Sarkar Raj - Preview

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

A treat for Bachchan fans and an intense story for the non-believers. If you are mentally prepared for that noise the background music creates and the camera being held in the weirdest possible positions and angles, you can actually enjoy the drama despite all its flaws.

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NOT A REVIEW - just excitement mixed with apprehension

So, just like Sarkar started with the acknowledgement that it is a tribute to Godfather, Ram Gopal Varma at the very outset mentions that Sarkar Raj has nothing to do with Godfather 2 in the director's note on the official website.

Seeing Amitabh Bachchan has always been a treat for me. As in, however bad the script, I'm almost always at least 75% happy with what Amitabh does to the character, or rather what the character makes Amitabh do. Then of course, there's Abhishek Bachchan, whose acting has very gradually grown on me. And I hope Aishwarya Rai Bachchan adds more than just glamour quotient to the equation.

What sounds more exciting though, is the thought behind the Sarkar series. In the director's words -

For me, the Sarkar films are about framing and showcasing the aura of power.

That in combination with Amitabh Bachchan's thoughts on power and palace politics makes me eager to see how these things are played out.

However, RGV adds -

I have employed each and every aspect of film-making, be it music or screenplay or cinematography; for one and only one purpose; that is to capture the intensity in the actors' eyes, through which we can see a world of high drama be it politics, treachery, revenge, passion, courage, love and relationships.

and

I, along with my crew, pushed the upper limits of technique to make each frame and sound vibrate with power... ...I have always believed that there is no greater cinematic visual than an actor performing in a tight close-up

This scares me. While "actor's eyes" sounds fascinating because all three Bachchans have fascinating eyes, "high drama", "cinematography", "vibrate with power", and the worst "tight close-up" literally scare me. Somehow, however much I like these actors, seeing their nostril hair isn't my idea of fun. Amitabh Bachchan says somewhere on his blog that close-ups afford freedom to the actor, but how come I'm so averse to it?

I tend to like close-ups when they are chosen for specific moments of high drama when every wrinkle or lack thereof adds to the experience. But, when most of the movie is shot that way, I think the close-ups lose their charm and, for me, become a headache.

Similarly, I remember liking "govinda, govinda, govinda, govinda, govindaaaa" in the background the first few times in Sarkar. But, when I realized there wasn't any system to it, it just came across as random filler, I was disappointed. It wasn't attached to a specific character or specific types of events, it seemed to be there rather arbitrarily.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to a powerful story and well etched characters. So, the good thing is I'm mentally prepared now. For close-ups and loud, a possibly repetitive background score. Bring it on...