Review - Rann: Same war & arms, but warriors fight well

wogma rating: Watch when on TV (?)
quick review:

In an arena where character's dilemma should have battled within, the camera and sound fight for attention. Ace, touching performance by Big B tries its best to win the war against an interesting yet predictable plot.

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Utopia exports a TV channel to Delhi. But of course, the earthlings contaminate the empire. And we are then taken into the world of the mean media industry.

If the spate of films in the "exposé" genre are anything to go by, we, the audience, either know everything that needs to be known or being fooled to believe that that's all there is to these industries. Rann is another such example.

Had it not been for a couple of the performances and a couple of points where the story could take an interesting turn, the film would have completely collapsed. Also, had the 'background music files' and 'camera angle schedule' of Rann not been exchanged with director Ram Gopal Verma's horror film, Phoonk, Rann would have been immensely watchable and hearable. (Can't even give you the virtual "eye-roll" cause my eyes hurt.)

And yet the two pillars that the film stands on are enough to make it an interesting watch. Amitabh Bachchan as the composed, honest, serious, intelligent TV channel owner, Vijay Malik, makes you want to look out for him. And it hurts to see his head hang in shame. What a brilliant actor!

It is so refreshing to see Riteish Deshmukh as the serious, almost mute Purab, a rookie journalist soaking in how the business-politics-media nexus works. More power to the makers of this casting decision. Next in line, Sudeep as Jai Vijay Malik, did well in his first five minutes of screen time, after which his role didn't demand anything new. Paresh Rawal in yet another caricature role makes the evil grin as tolerable as it can be.

What hurt is the roles shelled out to the women. Especially, Gul Panag. What was the point of doing a role which made no contribution except shrieking like any third Hindi film actress? Neetu Chandra's character was so annoying that it's amazing the boyfriend she's nagging didn't murder her in the middle of the film. Can't blame any of them for bad writing, but certainly raised a question or two about script decisions by the ladies. However, Suchitra Krishnamurty's role was a bit meatier but at the end of it all she's only another man's pawn. (Her character reminded me a lot of Rakhee's character, Geeta in Trishul)

Interestingly, it's not that RGV was making a masala flick. Then why such shoddy writing for the women. As is, the overpowering existence of one-dimensional characters (other than the music and camera) is a hurdle to let the film take you over. Yet, while you don't expect any better from the black sheep, the dilemma and emotions that a couple of the white sheep go through are extremely engaging. And ultimately if you as an audience are happy when the white one does the "right thing" the writer/director/both have gotten something right. That is over and above the performance.

There are points in the film that a question lingers, "what will this character do?" "How will he crack this one?" Only unfortunately, he takes the most obvious path and you laugh at yourself for letting your brain work in top gear. You set your thoughts aside, another story - another day.

Meanwhile, the dialogue is crisp and topical. While I could have easily done without the over-preachy middle portion of one of the channel head's speech, the beginning and the end were well written and beautifully performed. And then comes a shoddy climax that shakes you out of your reverie. Oh well.

So, nothing new. Same old brigade against still camera by cinematographer Amit Roy. Same old spooky score in the background. Same old trying to tell a story of the insides of an industry and telling us what we already know. And still wondering why the characters were struck by shock. I hope there are people who like Rann more than I did, and there is a radical movement of sorts that will make the media more responsible.

BUT, in case that doesn't happen there's still, some masterwork in the acting department and a partially interesting thread of plot, to make the film worth your time.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Violence is talked about, but not shown on screen.
  • Language: Clean. A few words beeped out.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A couple of skimpily clad women, shown once or twice.
  • Concept: That of betrayal, manipulation and greed prevalent in our system - politics, media and business.
  • General Look and Feel: A very serious tone.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2
  • Story: 2.5
  • Lead Actors: 4
  • Character Artists: 2.5
  • Dialogues: 3.5
  • Screenplay: 2
  • Music Director: 1
  • Lyrics: 3.5

Rann - Trailer

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