Wednesday, 9 June 2010

My take on Raajneeti

I saw this movie last weekend.I liked the acting of everyone .The movie is too fast paced with bodies falling by the wayside .It speeds  faster as the race for power begins.

It is a story which seems to be considerably inspired from the events in India's political landscape.The struggle for power between cousins is akin to what has taken place in one of our States in a party which is basically a regional outfit though it ties up with national parties for the elections.The outright elimination of a strongman of a political party reminds one of the murder of a secretary of an influential tribal leader who got away owing  to  lack of evidence.The sympathy vote which brings the heroine to power is all too familiar with what has happened in this nation & elsewhere in Asia.

The movie is also a modern Mahabharata as stated by the director. The eldest protagonist is a Bhishma like figure as he is unable to do anything as youngsters are hell bent on killing each other to win the race.The Chief Minister gets  bedridden just like Dhritrashtra & is a puppet in the hands of his son.Bharati is Kunti & has three sons- one illegitimate ,Suraj just like Karna ( Surya' son) & two legitimate  sons born after her marriage .The eldest is arrogant & brash & younger one is just like Arjuna who takes action after planning.Now,here,we all know too well who these two seem to be portraying other than the Pandava princes.

Suraj is brought up by the driver just like the charioteer brings up Karna in the epic after they spot him as a baby adrift on the Ganges.Suraj is taken in as a chum by the vile son of the bedridden father.This is like Karna & Duryodhana's bosom friendship.

Katrina Kaif is Draupadi as she loves one brother & is coerced to marry another- all for the cause of politics nah to nab power.There is Bharati's brother, who is the Krishna of this story, always devising strategy   for Bharati's family.Krishna in Mahabharata as also in this tale is a Muhbola bhai ( brother by relation not a natural sibling ) .Krishna is there throughout the movie as if omnipresent.It reminds us that though God was   in the midst  of Pandavas & Kauravas,whatever happened was bound to happen.Maybe,there are lessons for all of us .Krishna is the kingmaker in the film. There is a scene in which ,the younger brother is goaded to kill his rival at point blank range by Krishna.The young fellow replies that as the rival  is unarmed,he does not feel up to it.Krishna says that he should do it as he may not get another chance.This is the five minute Geetopadesh ! Also,the rival is killed when he is out of his bullet proof vehicle  -Karna is bereft of his Kavach Kundala when he is killed.

The speeches made by the stars in the movie made me realise that our netas use mass hypnosis to abet people to vote for them ! Our magicians could learn all this indrajaal from our leaders as they have perfected the said tricks in election after election .The speech goes on like this ," Aap ( voters -public ) chup khade yeh sab dekh rahe hain -unhone ( rival political party) hamare Sasur/Pita/Pati/Bhai/etal  ko  din dahade maar dala ,aap kab tak aisa hone denge ? " The mesmerised crowd yells back ," Aap aage badho,hum aapke saath hain ".Really,how easily the populace is conned into believing that the said persons sacrificed their lives for the nation ! The politicians have been killed for pursuit of power, by the pursuit of power & of the pursuit of power .The netas believe in self (-) less service !  We  see this happening in our nation so often.

The film depicts what we all knew too well that politicians are ruthless when it comes to power & will stop at nothing to achieve their kursis. No relation is too sacrosanct for this.They believe that ends justify the means.But I am not buying what the younger brother tells the heroine that she will be happy in his home rather than in his cousin's place.This is all subjective thinking.Moreover,he, as also  his cousin pull all stops to seize  power.The same can be said about the Pandavas & Kauravas as they both used deceit during the war.Ultimately, the war ends but how ? With so many casualties & just a few members left -as in the saga of the Kuru clan.Katrina divulges at the end that she is pregnant.So,I guess, that, there may be a sequel in the offing.

Bharati hugs her bahu & tells her," We ( read women ) are the biggest losers in this power game ." Hopefully,the Women's Reservation bill will change that.


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  2. I've read this take, NOT having watched the film. If it is what it is made out to be, I needn't waste my time, thanks to views expressed. Prakash Jha is a very tall pillar... one needn't to visit a cine hall to judge him or his work. As for Mahabharat, I must digress a little in to NATYASHASTRA of BHARAT MUNI [2nd BC to 2nd AD]... with a premise that film is yet (perhaps contemporary) another version of NATYA in our culture.
    You find a mention in this prehistoric text and its subsequent commentaries a statement reading: 'YANNA BHAARATAY TANNA BHAARATAY.' which is interpreted as WHATEVER IS NOT FOUND IN MAHAABHAARAT of Vyaasa Rishi IS NOT TO [NOR WILL] BE FOUND IN Bharat Muni's NAATYASHAASTRA... This historic reference says it all. MAHAABHARAT indeed is THE ULTIMATE of all plots, the Mother of Story telling in all its colours and shades. Nothing that's NOT included in Vyaas's work is conceivable in dramaturgy in Indian Culture. So from BR Chopra to Prakash Jha, through Shyam Benegal, many have been tempted to depict MAHAABHARAT to suit Cultural Epoch of their own times. How very forcefully and successfully they do it is all that needs to be judged.
    That said, I'll make yet another passing note about place of MAHAABHARAT in Indian Culture. In villages and urban India alike, Ram Leela has formed an integral part of Cultural life, this is NOT the case with MAHAABHARAT despite its cardinal position in the culture of Indian 'story telling'. Valmiki RAMAYANA had a place in peoples' hearts because one could learn there ways of life for their own mundane daily lives too. Such a remark cannot be made about MAHAABHARAT. One sees wise men say in rural India," 'Family life' would wither slowly, if not collapse in a moment, if one were to watch Theatre based on MAHAABHARAT", not so about RAMAYANA, not just of Valmiki's RAMAYANA but of ten others who wrote on the same epic.
    The point raised here might throw open a debate at the current cross road of world views. RAMA and KRISHNA may be two distinctly different AWATAARs of VISHNU suited for two different epochs/periods of Indian subcontinent. Yet only one of them has a universal appeal, while the other is for a select few. But for this fact, we would find it difficult to see why KHRISHNA-LEELA and BHAGVADGEETA sit 'patchwork like' on Vyaasa Rishi's story telling. They WERE a necessity to earn a secular appeal to the work and might as well be later period inclusions.
    And why would Prakash Jha see relevance in opting for this epic to make a statement on current India? What Chopra did for a sweeping reach on Doordarshan, Shyam Benegal did for sketching a strife in a Industrial House and we see Prakash Jha do it on a Political canvass. That he should do so with telling effect is no surprise... as we learn, Indian Censor Board had problems clearing it far a Universal release. It has family parallels difficult to deny; and these may or may not work to the advantage of parties and persons in power.
    A commoner visits polling booths as feverishly as he patrols Cine halls. Often he gets paid for the former act, while he has to burn a hole in his pocket to allow Prakash Jha cash Rs.54 Crores in his 1st weekend.

  3. I liked Ranveer Kapoor in the movie, restrained and great. The story is on the similar lines of Kalyug by Shashi Kapoor and also of course, Mahabharat.

  4. Thank you,Ritu for your views.Yes,I have seen Kalyug & that was business rivalry based on Mahabharat.

    All actors have acted nicely in Rajneeti...kudos to the director.