Review: RAJNEETI Is A Very Enjoyable Movie But Ultimately Shallow
Prakash Jha has made a pretty huge impact in his last three films in Bollywood. Films that revolve around social issues, made with a large effort to portray the realism in India. Something majority of Indian films lack, as is the stereotype, which is true in most cases. Jha previous credits include Gangaajal, a movie about corruption in a small states police department. Following that was Apaharan (movie review here), about how kidnapping is a business in other states of India. Jha returns after 5 years with a movie that focuses on a larger issue of Indian politics in Rajneeti. So here is my Rajneeti movie review.
Prakash Jha Usually Makes Political Thrillers
Rajneeti is a layered film with a lot of nuances. Every scene becomes a revelation to the overall direction of the story. The story itself is really simple and one that happens all over the world. A political party is led by a family consisting of two brothers, their sons, and other extended members. After the eldest brother has a stroke, the rest of the family is left vying for power. This kick starts a battle for leadership with the ultimate reward of becoming Chief Minister of India. Amidst the scramble, there is the youngest son (Ranbir Kapoor), who has no interest in politics. But he enters the arena after direct attacks on his family.
The film begins with the relationship of the daughter of a politician with an older man (Naseeruddin Shah), which results in the birth of an illegitimate son (Away Devgn). To save face, they put the son up for adoption. A family in the village then finds and raises the son. This is Ajay Devgan’s character, who ends up embroiled in the fight between family members for power. All the while not knowing that they are all actually his own blood relatives. But instead, acting as a lower ranked politician aiding Manoj Bajpayee’s character. So the first born is helping the bad guy go against his own family without even realizing the truth. So far this is making for great drama no? I thought so too.
Rajneeti Movie Review Has One Glaring Plot Hole
However, through out the entire film, Devgn’s character is pretty unnecessary. He is someone who is just there, witnessing and participating in the dirty politics of this family. However, there is never a culmination of the fact that his character is related to them. The entire subplot of him being the illegitimate older son of the family doesn’t factor in. Ever! Especially when you realize the fact that he is the product of both rival parties, and could truly be the one to bridge the idealogical divide.
There is a scene where his crying mother requests him to join his ‘true’ family, which he obviously rejects stating his loyalty lies with people who were there for him. Understandable. But that’s it! The revelation of the secret didn’t affect the characters’ actions at all. It didn’t contribute in any way to the ending of the movie. It seems almost as if there were additional scenes and plot points. But were all edited out or scraped in the final cut. I wish Bollywood did ‘Directors’ Cut’ releases on DVD. However they don’t, so we’ll never get that version of the movie.
No Hopes For A Directors’ Cut
Other than that (huge) oversight, the film itself was thoroughly enjoyable. It was extremely complicated and layered to keep you on the edge of your seat. Yes, I realize that’s a cliché. But I feel secure in using clichés for films that actually deliver that level of excitement.