A could-have-been, wanna-be political thriller lacks the sizzle and cursorily glances over the sleaze. And yet, despite the dull lines, modern Mahabharat is a tale worth watching.
The wait for a high-octane, all-engrossing drama just became longer. But, that still doesn't mean we don't have a decent watch in hand with Raajneeti. The set-up is certainly complex and intriguing. And there are a couple of sly and conniving twists, no doubt. But, the depth is still missing. It's almost as if introducing the characters and their connections was an end by itself and not merely the beginning nor the means to get there.
Given that the characters are based on Mahabharat, it would take real skill to make them uninteresting. So, are all the characters here. In fact, if you focus only on that angle, you'll see even more curious amalgamations. For example, Nana Patekar's character, Brij, is more Krishna, but has shades of Shakuni mama and a little bit of Bheeshma too. Made me think a bit about Krishna's manipulative tactics too. And after a while, these analogies can burst out of their seams. It's best to leave these aside and just watch the film for what it is. It would also help to keep Corleones, Gandhis, and Thackerays at bay. As glaring as they are, they only serve as distractions.
And despite so much potential for complexity, the lack of details along with the creativity-challenged treatment offered to some of the situations gives you the heebie-jeebies. And as almost always, the negative lingers longer than the positive. Some of the scenes, like the one in which a character is introduced just after the previous scene alluded to him; or sundry women getting pregnant; or a woman falls in love with the "arranged" husband after he respects her wish not to be touched. Such scenes clearly didn't belong here; or the on-the-face references to the mythological epic. Oh yeah, and not to mention the deranged "item" number.
Also with the various connections and cross-connections, the film deserved a lot more in terms of flow from one sub-plot to another instead of a "my turn-my turn" shout-out by the characters whenever they were made missing-in-action for a bit.
Then there were other things that didn't go with the tone of the film like say, Prithvi's (Arjun Rampal's) sudden eccentricity. It was almost as if to say Arjun's otherwise wooden facial muscles can be chiseled into this other form - Exhibit A, B, and C presented as proof. To be fair, he was doing a decent job till then. The other usually plastic face is Katrina Kaif. Not in this one, at least in some parts. But all of you who are going to the film to see the surreal vision of the diva in a sari, please pass this one. The bits you see in the promo are almost all of what you'll see in the film too.
The film is all about Samar and Ranbir has certainly carried off the chameleon-skinned character well. My complaint though is against the almost Jekyll and Hyde conversion without any symptoms of the disorder. Many of the other actors mostly retain their first expression, despite having fairly gray characters.
This almost 3-hour affair doesn't slacken but doesn't keep you waiting for the next move either. Because somehow there's a foregone conclusion given the epic characters the film is based on.
- meetu, a part of the audience