Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Storyline: The Nagre family has to pay the price for power.
Bottomline: Way too much talking but a return to form nonetheless
First, the good news.
If there was an award for the best lit film, this may be nominated for the awards next year. But then, if lighting is the first thing that you feel like talking about after watching the film… Ah yes, the good news…
RGV hasn’t entirely lost his touch after Aag.
We see glimpses of genius all through Sarkar Raj, it even has a better premise than the original. Though Sarkar had a great start and a brilliant finish, the middle was quite muddled up for want of a conflict and it ended up a decent film with a few great moments.
Here, the middle is solid – it is probably the best part of the film, the Bachchans impress again and how. But that’s where all the good bits end.
The bad news: As a whole, Sarkar Raj falls a few notches below Sarkar because of all that talking, over-excited cinematography and a climax that seems like an after-thought. There is some interesting framing but half the time it doesn’t mean anything more than an intriguing composition and play of light.
Not that the writing is bad (it’s quite smart by Hindi film standards) but man, can they talk prose!
Villains continue to be the weakest link of the franchise. Barring one, the rest of them are caricatures. There’s even the mandatory B-movie scene where all the bad guys sit plotting against the good guys and one of them does the evil plan laugh. Only that here, when asked about what the brilliant idea is, he adds: I haven’t thought fully yet. Now Mr.Varma, there is no place for the cheesy if you’re aiming at making a classy film.
And, how seriously do you want us to take a film with villains with funny names and stupid mannerisms?
A political thriller needs villains who will send a chill up your spine with what they are capable of. A powerful family needs equally powerful adversaries. There is a hint of that when a powerful kingmaker is introduced when the camera looks up to his feet from the floor below and in the background, we see the Nagre family stand respectfully in front of him. But then, we don’t see much of this guy – the one man who can actually give the Nagre family sleepless nights.
The father-son interaction scenes are the best part of the film. That’s where the meaty chunk of drama comes from and the Bachchans deliver. Together, they can make the prose come alive. RGV overdoses on the Bachchans not knowing when to stop. Spoiler alert, highlight to read: The man takes five bullets on his chest. For the sake of cinema, he better be dead, right? The last thing we want is a hospital scene where he’s admitted alive. RGV feels compelled to keep him alive for one more scene just to make way for a final father-son dialogue. Characters don’t always need to get time to say their Goodbyes. If you are aiming for Sudden Death, it has got to be sudden without any time for Goodbyes. A brilliant performance nonetheless.
We can’t say the same about the latest Bachchan though. She sends glycerin flowing down her make-up in one straight line so that it doesn’t mess with the way she looks – how self-conscious can one get?
The rest of her dialogue delivery is so flat and with the quirky camerawork, that last scene actually looks like one of those freaky twist-endings.
RGV continues paying tribute to The Godfather, by incorporating all those significant subplot points he had missed out in the first part. So though it maybe a fun exercise for RGV fans to see how he’s recreated these scenes within the context of Indian politics, it just makes the film all the more predictable.
But coming after Aag, Sarkar Raj is a great improvement that reminds us, in spurts, the magic that RGV is capable of.