Monday, June 9, 2008

Sarkar Raj: movie review

I went to watch Sarkar Raj yesterday evening. As I took my place, I saw this small kid sleeping in the seat next to me. Though my wife found him extremely cute I wasn’t amused. Kids can be quite disruptive in settings like this. I take my movies quite seriously and like to watch them with undivided attention. Nonetheless I was glad that at least he was sleeping and wished that he slept peacefully till the movie was over.

I am a huge of Ramu and even the disastrous ‘RGV ki Aag’ didn’t discourage me to change my loyalty for him. Of course, who doesn’t have a bad day at work and historically too, amid the duds like Daud, Mast, Naach and Darling he has given gems like Shiva, Rangeela, Satya, Company and Sarkar. Also, some of the finest actors, directors, scriptwriters and composers got their first big breaks because of him- Manoj Bajpai, Jaideep Sahni, Anurag Kashyap and Madhur Bhandarkar are suitable examples.

I had huge expectations from Sarkar Raj. I thought this would be his chance to redeem from the misery of ‘Aag’. But in all honesty- I am quite disappointed, and I have valid reasons to be.

To start with- the characterisation, especially of some of the negative characters is extremely caricaturish. You have an over reacting Sayaji Shinde who painfully overdoes everything from his dialogue deliveries to basic mannerisms of eating, walking and talking. This definitely would qualify as one of his career worst performances.

Then there is another bad character- Mr. Vora - who insists on the correct pronunciation of his name- and erratically hums old hindi songs. This guy brought back the memories of Sadashiv Amrapurkar era of villainhood and believe me you can’t get worse than that.

But my award for the best of the worst goes to this contract killer they hire for killing Abhishek. He is supremely intriguing and expresses everything through a judicious movement of his hand…or leather gloves (to be more specific) and the dialogues between this handyman and his employers (Sayaji and Vora) are to be seen (and heard) to be believed. Guys this is dramatic even by the cinematic standards.

Talking about Ash, I couldn’t quite understand her position throughout the movie. In her introductory scene, she explicitly expresses her disregard for the word ‘impossible’ and comes across as no- nonsense business woman with an exclusive focus on getting the project through. But her stance becomes utterly contradicting and confusing as the movie progresses.

The relevance of place is completely exempted for this woman (one moment she is in London, the next moment in Mumbai or Thakerwadi) and she is privileged to be a part of the confidential meetings of Nagres’ where she has nothing to do whatsoever- like the scene where Shankar is trying to figure out the killers of his wife and sacks Chander.

Abhishek Bachan carries a solo serious expression through out the movie and sounds preachy for the most part of it. Calling themselves the crusaders of positive change, the father-son duo try to outdo each other in profundity by uttering pretentious and theatrical dialogues to each other.

The scene in the Hospital between the father and the son (where Shankar is fighting death) and the scene where Nagre senior informs Ash about killing her father- are particularly funny and worth special mention.

Also, the scene where Shankar goes to nab Qazi is exaggerated even if you account for the cinematic liberties that a director can avail for.

Talking about the camera work- Ramu’s romance with the close-ups, unusual camera angles and his play with light have become monotonous and seem to make the film lengthy than it actually is. I have noted that he also has a fascination to focus on cups and saucers and should probably ask Lipton to sponsor his next film.

The background score is irritating to say the least and overpowers the narrative. The kid (next to me) woke up to the ‘Govinda Govinda’ tune like a bad dream and hence kept asking his popcorn digging mother “mamma, yeh kab khatam hoga?”

Everytime the mother said “beta, ab khatam hone wala hai”, more than the kid, I had a sigh of relief thinking that the torture is at last coming to an end.

In a scene Amitabh tells his son- “Beta, yeh tum par nahi, tumhare soch par hamla hai”. This is what Ramu should be saying to his viewers.

Ramu, dude wake up and smell the coffee. If you don’t want to go to film school, at least revisit your own work like Satya nd Shiva to come up with something better next time.


Raj said...

I have now beocme a fan of yours..

gurudev prasad said...

Hi raj,

I am honoured brother and glad you liked the post.

Passionate said...

On popular demand....... bring down the length pleasee....

Kidding :) U gotta stay original...

Raj said...

Hi Gurudev, -
Really really nice to see your personal reply...
I have no doubt you will give Chetan bhagat a run for his money.

sambit said...

hi guru....
u r the best film critic i ve ever met. Even if i liked the movie a little , i lost all the likings for it as soon as i read your critic.
every word of yours is unavoidable and no one can diagree to any of your reasons that went against the film.
Now that you have posted a new blog, I can assume that you are in a good mood(coz i think its really difficult to write unless you are having a peaceful mind) and hopefully in delhi now..
pls give your new number if you really want to rem the old memories of riders.

sambit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gurudev prasad said...

Hi Raj,

that's generous of you. Tell me about yourself...are you from Bangalore.

gurudev prasad said...

Hi Mr. Dash,

I am pleasantly surprised to see you here. Taking a breather in the new job? Hey I will give the new no. as soon as I get one. As far as remembering Riders is concerned...that is not I can't forget it in first place. I love you guys and every moment spent in VF. Keep rocking brother.

Saiyed Samir Hasnain said...

So you are back!!!

Is there some way you can do it for all the movies so we can read your analysis and then decide whether to watch the Film or not...

I induced respect for south Indian Director's through you. so I Kind was very disappointed by THE Ramu's AAG, but was very optimistic about Sarkar Raj and because of my All time Favorite Amitabh Bacchan and Aishwarya Rai, I liked the Movie to certain extend but after reading your blog, I realized what a waste of money was that.

I second your thought about the movie, normally I don't watch movies, only selected is what I look up to. But I was amazed that why in first place I did not pointed out the flaws in the movie.

Good luck!!!

keep writing It's Good...

Extra Point: I never use to read any such article but since i know you, i really like reading it...

Thank You

gurudev prasad said...

Hi Samir Bhai,

Thnaks for the encouragement brother. Hey, I would strongly recommend you to watch this gem of a movie called 'Aamir' (featuring Rajeev Khandelwal). I am sure- you would find it very interesting.

Prabhash said...

Guru Jee,

Badhaiyan. Aapka blog best-se-best hota jaa raha hai.

Seriously, you better yourself everyday.

On your demand, have now posted after a while.

santosh dhungana said...

finally got to read the review of somebody who actually goes beyond the monotonous chroning of Bachchan fans saying how wonderful the movie was, when in fact this is a shame.

gurudev prasad said...

Hi Santosh,

Thanks for writing in. You put it correctly- its a 'shame'