Ratings - * * * ½
A man is murdered in the most gruesome of manners right in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue. This first scene from Ram Gopal Varma’s Rakht Charitra (Part 1) makes it clear as to what to expect in the biopic on the late Andhra Pradesh leader Paritala Ravi. In fact, as the film progresses one will have no doubt that this is the most violent film ever made in the history of Indian cinema.
In spite of that, Varma’s biopic is a powerful and hard hitting saga of revenge and power which, if you are able to excuse the violence, is also highly enjoyable because of the style of narration and top notch performances right from the lead actor to the support cast to the extras.
Pratap Ravi (Vivek Oberoi) returns to his village in Andhra Pradesh after his father (Rajendra Gupta) and brother (Sushant Singh) are killed by their own political party member after a conspiracy by the left hand of a party leader Nagamani Reddy (Srinivasa Rao Kota). Hence, a soft-hearted and non-violent person like Pratap is forced into the gruesome world of revenge.
From here on, it was no turning back for Pratap as he becomes the most feared person in the state by everyone but Reddy’s son Bhukka (Abhimanyu Singh), a devilish creature who is hell bent in settling scores with Pratap. During this time, Pratap gets an offer to enter politics from a filmstar turned political leader N T Rama Rao (Shatrughan Sinha).
Rakht Charitra is easily Varma’s better made films till date. He executes some out-of-the-box scenes, makes his actors deliver brilliant performances and most importantly makes sure that the focus and thrill doesn’t diminish even for a second.
Varma is highly blessed with a watertight screenplay, which not only keeps the audience hooked to the screen but also narrates the tale while giving enough importance to the numerous characters. In addition, some powerful and impactful dialogues and unusual camera angles (so typical of RGV) create further impact. However, the background score deserves special mention which creatively gels with different types of scenes making the viewing more interesting.
Contrary to the subject, the film is rich in terms of music as well. Songs Khaul Khaul Ke and Sar Jo Uthega (both title songs) suit the mood of the film perfectly because of the lyrics and the powerful sound. The songs definitely have a repeat value.
The only drawback is the overuse or abuse of violence which could have been limited. People are killed in a manner never seen before on the Indian screen. In fact, some scenes (in the first half) might well twitch your belly muscles. This will clearly limit the film’s reach to a wider audience.
With Rakht Charitra, Vivek Oberoi proves he is one of the most talented young actors around. His portrayal of the central character forces one to applaud a magnificent effort that will surely increase his fan following. Easily one his best performances (if not the best).
If Vivek delights, Abhimanyu Singh shocks with a stellar act. In my personal opinion, I have never loved to hate a bad guy this much before. It is just unbelievable how a human can play a monster so effectively. As stated earlier, the rest of the supporting cast (Sushant Singh, Shatrughan Sinha, Srinivasa Rao Kota, Zarina Wahab, Ashwini Kalsekar, Radhika Apte, etc) aren’t behind either.
Despite a large number of plus points, the film will have a limited success at the box-office because of the subject and the overuse of violence. However, the way the film ends, it surely builds up excitement for its next part.