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Starring: Ajay Devgan, Nana Patekar, Ranbir Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai, Katrina Kaif, Naseeruddin Shah
Directed by Prakash Jha
Katrina Kaif claimed she had modelled her politician character’s mannerisms on Priyanka Gandhi. Prakash Jha kept denying that his film had anything to do with the Gandhi ladies. Together Kaif and Jha confused some Congress leaders and managed to keep Raajneeti in the news over a needless censorship controversy. There is nothing Congress in the film save the fair Kaif campaigning in cottons, looking like a Sonia-Priyanka clone. That too for a brief while at the fag end of the film.
In fact, for a film called Raajneeti, it sets no new standards for political cinema. Intricate political games have been portrayed persuasively in fine films like New Delhi Times or Hu Tu Tu. Instead of revealing to us canny political minds, Jha’s focus is on the several shootouts, blood and gore. Which could well have happened in a corporate, mafia, for that matter any devious family set-up. So politics just provides a backdrop for what is essentially a revenge theme. The power tussle between two political families has been shown with embarrassingly obvious nods to Godfather. Add to it a deliberate link-up with the Mahabharata and you get a terribly confused script. Instead of a nuanced, layered association with the epic, as in Shyam Benegal’s Kalyug, here the connect is way too convenient. Jha’s canvas is sprawling but characters remain ill-defined, be it Arjun who moves from a sexy dude to a blood-thirsty Dracula. Or his younger brother Ranbir, whose sudden wily ways have no grounding; they just happen as a matter of revenge. Manoj is turned into a caricature by the middle of the film, Ajay seems to have stepped out of Omkara straight into Raajneeti, with gait and expression intact. The only one who holds interest is the crafty Nana Patekar. As for women, they are all toys in the patriarchy of politics, shown as used and abused, voluntarily or otherwise. Doesn’t Jha know a single woman who plays politics well? The plot is full of holes and gets unwieldy, especially in the second half, even as the lingo becomes downright cringeworthy. The first half has some drama to keep you glued but eventually Raajneeti gets overlong, boring and tortuous.
Courtesy: Film Information