Raajneeti is a movie based on politics and lives it up completely without any deviations throughout, for a Hindi movie which is a rare feat these days.
The movie is set in a non-metro, which adds to the charm of the story. The movie is gripping from frame 1 and it is essential to keep up with the story. The parallel has been drawn to Mahabharat and this is justified, with a bed ridden, partially paralysed patriarch Bhanu Pratap who nominates his younger brother to take over the reins of the political party (Dhritarashtra making Pandu the king). This irks the son Veerendra Pratap (Manoj Bajpayee - Duryodhan). Chandra Pratap and elder son Prithvi (Arjun Rampal-Bhim) continue the campaigns. Younger son Samar (Ranbir Kapoor-Arjun) who comes down to India from America for the b’day celebrations of his uncle is away from the political goings-on in the family. Indu (Katrina Kaif- not sure if it was Draupadi’s character) in restrained clothing but free spirited role is in love with him and proposes to him. But Samar refuses since he has always seen her as a best friend.
Samar has to stay back in India due to the untimely and tragic demise of his father, and help his brother Prithvi achieve political greatness. Veer Pratap’s suggestions and moves for the party are always questioned and resentment builds up. He does not have a worthy ally until Suraj (Ajay Devgn- Karna), a representative of the backward classes, is also equally wounded politically by Prithvi’s moves. The friendship of Karna & Duryodhan has been portrayed by Veer and Suraj. Suraj has to be by his friend and calm him in moments of unrest and attack, similar to how Karna shouldered responsibility & wisdom while stood by Duryodhan.
Craftiness and conspiracy becomes inherent in both teams and they make use of it in abundance. Samar and Brij Mohan (Nana Patekar- Krishna) duo have an uncanny resemblance to Arjuna and Krishna. Veer Pratap forces the eviction of the brothers from the party and they launch their own, and rise in the eyes of the masses. Each step is planned meticulously that backfiring is not an option.
Meanwhile Sara, Samar’s girlfriend from America visits since he has not returned as promised. With a little bit of romance thrown into his character, he plays it with clinical precision. He cannot be distracted by her with all that is happening around him, which requires him to be 2 steps ahead of his rivals. Tragically, the 2 important people of his life, Prithvi and Sara get killed as a result of the conniving Suraj and Veer Pratap. But nothing can stop his mission, not even death. He consoles bhabhi Indu and prepares her to take on the mantle. He ensures that she plays on the sympathy from the masses and gains support.
Eventually he plans the elimination of his rivals, step by step and avenges the deaths of his father, brother and girlfriend.
For all those who were objecting to this movie claiming it was the story of the Gandhi family and was not being portrayed appropriately, Indu’s entry into politics was the closest it got. The rest of it was the Mahabharat revisited. The resemblance to the Mahabharat is so strong in the scene where the mother of Prithvi and Samar, goes to Suraj (her illegitimate son) to spare the life of Samar and join the family in the midst of the clashes between Veer and Prithvi. Quite similar to Kunti going to Karna and requesting him to join the Pandava army or atleast spare the life of Arjuna. Including the confrontation by the banks of a river.
What I liked about the movie:
· A hatke performance from Arjun Rampal and Katrina Kaif where the roles were not based on the glamour quotient.
· Ranbir has shed his teeny bopper and fun image (from Wake up Sid and Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani) and delivered a serious & mature role. Even his romance track is calculated. He is so determined in achieving his goals, that his smiles are also with absolute purpose.
· After a very long time, this is a Hindi movie, minus the OTT costumes (most characters are in Indian clothes of kurta pyjama; for Ranbir it was more dress down in khakis, button-down shirts glasses), naach-gana, and dream routines and with a well written script with distinct characters.
· A special appearance by Naseeruddin Shah, who starts the ball rolling in the story and a distraction in Shruti Seth to add spice to the tale.
· Nana Patekar, has abided by “ Actions speak louder than words”, quite a different take from his usual hard-hitting ground reality kind of dialogues.
My rating: 3.5/5 and possibly add a 0.5 for just the oomph of Ranbir Kapoor
Thought I'd add this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3-OPh8xl5g