Review of Rajneeti

I had to wait in line for half an hour  at the nearby multiplex to catch “Rajneeti”, the latest Prakash Jha film and one of the most awaited films of the year. Directed and produced by Prakash Jha, the film boasts of a cast that consists of  Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Nana Patekar, Arjun Rampal, Ajay Devgan and Manoj Bajpai in the leads roles- needless to say, I wasn’t waiting patiently. The film finally began, and from the first minute, had me hooked.

The film follows the politics within the Prataps- the presiding family of the ruling party in MP (full form?). Samar Pratap (Ranbir) returns from New York where he’s studying. He is shown to be a simple boy, who wants to stay away from politics and lead a simple life with his girlfriend, Sara. When his uncle- leader of the party -suffers a stroke close to the elections, all hell breaks loose. Plotting and scheming begins between Samar’s cousin Virendra Pratap ( Manoj Bajpayee) and his elder brother Prithvi Pratap (Arjun Rampal) for the presidency of the party. Circumstances force Samar to enter into politics alongside his brother and abandon his simple life. Meanwhile, Suraj Kumar (Ajay Devgan), is a local Dalit leader who is looking for justice for his people. He joins hands with Virendra Pratap who makes him his right hand. Nana Patekar plays the role of Brij Gopal, Samar’s maternal uncle and also his mentor and guide. The story follows the brothers as they try to one up each other in the fight for the maximum number of votes during the election- and therefore, the satta (power). However, the simple boy Samar turns out to be a mastermind as he finds ways to thwart his cousin over and over again. The film explores issues such as the hypocrisy and corruption in politics.

The characterization is very well done. The characters and their references in the Mahabharata are evident. Nana Patekar plays Shakuni, Ranbir plays Arjun, Manoj Bajpai plays Duryodhana, Ajay Devgan plays Karan and Katrina plays Draupadhi. The twists and turns in this film are unpredictable and refreshing. The film does not deviate from its main purpose. There is no unnecessary song and dance, and the love angle between Indu (Katrina) and Samar (Ranbir) though present, is not dwelt upon. The grey shades of the characters are interestingly developed. The dialogues and the delivery are good, though Katrina leaves something to be desired in many cases. Ranbir Kapoor has performed really well in a serious role. As the plot thickens, the pace picks up and there is not even a moment of dullness.

The music is given by Pritam and while songs such as Mora Piya and Bheegi si are good, they are not extraordinary and they don’t leave much of an impression in the otherwise impactful film. The background music, on the other hand, works well in enhancing the drama. A few shots are noticeably well done in terms of symbolism and characterization. The film has a crisp and realistic ending which on the whole, leaves you satisfied. The film shows, as does the Mahabharata that in the end greed gives rise to destruction.

‘Rajneeti’ turned out to be totally worth the wait.

Chandani Karnik