The Common Man Speaks


Rakht Charitra (Part 1) Review

Bloody Affair!

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.


Aakrosh Movie Review

Hard Hitting Tit-For-Tat Saga

Ratings - * * * 1/2

Director Priyadarshan is considered a specialist in rib-tickling comedies or light entertainers as the filmmaker has churned out a large number of such genre of movies successfully in the past decade viz; Hera Pheri, Hungama, Garam Masala, Malamaal Weekly, Chup Chup Ke, Bhagam Bhaag and De Dana Dan to name a few.

However, he opens an altogether new chapter with Aakrosh. Although the director has provided some hard-hitting sagas in the past both in Bollywood, but this is the first time he has tried his hand in serious issue-based drama and has made an action thriller out of it. So does he succeed in the new venture? The answer (according to me) is positive as the film succeeds in generating thrill, throwing light on the issue of caste differences and caste politics and in giving a message of equality.

The intenseness develops right from the start when three Delhi University students go missing in the village of Jhanjhar. An ex-army officer Pratap Kumar (Ajay Devgan) and CBI officer Siddhant Chaturvedi (Akshaye Khanna) are handed over the task to investigate the case of the missing students after it becomes a national issue. Soon, Pratap and Siddhant realize their helplessness in a lawless land governed by the hooligan inspector Ajatshatru Singh, his comrades and local politicians. How Pratap and Siddhant, both diagonally different from each other, handle the investigation amidst a hopeless situation forms the rest of the story.

The biggest plus point for Aakrosh is Robin Bhatt’s screenplay, which keeps the audience glued to the screen throughout. The action sequences add thrill and gel well with the goings. Even Bipasha Basu and Ajay’s love story fits well without disturbing the continuity or dislodging the hard-hitting nature of the film. Overall, it’s the screenplay and the dialogues (Aditya Dhar) that make Aakrosh what it is.

Despite a number of plus-points, the film appears dry (especially to the entertainment hungry audience) in some portions. Some heroic deeds in between and some more punch dialogues by the two male leads would have added more mazaa for the audience.

The subject of the movie makes Pritam's music go unnoticed. Sameera Reddy's item number Tere Ishak Se Meetha is noticeable but because of the situation.

Ajay Devgan once again proves why he is a master in portraying serious and intense roles. It’s a pleasure to keep your eyes on him whenever he appears although he doesn’t mouth too many dialogues and speaks more via expressions and eyes. A real treat for Ajay’s fans. Akshaye Khanna was required to underplay his character and he does that exceedingly well. Although he plays second fiddle to Ajay, he shows his class in a number of sequences.

After playing a comic guy in a number of Priyadarshan’s flicks, Paresh Rawal this time plays a hardcore, ruthless and corrupt police officer and does that with utmost perfection. One just loves to hate him in this role where he also keeps his comic avatar intact. Bipasha Basu and Reema Sen also do well in supporting roles. Amita Pathak acts well in a cameo.

This hard-hitting saga by Priyadarshan surely deserves a watch. However, the film’s box-office collections do not look healthy as is the case with almost all serious films these days (when will the audience come out of the hangover of mindless comedies and romantic films?). Hence, this well made effort relies on word-of-mouth to succeed at the box-office, which looks unlikely looking at the box-office records of films released in last year or two.