Sarkar Raj

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Posted on June 7th, 2008 in Movie Reviews

The biggest question in Bollywood these days is can Ram Gopal Varma be trusted anymore? It’s a legitimate question after the Aag debacle, as well as, a few other bombs that he made. But for his next venture, he went to one of his earlier successful vehicles-Sarkar. A sequel to Sarkar with the first family of Bollywood is expectedly a big deal and there are also big expectations from it. But RGV and his poor streak has kind of put a dent into people’s expectations, even when he is making a sequel to one of his more successful films. But after watching Sarkar Raj, I think it is safe to say that RGV is going in the right direction for us to have faith in him again. Sarkar Raj is a movie in the mould of RGV that we have come to know and love. Congrats to Ramu for getting the monkey off his back and salvaging his career!

Sarkar Raj takes off with Anita (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), the CEO of an international company, bringing a power plant proposal to set up in Maharashtra. Although Shankar (Abhishek Bachchan) thinks it is a good idea that would benefit the people of Maharashtra, Subhash (Amitabh Bachchan) is against the idea. But Shankar is able to convince Subhash to accept the proposal and then he starts his journey throughout Maharashtra, along with Anita, to convince the people of the villages of their proposal. But problems arise when the grandson of Sarkar’s mentor starts convincing the people of Maharashtra against the proposal, as well as, against Shankar. Not to mention, all the politics behind the power plant project which cause even more problems from various forces. These various forces will do whatever it takes to bring down the Nagres and finish them for good. The rest of the movie deals with the Nagres fighting the battle of survival while trying to make sure the project take place.

The film has a solid script that keeps you intrigued throughout, especially the second half. Although the first half is a bit slow, it still keeps your attention and it helps build for the much intense second half that is to follow. Truly, the second half is what lifts the film to great lengths. It is here where the film gets really intense and raw. The best part of the script may be the surprises incorporated in the second half, not to mention the climax, which is as intense as it gets! The second half, particularly the climax, does not miss a beat and keeps you enthralled throughout. It will grab you and hit you real hard.

Although the film is only a little over two hours, the editing could have been a little tighter only because of the slow first half. But overall, a solid job with the pacing of the film. The cinematography is wonderful as you totally get the feeling of the harsh and brooding look from the film. It totally blends in with the mood of the film. RGV’s famous close ups never disappoint, but I think he got a little too excited with them this time, as there were instances where he was relying on them too much. For the most part, they were used ably and only made a stronger impact. Overall, it is a very well shot film.

It is safe to say that Ram Gopal Varma still has a pulse when making movies. He still has it in him to create a wonderful product. His vision is what helped make this film what it is. Throughout the entire film, you can see the RGV stamp all over it. This is vintage RGV and we couldn’t ask for more! There are so many well shot sequences and the whole narrative is told and moves in such a gripping manner, that you really are happy to see RGV back in a groove. Every dog has his day and RGV had his. I just hope, for his sake, he will not have anymore in the future.

The soundtrack for Sarkar Raj is all “background” music and each song is very nice and blends in well with the film. As for the real background music (the other tracks added for mood and to make the emotional impact of a scene even better), the original film Sarkar provided some of the best we have ever heard. This one does not disappoint either, as the background music is another element that lifts the film. It just gets you more pumped and amped for the proceedings of the film, especially Govinda! It is truly chilling stuff!

Now to the best part of the film- the performances! Amitabh Bachchan is superb once again. In the original, he gave you goose bumps with his intense emotions and expressions. This time he gives you goose bumps with his bone chilling dialogue delivery. Watch out for him in the climax as it is vintage Bachchan at work. Everything you knew and loved about him in the original is packed into the phenomenal climax. The Godfather is in full effect!

It seems as if father and son have had a role reversal, as it is Abhishek this time that stuns you with his brooding expressions. He is fantastic this time around as he takes his character to new heights. The best part about his performance is that he is convincing as the new ‘Sarkar’ and does not look out of place leading his father’s empire. Also it should be noted that neither Bachchan is supporting here, they both are leads in their own way in the film.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan does well, but suffers from an under developed character. From the pre-release hype, it seemed as if she would be a woman that stomps your ass and takes charge. That really is not the case as she is more a person that is trying to digest everything that is taking place and trying to decide what to do. Overall, she is still very good and elevates her performance towards the end of the film and especially the climax with her perfect use of expressions.

Of the supporting cast, the ones that stand out the most are Dilip Prabhawalkar (Subhash’s mentor, Rao Saab), Govind Namdev (Hassan Qazi, villain), Ravi Kale (Chandar, Shankar’s right hand man-from the original as well), and Rajesh Shringapure (Rao Saab’s grandson, Sanjay Somji). They all do a great job and play the perfect supporting roles.

Sarkar Raj is a hard hitting and intense film and does full justice to the original. It succeeds in all departments and is exactly the type of movie we needed (or at least the type of movie I needed). It may not appeal to all, but for those who like this type of cinema, it is just what the doctor ordered. It’s about time we got a great badass movie from Bollywood. Bollywood needs to get out of its pussified state and embrace films like this. One last thing I can tell all you people out there trying to make it big in the world: Power is not given. It has to be taken.

Our Rating:

Kuch Toh Bolo!

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