political pawn in between and a grieving widow who turns victorious in the end is all about it. In effect, Jha has come out clean from allegations of her role being based on a leading political matriarch.

The most commendable effort here is in Production design, chiefly in making political rallies look realistic. Following this are the script and editing that only slip up by adding a song in between that is sorely a misfit. The strength of its story is also the fact that Raajneeti doesn’t take sides or make moral judgments. The occasional ‘yeh raajneeti hai’ (this is politics) aptly describes the settings and puts events in perspective.

If the political drama regularly seen in the media is not good enough for you, or if you are keen on watching it all summarized in 3 hours, Raajeeti is the film for you.

Rating: 7/10: Fast paced story and credible performances make it worthwhile!

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