Review - Sarkar Raj: not bad, not bad at all...
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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Unfortunately, that also means its not all good either. Anyways, compliments first for making some brave scripting decisions, which is important for a power-of-politics based movie. Though it is common sense that the story should be the focal point of the movie, yet such movies are few and far between. So, they need to be applauded when they come along. But, alas this one too ultimately fails in taking the audience into the thick of the action. Various tactical twists in the story, especially towards the climax are just to be accepted because "Sarkar" says so.
A riveted Amitabh Bachchan fan might not even mind doing so, especially because the fan is presented with such an intense performance in the long monologues. There's nothing specifically wrong with the lines, they are crisp, and are occasionally garnished with a tangy sense of humor. But, is it fair to make the movie about one actor when the jockeying for power by various characters is so interesting? Without taking away anything from the legendary actor's entire range of expressions, I really would have liked to see the other characters' motivations instead of just a verdict passed by the central character.
Also, this central character is not really consistent. His motivations and the way he gets influenced/convinced by his dominant son are rather unconvincing. And if you look at Sarkar's character change over the two movies it is really unbelievable. A man who was so sensitive to a stranger's daughter's rape a movie ago is so practical about death and betrayal. He suffers physical trauma but is willing to treat the death as collateral damage?!
Likewise, Shankar, Sarkar's arrogant, disrespectful son (Abhishek Bachchan), doesn't feel fully developed. His quiet demeanor goes with the sudden bursts of anger. But, somehow the father-son relationship seems very forced and contrived. The emotional bond is fuzzy and hence has to be taken only on face value. Due to this one-dimensional portrayal Abhishek is required to hold just this one expression on his face throughout, with minimal variation.
Anita (Aishwarya Rai) too has a very skimpily etched out character. Her interactions with Shankar seem extremely superfluous. I think both Aishwarya and the way her part is written are to blame for it. However, it is amazing how deglamorized she looks.
And I am not sure where the thin line between identifying characteristics of side characters and making them look like caricatures dissolves. The supporting cast doesn’t do much in terms of evoking fear or hatred.
So, my resolution to ignore or rather to make peace with the expected, overactive camerawork and ear-splitting, background score worked. Once I decided not to give these things the satisfaction of a reaction, the going got a little easier on the delicate grayness in the head. An occasional cringe was unavoidable. I'm human after all.
The thing is, the director is in love with the music and camera decisions and is in fact very proud of them. Now, once you know that, the only thing you can do is register your protest - "me no likes this deafening-is-such-a-mild-word music and sway-here-there-and-everywhere camera movements."
I must admit, though, that I didn't mind the relatively limited use of close-ups too much this time around. Part of the credit would go to the performances and a lot of it to the way the faces were lit. The natural source of light is consistently kept in mind and I loved the fact that the colors used were in tune with the general serious and intense tone of the movie.
So, very low expectations set by previous experiences might have contributed towards me liking this one. But, yet there are huge chunks of the movie, especially towards the end, where I would have liked more people acting out the story instead of just one person sitting me down and reading it to me. Oh well, worse have been made and yet it's not an entirely dissatisfying experience.
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: There are few scenes of people dying of gunshots or stabbing. Nothing very visually displeasing.
- Sexual content: Nil
- Concept: The movie is entirely based on politics and business. In general I think kids will get bored, if they are not of an age to follow the story.
- General Look and Feel: Sarkar Raj is a rather dark movie. It is almost all shot in dim light with a brownish tinge to give it the grim and intense look. There is not much in terms of bright colors and peppy music.
Sarkar Raj - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Eros Entertainment
- Producer: Praveen Nischol, Ram Gopal Varma
- Director: Ram Gopal Varma
- Lead Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai
- Story: Prashant Pandey
- Screenplay: Prashant Pandey
- Cinematography: Amit Roy
- Editor: Amit Parmar, Nipun Ashok Gupta
- Background Score: Amar Mohile
- Action Choreography: Allan Ameen
- Choreography: Amit Roy
- Music Director: Tutul, Bapi
- Lyrics: Sandeep Nath
- Costume Designer: Kriti Malhotra, Urmilla Motwani
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 125 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Politics