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Review - Rajneeti: less chess more monopoly

Rajneeti

quick review:

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.

[Poster for Rajneeti]

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

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads. Gun fights, brutal murders, rapes, etc.
  • Language: A few swear words in Hindi and a few beeped out words.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A couple of lip-pecks, lip-locks, and love-making scenes each
  • Concept: Familial and regional politics, the story of a political family.
  • General Look and Feel: Serious drama.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3
  • Story: 3
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 2
  • Dialogues: 2
  • Screenplay: 2
  • Music Director: 2
  • Lyrics: 1

Rajneeti - Movie Details

Rajneeti - Trailer

Comments (30)

meetu:

@moviebhakt yeah...the problem is expecting too much. And yeah, Kalyug is one of my all-time favorites. Something along the same lines, I loved New Delhi Times too...

Mr. Inkenti:

Meetu,

I am excited about this film too, but wary about the three hours duration.

This whole modern day Mahabharata also freaks me out...our guys are not capable of such adaptation. Sorry.

Also, i fear it may be only about angry and serious faces, expressions, and lines...will it have a deadly plot?

Lets see...

meetu:

@moviebhakt do that and let us know what you think.

@Mr.Inketi well, i watched it just a little while ago. review coming up soon ;)

meetu:

@lost in confusion, thanks for the feedback. Maybe, i haven't mapped my tastes in films against those parameters. Would be a very interesting study though. :)
Re: Raavan - i hope so too :)

pondy:

Meetu,

If you have been following the decline of Times of India (quality-wise, not quantity - I know its the largest selling English daily in the world blah blah), I feel that your reviews too are undergoing a similar pattern:
Rajneeti: less chess more monopoly
Kites: Plummets into an abyss
Paathshaala: I don't want to go to school
Prince: citizens take cover, hide, quick!
Blue: In Deep Water
I hope you get what I am trying to say here. Aren't some of the movies cheesy enough without the titles you put on your reviews?

One more important thing: The first thing that got me hooked to your reviews was 'wogma'. I hope you remember what it stands for. Just go through some of your earlier reviews, and you'll know what I mean.

Oh yes, and it is Corleones!

meetu:

@pondy thanks for the feedback, man! So far, I've received only positive feedback for the titles. Will try hard to be better at them. The idea is to tell readers quickly what I think of the film, for those who are not interested in knowing the why and what.

I take the name of the site very, very seriously. I know I've started giving a bit of the ambience and sometimes describe a scene or two, to justify a particular observation, but that has also been based on feedback i've received. Also having seen the movie, I'm choose to describe only those parts that are not central to the plot.

Nevertheless, I'd really appreciate it, if you could point out exactly where you thought there was a lapse.

Typo corrected - thanks for pointing it out.

Jitaditya:

So what abt ajay devgan?...read somewhere else tht he has been sidelined in the process...tht is sad because he has always done well with jha...

meetu:

@Jitaditya well, I won't say he's sidelined because the role he was playing wast that of a sidelined character. So we can say, "it was what the script demanded" In fact, that's true of all characters, that balance has been managed pretty well.

Bollyfan:

And we agree...after a long time. :-)

pondy:

e.g. in the above review, you give away too much information on the characters that the actors are portraying:
Nana: Manipulative, krishna-esque (i for one did not know that it was based on chars from Mahabharata.)
Ranbir: chameleon-skinned
These things may take out the impact of certain events in the story, making it a less enjoyable experience.
as an example (just an example): If I am writing a review of the Sixth Sense, and I say Bruce Willis has given a convincing performance as the ghost who doesn't know he's dead (extreme, i know), I may not be surprised at the climax of the movie, right?

mlost:

Leave Rajneeti, tell me whr did you watch New Delhi Times and is it available any whr right now.. M dying to watch it..

Bollyfan:

@pondy : Huge difference between the two examples you mention. Talking about the character arc doesn't really give away a film unless its part of some suspense. It was so in the sixth Sense example you mention...but raajneeti hardly had any such suspense. And if you were oblivious to the mahabharat connection, this review seems to be the first thing you read about the film.

Mr. Inkenti:

Haaaa..

@lost in confustion, pondy,aam janta

have you even seen the film? why are all of you crying over meetu's review and change in style?

first things first, TOI, Taran Adarsh, Meetu are all individuals, just like us, and they too have their tastes [which can change!]. they are not algorithms or machines to be the same forever.

Now, Rajneeti is a genuinely badly made film with a senseless storyline. Please, let us not insult the Mahabharata. As for Ravan, haa...thats another flop in the coming.

there are better Telugu movies which depict family feuds against a political backdrop.

Rajneeti is a flop and there is doubt about it. Hits are not measured by the yuppy crowd that digs into their popcors in Mumbai paying Rs 250 for tickets...TOI and Taran can say what they please.

Mr.Inkenti:

@lost in confusion

you haven't answered the question: did you watch Rajneeti?

I know TOI is not an individual, but I meant the person who writes the reviews for TOI, ibnlive, bollywoodhungama are all individuals

Of course, I know what a hit is [to get more technical, a hit is when the distributor and further the exhibitor makes a profit--the ultimate net collections]; the reason why I mentioned about that is it is sites like bollywoodhungama, TOI etc [the reviews and views which you refer to] take the collections of the first three days at plexes and declare a film as hit or flop.

let me know how you liked Rajneeti.

pondy:

@bollyfan I have accepted while giving the example that it is an extreme one at that. I just wanted to point out that meetu in here earlier reviews took an extraordinary effort to NOT give away the small things in the movie. The ideal review for me is one which gives a qualitative, but objective assessment of the different aspects of the movie and as a whole too. I could easily connect with the earlier reviews in this sense.
@inketi Let me put the question back to you, have you read my comment? Where does my comment require viewing of the film?

meetu:

@Bollyfan finally!! ;) bring the champagne out! And thanks for your interaction as always...

@pondy I used these analogies because Krishna-esque could mean so many things and so does being chameleon-skinned.

@mlost long-long time ago on a VHS tape :) should hunt it out now, no?

@aam janta this is not intentional, i promise. i just write what i feel like when i'm leaving the cinema hall and analyse why i felt what i felt.

@lost in confusion like i just told @aam junta above and no, i won't stop writing any time soon and will never change my opinion to conform to anyone :)

@Sumit suggestion taken, will reduce font-size soon.

@Mr. Inketi thanks ;)

@V R surely kudos to Maharshi Vyas!

@pondy, @lost in confusion, @mr. inketi thanks for the lively discussion!

Hindi Radio:

Nice movie. only annoyed with the length of the movie, they could have shorten it. But nice movie to watch once.

Chintan:

http://chin512.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/raajneeti-is-powerful/

meetu:

@Aam Janta that sounds about right. It might as well be the first hit after '3 idiots', that still doesn't make it anywhere close to great.

@Samir ha ha...yeah Manmohan Desai...yeah...I guess they couldn't have had Ajay Devgn sport an earring, would have been too obvious, no? They could have had a locket or something :P

Harman:

http://harmanjit.blogspot.com/2010/06/43-things-i-learned-from-rajneeti.html

meetu:

nice one Harman...and all true ;)

Ketan:

Finally i found this place! I had lost all my bookmarks, and just could not recolelct the URL...and boy am i glad to be here. :D

Like the review...

Rajneeti, considering that it is made on the Indian political system, deserved to have more meat.

This was a half hearted attempt, to say the least.

Do also read my review of Rajneeti at www.ktens.com

Fatema:

Hey, Meetu, it's a pleasure to read your take on films, even though personal it is a fairly balanced pov you present, unlike the rants we get to read everywhere else :)

And oh yes, how I agree with you on Rajneeti. My thoughts - http://filmsandwords.blog.com/2010/06/15/drama-drama-only-drama/

Katrina Kaif Game:

i do like the preview, very detailed and clear to understand. thanks buddy hope u watched the movie it was gooood.

meetu:

@Ketan welcome back! now please don't lose us :D

@Fatema thank you!

@Katrina Kaif game thanks, the review is now published, do take a look

meetu:

@Aditya i can understand your angst. We have what we have and i appreciate your passion. But, this is still better compared to some of the copies i've seen. Anyway, hope you are better after your bout of diarrhoea :)

raajneeti:

four star for that movie ajay and nana was gud in that movie.people shoul dafenately watch it.for download it go to http://raajneeti.org/

Nishant Upadhyay:

Rajniti..... wonderful movie and a smashing blockbuster. Going to become the biggest hit of Ranbeer Kapoor's life. Fantastic movie!!
Has crossed 100 crores already....

Sumit Chandra:

Nice movie! Must Watch!!!

My ratings to this Movie- 4 Stars

Aditya:

Brilliant Story! Good Film.... I liked it very Much.... The film has turned to be a superhit and likely to be a blockbuster.

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