A political party’s chief gets a heart attack on the eve of state elections. His son Veerendra (Manoj Bajpai) is all set to take over the mantle when senior leader Brij Gopal (Nana Patekar) convinces the chief to name Veerendra’s uncle as the successor. This throws Veerendra’s plan into a tailspin as his cousin Prithvi (Arjun Rampal), now the secretary of the party would eventually inherit the legacy. Veerendra befriends Suraj (Ajay Devgan), an upstart who got off on the wrong foot with Prithvi. The son of Prithvi’s driver, Suraj in fact, happens to be Prithvi’s elder brother who was discarded at birth for he was born out of wedlock. Suraj orders a hit on Veerndra’s Uncle and also gets Prithvi arrested in a sex scandal.
Seeing his family’s plight Samar (Ranbir Kapoor), Prithvi’s younger brother plots his revenge. An outsider who isn’t interested in politics, Samar chooses to remain in the background while projecting his brother as the Chief Ministerial candidate. In the midst of all this stands Indu, the daughter of a rich businessman, who loves Samar but ends up marrying Prithvi. Things become murkier when boundaries cease to exist in the dirty game of politics where people stop at nothing.
The biggest film of Prakash Jha’s career, Raaajneeti tries to make a sweeping statement on Indian politics but suffers from many predispositions that end up making the film look largely outdated and partly dull. Sample this: Every time someone gets shot and is fighting for life in the hospital, Nana Patekar just waltzes into the emergency room no questions asked or the scene where his simple talk is enough to revive a sedated character. Based on the epic of Mahabharat, Rajneeti’s screenplay borrows liberally from The Godfather. Anjum Rajabali and Prakash Jha, who co-wrote the screenplay, make no bones about blatantly transporting iconic moments from the Coppola classic all through the film.
Raajneeti Cast and their Contribution
Raajneeti starts very well as it sets up the characters establishing the stage for the dirty dance of Indian politics but once it shows us the menu and takes the order, the food just doesn’t turn up. Jha takes a huge step up from Gangajal and Apharan but even with a huge star cast and a pretty decent premise Raajneeti just doesn’t take off. The film has enough for everyone cast and while Manoj Bajpai, Ajay Devgan as well as Nana Patekar duly deliver it’s not as if we haven’t seen this stuff before. Given their previous films surprisingly both Katrina Kaif and Arjun Rampal are pretty decent in the film and Ranbir Kapoor at the center of it all manages to hold his own.
One wishes that Prakash Jha would have given a little more thought to the content of the film as opposed to the execution. His chaste Hindi dialogues makes Raajneeti resemble a bad college play at most parts; his local Indu sounds more British than the foreigner returned Samar and some scenes like Indu’s father asking Samar’s mother to make Samar the Chief Ministerial candidate for he’d would the best for his daughter and Samar telling his brother to marry Indu for he can’t even think of being the CM and Indu being told by Samar to marry his brother for if she doesn’t then her father will marry her off to Veerendra who would become the CM if her father didn’t bankroll Prithvi- is so asinine that one wonders if this really is Jha’s serious take on Indian politics.
Final Words on Raajneeti
At almost three hours of playtime Raajneeti long enough to entwine you as well as bore you. As someone mentioned while viewing the film that the entire thing looks like one long trailer, Raajneeti at best, looks like one of those television news channel shows where they relentlessly follow a candidate’s election campaign trail!
Raajneeti Cast: Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn, Ranbir Kapoor, KatrinaKaif, Manoj Bajpai, Arjun Rampal and Naseruddin Shah
Raajneeti Screenplay: Anjum Rajabali and Prakash Jha based on Prakash Jha’s story
Raajneeti Directed by: Prakash Jha
Raajneeti Ratings: 2/5
Raajneeti Music: Wayne Sharpe