Ratings – * * * ½
As his last two films, Gangajal and Apaharan, dealt with the issue of politics and that too impressively, director Prakash Jha earned the title of being a specialist in the subject. And with his next film Raajneeti dealing with the same issue, expectations are sure to rise high especially because of an ensemble starcast. Thankfully, Jha succeeds very well in fulfilling the expectations although the climax doesn’t look 100% convincing.
Inspired largely from the Mahabharata, the film starts off with the story of Bhaskar Sanyal (Naseeruddin Shah) a leftist leader who is ready to challenge any political leader. However, he is forced to disappear from the scene following a grave mistake.
Years later, in the present era the story deals with the family of Bhanu Pratap, the head of the Rashtravadi Party. Following a heart attack, Bhanu becomes bed-ridden due to paralysis. This naturally makes his son Prithviraj Pratap (Arjun Rampal) as the successor of the party. This doesn’t go well with Prithvi’s cousin Veerendra Pratap (Manoj Bajpayee). In order to stop Prithvi from acquiring power, Veerendra uses Sooraj Kumar (Ajay Devgan), a fiery youngster from the Dalit caste. Following the consequences, Prithvi’s brother Samar (Ranbir Kapoor) is forced to land in the ruthless game of power although he has always kept himself away from politics.
To present the above mentioned story on celluloid can be a hell of a task for the writers and for this very fact, Anjum Rajabali and Jha deserve all the accolades. The level of viewer’s interest doesn’t fall even a bit throughout the film. In fact, because of the tight screenplay, one doesn’t even realize the close-to-3-hour length of the movie largely because of some thrills and twists.
Naturally, directing such a film is a daunting task too especially the numerous political rally scenes. Jha not only carries the task with maturity and perfection, he also makes sure that the goings create a terrific impact on the audience. Plus, he makes sure each and every actor enacts his or her part with perfection.
Dialogues are a vital ingredient in a film like Raajneeti. Even in this department, the film scores brilliantly. Each and every line is involving, impacting and long-lasting. Technical departments like the background score and cinematography add icing to the cake. Crisp editing also plays a major role in the favor of the film. Each and every scene is non-lengthy and to the point. But the major relief is that the songs appear only for a few minutes or even seconds, which makes sure the narration isn’t disturbed.
The performances of the huge star cast make it difficult to pick one or two of the best since all the major names, Ranbir, Devgan, Bajpai, Arjun and Nana Patekar give a flawless act. Still, one can say that Ranbir and Bajpai make heads turn the most. However, it’s Rampal who is a surprise package. People will surely rate him higher after this performance. Katrina’s performance should be appreciated largely because her character needed someone with a firang accent. Sarah Thompson does well too and so does Naseeruddin in a cameo.
As stated earlier, the climax falls on the flipside. It’s surprising to see the film being concluded in an underworld thriller manner. Plus, the secret related to the character of Devgan doesn’t have much to do with the main story. But the biggest drawback seems the disappearance of Naseeruddin’s character in a highly questionable manner.
However, these factors don’t stop Raajneeti from being a powerful political thriller. The inclusion of commercial elements and the above mentioned high points will make sure the film earns a good sum at the box-office at least in the first two weeks.