A few hours after watching Raajneeti, there is very little you’d care to remember of the film. What’s there to bear in mind from a pedestrian film about warring cousins and dynastic rule, besides the mindless killings and vicious games people play to attain power and hold on it?
And as far as politics goes, it doesn’t tell you very much more than you didn't already know.
At roughly two hours and 50 minutes, Raajneeti is way too long and demands a lot of patience on the part of the viewer. The film has a sprawling canvas, and it takes some time to figure out the characters and their motivations.
Prithvi Pratap (Arjun Rampal) and Veerendra Pratap (Manoj Bajpai) are the successors of a powerful party after the patriarch of their political family suffers a paralytic stroke. Prithvi is eager to take the top spot, but his cousin Veerendra turns out to be his biggest opponent. When Prithvi is appointed head of the party, Veerendra teams up with Sooraj (Ajay Devgn).
In their quest to wrest control of the party, Prithvi and Veerendra resort to blackmail, murder, backstabbing, and marriages of allegiance.
Enter Samar Pratap (Ranbir Kapoor), who has absolutely no political aspirations, but is sucked into the world of politics to help his brother, Prithvi.
So we have impulsive Prithvi, scheming Veerendra, focussed Samar. Katrina Kaif is Indu, who finally gets the ultimate power.
A word of advice for Katrina: Avoid serious emotional roles, please. Spare us the torture. The film turns into an unintentional comedy because of her extra doses of emotions, dialogue delivery and vacant expressions. Especially in the final act when she, sari-clad and trying to be a serious, addresses a political rally. With the necessary punch and the tone lacking, the powerful spell falls lifeless.
Dialogues, the powerhouse of any political drama, were hackneyed, low on the rank and monotonous, getting cynical and comical in the wrong places.
I won’t completely write off the film, but clearly this is one of those movies that could have been so much more.
In my opinion, the most mature, performance comes from the youngest cast-member, Ranbir Kapoor. The actor silently proves it.
In the film’s climax, the bloody shootout between top politicians in broad daylight appears ridiculous to say the least; and equally disturbing is the film’s logic, which allows a central character to walk away from the messy political marshland in the end, his blood-soiled hands notwithstanding.
If you have an appetite for asinine dramas, then Raajneeti may just be your thing. However, I have my doubts that anyone with a fully functional brain can actually describe this travesty of a film as intelligent, serious filmmaking. Prakash Jha, we expect more from you next time.