Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sarkar Raj

So I came up, close and not too personal with Sarkar Raj on the first night of the release. A lot did I expect from this movie, from RGV especially after the 'Aag' debacle. WIth expectations come disappointments. And besides, RGV is a kind who is nonchalant about falls, unperturbed by the loss and wouldn't care less about the flak. He makes movies for one simple reason - he wants to make it. With an attitude as that, the onus of liking the movie falls head first on the viewers. First things first, I didn't find the movie as bad as the reviews all over portray it to be. It isn't a good movie though, despite a decent plot, strong actors and whimsical camera work.

So, the movie begins with a typical Sarkar like execution sequence where Chote Sarkar (Abhishek) has taken over the mantle and Sarkar is celebrating his birthday! In such a world where people prefer dying falling off trains than to wait a couple of minutes for the next train, Sarkar's birthday does attract a lot of crowd. An inexplicable number of people are seen standing in the Sarkar-Mahal grounds much like in the olden days when the King would come onto the balcony on his birthday. Of course, then the King would throw away gold coins, and other such ostentatiously expensive items and enjoy the ongoing stampede for money and its like, which sort of explains the inexplicable crowd! But no such luck here for Mumbaikars, who after having created much applause and jingoist cheer receive much to their disappointment only the wave of a hand from the Big B! In fact, keen movie goers might even notice a section of the crowd moves out in sheer despair with the sound department doing a very commendable work in cutting out comments like 'What has the world come to...', 'Chya maaila...' etc.! It is then that the Big B announces that there is nothing more joy-giving to a parent than to see his own son take his place and excel; and hence calls Chote Sarkar to give darshan to the audience. This time the already frustrated audience cheers up doubly well and some in fact throw in a couple of cheesy 'Chote Sarkar ki Jai ho' and the likes thinking this might remind them of the duty due to be executed! Oh btw, good work sound department! However, Chote sarkar comes in to give a much 'chota' darshan and immediately leaves to attend another phone call (which, by the way, would make you wonder at the end of the movie as to who the hell was calling him up all the time!). And all this while, the only part you would enjoy is the engaging camerawork.

Now seriously, I doubt if RGV had heard the background score even once before meshing it up with the film. If in Sarkar you felt that the Govinda chants were a bit too many; please, and I mean it sincerely, please take your ear plugs along. Why would someone want to westernize the chants, Amar Mohile is to answer. On top of that, a rural setting with a local leader leading a pack of vollage folks on top of a truck does not warrant a rock sound in the foreground background. The sitar which was sufficiently abused in Sarkar returns, only to annoy the sitarists further. Overall, the only points that the music department garners is for pure audacity. Why would anyone, even if the anyone is Ram Gopal Verma himself, want to do this time and over again, no one can explain! The songs, huh!

The camera is, I felt, the only aspect that keeps the film alive. The angles and the light has to be entirely credited to Ram Gopal, as the indulgence of the maverick (?) clearly shows. If you thought Sarkar was full of close ups, this time around you move at least an inch closer to the characters. While it might irritate some beyond measure; I did find out two things. Abhishek does not have a clear complexion and Aishwarya puts on a hell lot of make up! These apart, the angles surprise you frame after frame. The overly done sepia tone of the movie makes the setting a lot more surreal than the plot itself.

The dialogues in the movie had to be given a re-think. The father-son combo have been given a lot of screen space together and they converse only in punch lines. Good to begin with, cheesy after the first half. IMO at least a couple of them are classics - Faayda wahi hai jo sabka ho and Khoon karna jurm hai; sahi samay par jurm karna - raajniti! That apart, the rest of the cast is hardly given anything noticeable, which focuses all our attention to the father-son duo which didn't make me much too happy.

The performances are good, though Abhishek doesnt seem to be mature enough to handle the chair of Sarkar! One shivers when Aishwarya is seen asking for a cup of tea in the closing scene. Amitabh's role in the movie was weak, despite which he emerges a winner. 'Chander' who enacted the classic opening sequence in the first volume is reduced to unfortunate nothingness.

All said, I loved the plot. It has politics mixed with corporate profit and the rural junta playing scapegoats - all masterminded, of course, by the one whom you would, under ideal conditions, least expect! And there in lies the undoing of the movie too. It is the screenplay to a large extent which doesn't put in enough to weave the crucial sequences into an intelligent sequence. And hence, unfortunately Amitabh in his now-over-heard base voice is left to narrate the whole plot to Aishwarya in one sequence, much as a grandfather would to his granddaughter. It is a plot so cunningly conceived, says the grandpa to granddaughter; only it is not the Mahabharatha now - both sitting in chairs, and we are left listening to the plot unfold in less than a minute while watching the camera focussing through Amitabh's fingers from behind him, or something to that effect!

The direction moves from good to mediocre to amateurish. The only romantic scene before between Abhishek and Aishwarya is forced in only to heighten the effect of Abhishek getting shot; which by the way I felt fell flat. You wouldn't wince once while he gets shot some 5-6 times! And RGV, if the hero is on a terrace with the heroine and saying cheesy lines like all the thorns in our path are gone, no more villains and nobody can stop me - the viewer no longer expects; he knows the hero is gone for the movie!

The closing scene (read Aishwarya may be the next lead in Sarkar Rani (or whatever!)) still sends down shivers and I am left wondering; Shiva, Satya, Company, Sarka, Sarkar Raj - what next?!

PS: Next of course is a movie titled Contract with a tag line that reads 'where underworld meets terrorism'

PPS: Some changes made to the grandpa-granddaughter bit after Harini's inputs


Harini said...

was that a typo - grandpa Amitabh narrating to granddaughter Aishwarya?

Harini said...

My blog has my take on the movie. The direction was pretty shoddy according to me. Did not reach the brilliance of Sarkar, atleast not according to my lofty standards. I am in complete agreement with your review - I was sorely disappointed at the end. Hoping for a better Sarkar Rajya Sarkar in the third movie.

Abinav Kumar said...

Hmm... what I wanted to convey was that, Amitabh narrates the plot to Aish as a grandpa would to his granddaughter...

I would have to re-frame I guess... :)

Read your blog and commented too...