June 8, 2010

Rajneeti - Media reviews

Taran Adarsh

I've never really followed politics. But I am truly fascinated by ‘Mahabharata'. Lord Krishna, Arjun, Karan, Bheema, Duryodhan... are legendary and the clash between Pandavas and Kauravas is equally unforgettable. Prakash Jha's RAAJNEETI talks of warring cousins, dynastic rule and electoral politics of the Hindi heartland, besides the vicious and horrifying games some people play to attain power.

To me, RAAJNEETI is a human drama, a complex game that people indulge in to achieve power and how this greed envelopes them and transforms them into ruthless and conniving humans. I admit, it takes time for the story to sink in, but slowly and steadily, you get sucked into a world that's dark, dangerous and demonish. The attire may be white, but the deeds are grey or black.

RAAJNEETI is not only 'Mahabharata', but also 'Godfather'. Despite knowing 'Mahabharata' or 'Godfather', one is not able to presume what games the present-day Pandavas and Kauravas would play in RAAJNEETI. In fact, the story alters constantly, unravelling in a serpentine manner and speed... so much so that you don't know what's gonna happen next. It keeps you awed at the constant turn of events. Clearly, unpredictability is the biggest strength of RAAJNEETI. Yet, let me clarify, this is not a documentary, tetchy or preachy film. This one not only entertains, but also enlightens.

The flipside? None, actually. The naysayers may point out that the subject material is 'heavy', 'serious' and 'dry', but you ought to know that when you adapt 'Mahabharata' in the current milieu [present-day politics], you can't expect 'item songs' and 'slapdash humour and mimicry', for God's sake. These naysayers may also state that the running time [almost 3 hours] is a no-no in today's times, but let's not forget that even 3 hours is too short a duration for a good film and vice-versa, even an hour is too lengthy for a terrible film. RAAJNEETI is a genuinely good product, so you definitely don't mind its length. But one thing is for sure: RAAJNEETI doesn't cater to an audience that keeps its brains at home while watching a film. You need to be alert while watching this one.

Final word? Prakash Jha, the persona, is known for qualitative cinema and RAAJNEETI, his new offering, stands tall on the list. Cinema is all about narrating interesting stories on celluloid and for that very reason, RAAJNEETI deserves distinction marks. Of course, the massive star cast and the sparkling performances are the icing on the cake.

I strongly advocate this film. Do yourself a favour: Watch RAAJNEETI.