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Sarkar movie review

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Cast Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Kay Kay Menon, Supriya Pathak    more...
Director Ram Gopal Varma
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The Sarkar Movie Review

'The Godfather' rehashed? Not really!
By Nitika Desai
Rating: 0.5/5

When a maverick filmmaker like Ram Gopal Varma sets out to pay his personal homage to the film that has inspired not only him but also millions of movie lovers, it's time to take serious heed.

Those who know Varma's style know that he is a man who wouldn't venture out to create a replica. And it is true that his Sarkar is his own interpretation of the Mario Puzo novel, with a few cinematic liberties.

Francis Ford Coppola's 'The Godfather' remains unparalleled till date for various reasons and it would have been wishful thinking on anyone's part to attempt to match the simmering intensity, the visual beauty and the acting performances (by the likes of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino) on celluloid once again.

Varma dares to do that. But in his own style. The Godfather (Vito Corleone) is replaced with Subhash Nagare aka Sarkar, played incredibly by Amitabh Bachchan. It is hard to say convincingly whether similarities between Sarkar and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray are incidental or deliberately created in the film.

Like the Sena chief, Sarkar too wears long silki kurtas, carries a Rudraksh mala in hand, and always has a tilak on his forehead. But similarities end here. Inside the body, Sarkar is like don Corleone.

Kay Kay Menon plays Sarkar's elder son Vishnu (similar to the hotheaded Sonny in Coppola's classic). And Abhishek Bachchan plays Shankar, the younger son. Instead of Coppola's Michael (Pacino) who was a decorated army hero, Shankar is a foreign-returned young man coming to terms with the ways of his father's work.

As the movie's story goes, Sarkar's elder son Vishnu is a film producer who kills the hero of his movie because of his affair with the movie's actress. He is estranged from the family after Sarkar decides to support the actress (a deviation from 'The Godfather').

In the meantime, Sarkar turns down a deal with a Dubai-based gangster Rashid because of ethical reasons.

Things flare up further as Sarkar's foes join hands, and with Vishnu in their tow, plan to assassinate Sarkar. They first get Sarkar arrested in a conspiracy revolving around the murder of his arch foe Khurana (Anupam Kher). Then Vishnu is given the task to assassinate him. This is where Shankar steps in to save his father.

In the first half of the movie, Abhishek Bachchan is more like a loverboy, smitten with one girl (Katrina Kaif) and being asked by his family to marry another (Tanisha). But in the second half, his character goes through a transition. Inside him we can see a sensitive son with enormous care and affection for his father. In short, in him is the making of another Sarkar. A challenging role indeed and Abhishek shines through it. The simmering anger that resonates through his facial expressions and his blood-shot eyes is too credible.

Amitabh Bachchan deliberately underplays his character Subhash Nagare (Sarkar). He lets his character speak through silent glances and muted gestures - yet another impressive performance by the superstar.

Supriya Pathak (as Sarkar's wife), Rukhsar (as Vishnu's wife) get limited roles that they nonetheless aptly play. Katrina shows improvement in her acting with broader range of expressions on her beautiful but bland face. Kay Kay Menon is another revelation of this movie.

Ram Gopal Varma grips a viewer from the very first scene when a man visits Sarkar to ask for justice for his raped daughter. The movie from then on is evenly strewn with gripping sequences - like the clash between Sarkar and Vishnu at the dinner table, the Sarkar-Rashid meeting, or the assassination attempt on Sarkar and Shankar coming to rescue.

The background music in the film seems overused at places. The climax is the highpoint.

To sum it up, Sarkar is not 'The Godfather'. It cannot even be called its rehash. But, as pointed in the beginning, it is Varma's original attempt to adapt Mario Puzo story to Indian milieu, with few liberties taken.

Worth A Watch

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Movie Review : 'The Godfather' rehashed? Not really! (0.5/5)
When a maverick filmmaker like Ram Gopal Varma sets out to pay his personal homage to the film that has inspired not only him but also millions of movie lovers, it's time to take serious heed.Those who know Varma's style know that he is a man who wouldn't venture out to create a replica. And...
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