… but I figured out since everybody’s entitled to an opinion, I am too. And since I have been voicing out mine regarding this movie to anybody who cares to listen, I might as well put it down in words here.
Granted, that even before I sat down to watch the movie, I had placed it at a disadvantage by unfairly expecting too much out of it. Reason being that, of all places in Bangalore where we could have watched the movie, my sister’s colleague could only turn up with tickets for five of us in Rex Cinema. Now anybody who’s been there would understand just why the moment I sat down on my seat I turned to my sister and said “The movie had better be really good!!” I don’t think the hall had air-conditioning (couldn’t really tell but the loo stench from outside was some indication that even if it had, it wasn’t working), and the seats had all the comfort of a wooden chair minus a cushion. Plus the fact that each time my arms would touch the arm-rests I would flinch on reflex (they looked like you could peel off layers and layers of grime and coke and heaven knows what from them!). And the crowd….sigh. The hooting started even before the story did. Anyway, to cut a long whining short, the lack of a good ambiance definitely put all the onus of that evening’s entertainment solely on the movie.
Normally when I sit to watch a movie, I like to turn my mind off. And then wait to see if the movie can make me think in spite of that. And Raajneeti made me think right from the first scene when débutante actress Nikhila Tirkha’s character says her very first dialog. So this is how it sounds when plastic speaks, was what came to my mind, I swear. Little did I know that the movie would make me think all along. There were many times when I felt like asking a few questions out loud (like why would a top-notch minister’s wife handle the kitchen herself…hell, even housewives with maids don’t do that!) but I am ready to overlook these details as long as I like the bigger picture. Which I did, for the first hour. I remember me and my sister shuddering at all the politics and shaking our heads saying “This is what actually happens!” and inside my head I commended Prakash Jha for once again bringing the true picture to light. And then we were taken for a ride. Literally.
The movie has so many twists and turns and ups and downs I felt like I was on a roller-coaster ride. Things came to such that if within fifteen minutes nothing was “happening” I would start fidgeting, wondering when the next person was going to get shot or the next car going to get blasted into smithereens. That was a sharp contrast to the rest of the times when I could almost predict what is going to happen. But towards the end I seriously couldn’t take any more of the excitement. It’s like how you feel when you have one of those spicy smoking hot affairs when it’s all sparks and fireworks… but later on you want more of the candlelit sweetness and moonlit steadiness. I had turned to my sister’s other colleague and had said “Kuch zyaada hi happening nahi hain?” after wondering for the umpteenth time at what juncture they would think it appropriate to call it a justified end.
But I guess the last nail in the coffin was the dialog “Tum mere jyesth putra ho” (Nikhila Tirkha to Ajay Devgan) That was when we laughed out loud. I mean, who talks like this these days? And that was the one time I couldn’t stop myself from commenting on how a certain scene should be handled. I mean, think of it. A mother meets her long lost illegitimate son (who incidentally happens to be her family’s mortal enemy) and asks him to come back home. How emotional, how dramatic is that? The audience should have been clutching their chests owing to all the sentiments gnawing at their heart…. Instead, we were laughing! Jyesth putra, honestly! And in the same lines the bit where Katrina Kaif goes “Tumhara Bhai apna ek angsh choddke gaye hain” to Ranbir Kapoor had me chuckling out loud too. The woman could wear all the stiff cotton sarees she wants to. She could give all the rehearsed loaded speeches in the world with an accent that leaves no doubt as to which part of the country she certainly does not belong to. But ‘angsh‘? Who are they trying to fool?
Okay, that came out strong. But then more than about the movie, I wanted to talk about the conversation that ensued on our way back home in a cramped taxi (me sitting on my sister’s lap!). We all admitted it is better than most of the Bollywood movies we are served these days. But is being better in comparison sufficient to make a movie good? We found ourselves talking about “Rang De Basanti” and how that movie had made us sit up and take notice. About how it had awakened the Indian in us. About how in spite of not being an out and out “patriotic” movie it did manage to bring out the patriot in all of us. We also agreed that even though we wouldn’t find shooting a minister very realistic, we still didn’t find it too difficult to understand their sentiments and relate to them. “Rang De Basanti” had made us think.
On the other hand, politics is something every Indian would easily relate to. Everybody has an opinion on how this country should be run. Everyone believes that politics is dirty, and all politicians are corrupt. Then why was it so difficult to relate to this movie, which claims it is about “Politics….. and beyond”? “Raajneeti” should have made us sit up and take notice, too. It should have ignited the fire inside us to want to do something. Instead, five people on their way back home from the movie were laughing about the lame dialogs. And my sister’s acute observation that each sex scene in the movie was followed by a pregnancy, which started a whole new series of “hit rate” jokes. And how Nikhila Tirkha’s claim to fame was supposed to be that one scene with Ajay Devgan where she gets to play the ultimate mother. About how in the movie the women were either scheming and sly (Shruti Seth’s character), so vulnerable that their lives could be played with (Katrina Kaif’s Indu Pratap), meant for the sole purpose of exemplifying an innocent victim (Sarah Thompson’s Sarah) or totally irrelevant (Nikhila Tirkha’s character).
Politics is serious business, folks. A democracy even more. Movies on these issues are meant to be sensitive, and you don’t want to make the wrong impression on our extremely Bollywood worshiping junta. I do understand that for a movie to “sell” it has to have everything in it. But that doesn’t mean you put in all the spices you can possibly think of and after that expect it to taste good. I would have loved to love the movie, and come back thinking of it. But somehow, when the only thing you can remember about a movie ten-fifteen days later is how lame the dialog was, it kind of nullifies all the strong features that it did have, doesn’t it?
To each his own, however. A brother of mine claims it to be an epic; the Mahabharata of 2050. A lot of my friends who have watched it have liked it immensely. For me though Rex Cinema and “Raajneeti” both weren’t very commendable to anyone I know. The former’s after-effects had to be washed off with soap the moment we reached home, and the latter’s had to be washed off with episode after episode of Tintin’s Adventures the next day. But at least it makes for a good conversation starter, eh? And for hundreds of blog posts just like this one? Maybe I will give the movie that credit. Hmm.