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Raajneeti movie review

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Raajneeti

Cast Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgan, Ranbir Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai    more...
Director Prakash Jha
Drama / General.
Hindi

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The Raajneeti Movie Review

Mahabharata with Godfather twist
By Naresh Kumar Deoshi
Rating: 3/5

The Mahabharata gets a Godfather twist? Neither the wise sage Vyasa nor the Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola might approve of this desi-videsi fry-up, but all votes go to director Prakash Jha for pulling off a daring coup in his latest film Raajneeti.

To begin with, Jha has a star studded cast ensemble with two crowd pullers to his side. Then he spins out a plot inspired by the tale of feuding cousin brothers from the epic Mahabharata which many Indians know better than the back of their hand. The motley bunch of characters in the film are clear cardboard cut-outs of Arjun, Karna, Duryodhana, Yudhishthara, Dhritrashtra, Kunti and even Krishna. And though there’s no drunken game of dice nor Draupadi cheer haran, Jha does embellish his tale of political conspiracy, one-upmanship and righteous battle with ample smattering of ‘The Godfather’.

So we have a family divided by the political faultlines of a state in central India. The Pandavas are represented by the Pratap brothers - Samar (Ranbir Kapoor) and Prithvi (Arjun Rampal), while standing up for Kauravas is the wily Veer (Manoj Bajpai) and his dalit friend, the Bhaskar-putra Sooraj (Ajay Devgan).

Trouble starts when Veer’s father is paralyzed after a heart stroke and the reins of the Rashtravadi Party fall into the hands of Prithvi, and not Veer. What follows is a dirty game of politics in which Veer, blinded by his greed for power, goes hammer and tongs after his rivals - that is his cousins - and tries to put a decisive end to their political careers. That’s when the America-returned Samar (Ranbir), new to the badlands of Indian polity, rises to the occasion and, guided by the ever calm and composed Brij Gopal (Nana Patekar), plays the shrewdest game of politics, not even sparing the unsuspecting Indu (Katrina Kaif) who’s madly in love with Samar though he loves her not.

Ranbir’s character Samar is the most intriguing of the lot and it’s here Jha takes his liberties, giving the modern-day Arjun shades of gray and making him more of a cold hearted desi Michael Corleone whose transformation begins after the assassination of his father and a cheek-swelling slap by a police officer. Must say Jha doesn’t resort to subtlety in paying his homage to the Coppola flick. There are more scenes that are crudely lifted from the 1972 American masterpiece.

These and a few odd stitches apart (including a club song), Raajneeti remains mostly a riveting watch. The performances by the cast are good, but it’s Manoj Bajpai playing the modern-day Duryodhana who steals everyone’s thunder. Ranbir gets the most screen time but is decidedly passive in his expressions. Naseeruddin Shah has a very marginal role of a leftist leader who, after an impulsive lovemaking night with his comrade (Kunti of the plot) which he calls “dosh”, walks off into oblivion, while she gives birth to her first child (Karna) out of wedlock. Not hard to guess that the child is abandoned and grows up to be the strapping young man Karna, played by the perennially broody Ajay Devgan. Arjun Rampal who’s less of a Yudhishthara than the hot-headed Sonny Corleone, doesn’t deliver anything stellar. Katrina Kaif and Sarah Thompson (playing Ranbir’s American girlfriend) are mostly reduced to the margins but step in the drama in the second half.

In a single swipe, Jha tries to cover many an issue in Raajneeti: the rubber-stamp governments, the haggling over seats before elections, the use of media by the politicians and the hacking of EVMs. And he does succeed in stitching together a fine film that will intrigue, amuse and entertain you.

Raajneeti has its moments of intensity and poignancy. Though the bloodbath in the end is a letdown coz political rivals don’t go gunning each other down (we haven’t reached that point yet in Indian polity), the Geeta updesh by Nana admonishing Ranbir to do his karma in the kurukshetra of politics is somewhat a redeemer in the end.

Rating : 3 out of 5

User Reviews for Raajneeti

 (15)
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facebook55
starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar(4.5/5)
23 Aug 2010
Good
The presentation of the movie was very good .
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sukhmehar
starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar(0.5/5)
04 Jul 2010
hmm
it was a good movie but the scenes were a bit embarracing as their were many children else there was no song and that made the movie boring!!....
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pusbang
starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar(4/5)
01 Jul 2010
raajneeti
arjun your roll is fantastic in raajneeti.
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preethi24
starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar(4.5/5)
18 Jun 2010
Raajneeti - superb
Fantastic movie.
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xxx567
starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar(4/5)
13 Jun 2010
Not Bad.......
Not a bad movie.. Worth being watched once.The story line playing around Mahabharat...... it didn't made that much sense as in Mahabharat it was
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Movie Review : Mahabharata with Godfather twist (3/5)
The Mahabharata gets a Godfather twist? Neither the wise sage Vyasa nor the Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola might approve of this desi-videsi fry-up, but all votes go to director Prakash Jha for pulling off a daring coup in his latest film Raajneeti. ...
Music Review : Riveting Songs (4/5)
Music is certainly not the high point of Prakash Jha’s films but the director makes an exception with his multi-starrer Raajneeti in which he teams up again with the composer Wayne Sharp, whose knowledge of Indian music isn’t hampered by his foreign origin....
Most Favourable User Review : About raajneeti (5/5)
It is a very good movie all about politics and here has been shown that how one political party splitsinto two different... more
Most Critical User Review : hmm (0.5/5)
it was a good movie but the scenes were a bit embarracing as their were many children else there was no song and that ma... more
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