Rajneeti poster


wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)

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.

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Director: Prakash Jha
Running time: 165 minutes
Genres: Action, Crime
More Movie Info

Rajneeti - Preview

NOT A REVIEW - Just enthusiastically looking forward to some politics and drama…

Yay! Yayy!! Yayyy!!! A political drama is coming up next! So much potential of interesting, gray characters; so many ways to connect them; so many twists, angles and sub-plots to look forward to! It's extremely difficult to keep expectations and excitement at bay.

I know-I know, there is a very high chance that any or all of this could be overdone and thus murdered. Also, some people suspect that the subject would be "Too complex for the current urban youth"There is also a chance that it might turn out to be an idealism vs. crookedness routine. Or that a group that feels marginalized and converts into "revolutionaries" chews up the charm of an intelligent issue.

Add to the mix, some very intriguing casting. Despite the relatively different roles played by Ranbir Kapoor, a politician is far from what I'd have ever expected him to be cast as. Who has ever heard of a shrewd chocolate hero? But, you never know -

Anything written about the cast has to begin with Katrina Kaif being uprooted from having an innocent, Ms. Goody-Two-Shoes image into a milieu that needs a calculative brain at the very least. She will have to play on her glam-quotient but with a difference. Her accent is something that troubles me in her usual roles even if she's born abroad. So I didn't know what to make of a situation where she's to ask for votes in the Hindi heartland. Turns out, that the lady has worked really hard on it and it wasn’t easy going -

Unwilling to make thehttp://www.raajneeti.net director bear the loss, the actress made a unique offer to Jha. She offered to pay him back Rs. 15 lakh from her remuneration for the loss of work. The pretty lass must have done her maths well to arrive at that figure as her average earning for a day.

Later, not only did she redub some of her lines, she had a dubbing studio booked for her for 20 days! Here's a glimpse -

The first name that came to my mind when I saw Katrina in a white/khadi saree, hair tied up, garlanded, and hands greeting us in a Namastey, is SONIA GANDHI. Though both the director and the actor deny any resemblance in the character, people are getting offended. (Like that's a surprise!?) In fact the lady watched videos of Sheila Dikshit, Ambika Soni, Priyanka Gandhi and Indira Gandhi. Interestingly she has arranged to meet these ladies now. Most likely to appease misgivings, if any. A move to get in the good books of the current governing party?
I wonder if the tagline to the title, "politics … and beyond" too is a ploy to the same end? Suppsoedly, Prakash Jha doesn't want the film to be seen as a film about politics because politics is in daily life. He claims it is more of a family drama with a political backdrop. The aim, he says, is to entertain. If the audience takes home a message he will think of it as a bonus. And there you go - take your item number and Steamy scenes as evidence.
Turns out what the director giveth, the censor board promptly takes away. Yep! Lots of chops have been made, ranging from sex and violence to EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) manipulation.

Some of the members apparently feel that a few sequences are too ‘hard hitting’ for the aam janta to digest.

Is that why the special National Anthem has been kept out of the film. Yeah, we in Maharashtra will get to see the cast sing the anthem with us before the film. :P
My nagging thought is how all this marketing gimmickry fits in with the script that took 5 years to write having characters based on Mahabharata. So, we'll have Katrina playing modern-day Draupadi; Ranbir as Arjun; Nana Patekar - Krishna; Ajay Devgan - Karna; Arjun Rampal - Bheem and Manoj Bajpai - Duryodhan. And maybe Naseeruddin Shah is cast as the Bheeshm of our times?
In this setting it will be exhilirating to see National award winners Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, and yeah-yeah Arjun Rampal together. I'm just glad that I'm getting to see them and not the supposedly 'entertaining' bits in the promo. muah to the producers!
So much anticipation, so many possibilities. And the wait isn't too long. Just until June 4th.

Music: Wayne Sharpe's music is being largely liked. Read reviews here - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

~ ~ ~

This article was first published at meetu's Times of India Blog

- meeta, a part of the audience

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.

- meeta, a part of the audience

50 reviewers(?) - 24 yays 16 so-so 10 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...he movie straight away comes to the point and starts impressing the viewer from its first scene itself featuring Naseeruddin Shah... full review

Thumbs up, by Roshni Mulchandani, Bolly Spice : ...every socio-political movie fan's delight... full review

Thumbs up, by Nauman, BollyPlus : ...Manoj Bajpai’s career best performance in a main lead... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...the story alters constantly, unravelling in a serpentine manner and speed... so much so that you don't know what's gonna happen next. ... full review

Thumbs up, by james, Buzz Tab : ...Katrina has proved yet again that she is the best actress, the way she balanced her acting and played the role, it’s really remarkable.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonali Singh, Daily Latest News : ...Evidently, unpredictability is the largest power of this film.... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D' Souza, Glamsham.com : ... The ambience is perfect. Body language of each and every performer is 'politically correct'. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Lisa Tsering, Hollywood Reporter : ...Production values are top-notch, including a Western-flavored score by frequent Jha collaborator Wayne Sharpe.... full review

Thumbs up, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...While his Hindi heart-belt dialogues and political jargons add authenticity to the film, at times it may be difficult for the audience to appreciate the proceedings... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...At least two-thirds of this 2 hour-50 minute film are an exact equivalent of a page-turner—and you can’t wait to find out what happens next. ... full review

Thumbs up, MH-31 Fun Unlimited : ...Arjun Rampal manages to give a decent performance - talks like a rockstar during rallies. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Partha Pratim, Mixed Bag : ...While the movie gracefully and tactfully reminded us of the agelessness of Mahabharata in many of the scenes, it made a dead bomb of the famous scene where Kunti meets Karna... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...There is no hero in this film in the true sense of the term, only characters donning different shades of grey... full review

Thumbs up, by Minty Tejpal, Mumbai Mirror : ...the relentless screenplay which moves swiftly, while the dialogue remains sharp,... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ...A taut, clenched drama of devastating nemesis, "Raajneeti" moves across its epic-inspired canvas with a vigour and velocity that sweep audiences off their feet.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sampurn, real bollywoood : ...Camerawork by Sachin Kumar Krishnan is simply superb. The way he has captured those vast mass shots deserves a bow... full review

Thumbs up, by Vipul Tripathi, Reuters : ...This film is a costume drama with white kurtas and cotton saris replacing wooden swords and bling bling battle dresses.... full review

Thumbs up, by K N Gupta, SmasHits.com : ...The director deserves kudos for the right selection of his cast and also for providing them with suitable roles. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Janhvi Patel, StarBoxOffice : ... Ranbir Kapoor is flawless and restrained as the cool, calm, classy and calculative younger brother. ... full review

Thumbs up, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ... Ajay Devgn, who plays the character of Sooraj, is good in the first half. In the second hour of the film, Ajay’s character seems to have been forced to go on the backburner by the director Prakash Jha despite of their excellent working relationship.... full review

Thumbs up, by Vox Media, Sulekha : ...a master peice out of a classic epic.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Interestingly, Katrina Kaif seems to slip into the high-powered shoes easily with her awkward accent and climax speech ... full review

Thumbs up, by Fakir Hassen, TONIGHT : ...Together, the loves and lives of all these characters, as they get entangled in the power struggles, dirt and gore of politics, makes for a compelling movie for those who love serious cinema.... full review

Thumbs up, by SpiceZee Bureau, Zee News : ... The film has excellent background score, music, cinematography and direction.... full review

So-So, by Amodini, Amodini's Movie Reviews : ...It is long, heavily drenched in political stratagem, and reeks of the staples of good drama – deception, betrayal and wily, capricious people.... full review

So-So, by Lipika Varma, AOL INDIA : ...It’s not new that Naseer and Nana are excellent performers. ... full review

So-So, by Naresh Kumar Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ...These and a few odd stitches apart (including a club song), Raajneeti remains mostly a riveting watch. ... full review

So-So, by Daliya Ghose, Bollywood Mantra : ...script is water-tight. You will take time to grasp it.... full review

So-So, by BollyFan, Cinemaa Online : ...Krishna is more of a Shakuni, Shakuni is more of a Shikhandi, Duryodhan is just a whiny baby and the list goes on. ... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...Even if such a story is told well, it is déjà vu for the audience... full review

So-So, by Deepa Garimella, fullhyd.com : ...you quickly realize that you've seen it all before... full review

So-So, by Aakash, Gomolo.in : ...Though the movie is so good but still there are many negative points also. ... full review

So-So, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ...the filmmaker smartly suggests here, to set the Mahabharat around India’s present democracy, given the business of competitive politics is just as dynastic. ... full review

So-So, by Saurabh Datar, J.A.M : ...Raajneeti leaves a lot to be desired unfortunately. ... full review

So-So, by Sarita Tanwar, MiD DAY : ...in his attempt to succumb to commercial parameters, Jha somewhat loses out on his unique ability to merge reality into the mainstream format of cinema... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ... The performances are strong—especially Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal and Nana Patekar—but the characters are largely one-note.... full review

So-So, by kaushik chatterjee, No Quarters : ...You can talk about cinematic and creative liberties all you want, but you cannot possibly justify such glaring inaccuracies... full review

So-So, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ...The other problem with the movie was its runtime which is around 175 min. However, the intact and dexterous direction wins back your attention... full review

So-So, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...Conversely then, his cold-bloodedness comes across as a cinematic licence - a ploy to make his character more intriguing.... full review

So-So, by filmbear, Upper Stall : ...here is hardly any time for the audience to register these moments and for the movie to garner sympathy of its protagonists. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Ramsu, 24 frames per second : ...I was considering asking you to let that pass as well, but realized that your charity could be stretched only so far.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mihir Fadnavis, india.com : ...The numerous sex scenes, smooches and 'A' rating are absolutely unnecessary - they add nothing to the story or characters. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Amrita Rajan, Indiequill : ...As all these lovely people try to get the better of each other with increasing amounts of violence, truckloads of minor characters are steadily mowed down. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Komal Nahta, koimoi : ...narration would appeal more to the audience in the Hindi-speaking belt and the older generation than the youth... full review

Thumbs down, by Mr. Inketi, Mr. Inketis Weblog : ...The first 20 minutes our entire group of 6 were looking at each other and discussing who is related to whom, why, and why are they so pissed of at each other? ... full review

Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, Outlook India : ...My misgivings about Raajneeti started with the cringeworthy “Roop tera mastana” scene right at the start.... full review

Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Passion for Cinema : ...Nana Patekar as the dynasty advisor, keeps smiling as if were competing with Mona Lisa. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Great Bong, Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind : ...But truth be told, Mahabharat and Godfather had never been done together. Before Rajneeti that is. Wow. Kya idea sirjee.... full review

Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...a chess game played by kids intent on killing bishops before thinking ahead... full review

Thumbs down, by , The Friday Freak : ...It’s too many characters, too much happening together, and important plot points just divested from the main sequence. ... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

7 readers - 6 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

Want to Watch, by raajneeti : must watch

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Aditya : The movie is as i wanted!

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Jessica : Cool

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Nishant Upadhyay : Fantastic, wonderful film!! has already became a blockbuster.

Yay! Thumbs Up, by PeterRossy : cooooool

Yay! Thumbs Up, by preeti

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Sumit Chandra : Superb Movie! Prakash jha's nice comeback. Will be a superhit!

So-So, by zanildee

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

Love, sex and betrayal with a political dynasty backdrop

What Worked

  • The names given to the characters based on their origin in the Mahabharat. Sooraj for the son of the Sun-god, Karna; Brij for Krishna; Samar for pavan-putra Arjun and so on…
  • Given the above, Prithvi-Samar's party as
  • The fact that in politics it's all about timing, irrespective of how close the person you are is being hurt or even dying.
  • A few dialogues in the first hour or so of the film. They lost steam soon after.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • What's with all these women getting pregnant. Almost as if whenever the writers got stuck with how to move the story with a particular end in mind - make the lady go through some hormonal changes already!
  • The shot when Suraj (Ajay Devgn) splashes a bucket full of water on a car. What was the drama for?
  • The inconsistency in the language used by almost all the characters.
  • Katrina Kaif's Hindi might be improving but she surely needs to get rid of her accent when she speaks English to blend in.
  • Did Samar come to India for every birthday in the family!?!
  • In one of the early scenes, what was Samar (Ranbir Kapoor) saying "I will never be able to forgive myself" to Indu (Katrina Kaif) for? Went over-board in the writing, did we?

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):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Rajneeti - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Background Score:
Action Choreography:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
165 minutes

Comments (30)

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@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...


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...

@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 ;)

@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 :)


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!

@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.

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...

@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.

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

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?

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

@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.


@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.

@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.

@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?

@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!

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


@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


nice one Harman...and all true ;)

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

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/

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

@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

@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 :)

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/

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....

Nice movie! Must Watch!!!

My ratings to this Movie- 4 Stars

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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