One would wonder, what with a tagline of ‘Truth is terrible’, as to what it is in the murky world of power-hungry and morally-dead media tycoons that one isn’t already aware of… And to enter the theatres with such a thought would be unfair to the movie, not to mention the audience, because Rann has nothing new to offer. But what it does offer, (and what an offer!) doesn’t disappoint.
Vijay Harshvardhan Mallik (Amitabh Bachchan)is a conscientious owner of a Hindi news channel, India 24/7, who believes in delivering news to his audiences without any mirch or masala (something that has become a staple diet for other news channels), even at the cost of its TRPs. Jai Mallik (Sudeep) is his debt ridden son who desperately wants India 24/7 to be the number one news channel in India, leaving its competitor Amreesh Kakkad’s (Mohnish Behl) news channel to bite the dust.
Jai’s desperation leads him to Mohan Pandey (Paresh Rawal), a wily and conniving politician, who uses Mallik Jr. as a means to become the PM of the country. These two, together with Harshvardhan’s power-hungry son-in-law Naveen (Rajat Kapoor) malign the image of the current PM in an expose that is made via India 24/7. Purab Shastri (Riteish Deshmukh), a newbie in the India 24/ office, is the anti-Mohan Pandey. He is someone who lives by the ideals of Harshvardhan Mallik, still believes in the high ethos of journalism, and his character is the one who uncovers the truth about Pandey and his army of sophisticated goons.
Yes, the story has nothing new to offer.
You have to hand it to Varma to come up with a gripping enough narrative for his audience, despite the obvious direction where the story is headed. The movie’s USP are its crisp narrative and its stellar performances by the entire cast; not to mention the superb cinematography by Amit Roy, who plays beautifully with the light in the entire film.
For once, despite being the protagonist of the movie, the audience does not get an overdose of Bachchan. Instead, Varma has very masterfully given each and every character enough and nigh equal footage to prove their mettle, and none of them disappointed.
Bachchan’s sublte acting was top notch, as was Rajat Kapoor’s and Riteish Deshmukh’s. Rawal’s portrayal of an out and out villainous character was refreshing from his usual over-the-top comic characters, but the surprise package of the lot was Sudeep. Sudeep managed to get into the skin of his character, almost as if Jai Mallik was him, even though one could see glimpses of Kay-Kay Menon like acting in his performance. It was a pleasure to see Mohnish Behl do justice to the role of the hungry media honcho. He was in top form, and here’s hoping that the versatile actor gets many more such roles which do justice to his calibre.
The movie was not without its goof-ups, though. Why was Riteish’s character shown to be wearing a sleeveless sweater throughout the movie, when the rest of the characters were wearing clothes appropriate for summer-time? Also, if only Varma would have detailed Riteish’s investigation a bit more. And who ever did Gul Panag’s dubbing didn’t do a very good job of it.
Barring these minor bumps in the road, Rann is one of those rare movies which carries forth its message without being too preachy or pointing its fingers at anybody. This movie is not for people who go to theatres expecting naach-gaana and such tamaasha from it, and since very unfortunately, such people form the majority of the people who decide the fate of a movie, Rann won’t be doing wonders at the BO (even as we hope otherwise).
It is for the intelligentsia, and they are the ones who will truly be able to appreciate the movie for what it truly is – a movie with its heart in the right place.