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BETTER THAN RAMU'S RECENT FILMS
BETTER THAN RAMU'S RECENT FILMS

By Pankaj Shukla

Critic's I-view

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Do you remember the famous line of Subhas Nagre, the powerful politician, in 'Sarkar'? He had said, "Mujhe Jo Achcha Lagta Hai Main Woh Karta Hoon (I do what I think is good)". Actually, this is the working style of director Ram Gopal Varma. He does what he thinks is good for his cinema. He may continue with his same (often used) camera angles till his last reel and also believe in his subject till the last word uttered in his life. He is a firm believer in doing what suits someone, no matter what the outcome is? As said in 'Sarkar Raj', "Faisale Nahin Unke Nateeje Galat Hote Hain (It's not the decisions that go wrong but their outcome may)".

I know that Ramu is a man who goes by his own principles. However, as a viewer I wish Ramu moves with the time. His die-hard fans are tired of watching the same low camera angle, top angle, moving forward and then coming back and the crane coming down till the low angle is shot. There are few more of his shots in mid-close, where he shifts focus from a person in the foreground to the artist sitting in the background and vice versa. His camera angles have confused his actors as well otherwise why would a fine actor like Abhishek Bachchan look into the camera in that low angle behind the glass table shot?

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As Govind Namdeo says in 'Sarkar Raj', "Yehan har aadmi ek hathoda lekar ghoomta hai ek keel ki talaash mein. (Here everyone is roaming around with a hammer in search of a nail)". Similarly, many people in Bollywood are roaming around with a hammer in their hands to fix a nail in Ram Gopal Varma's coffin! Much has been written about him post 'RGV Ki Aag', but I am of the opinion that there is certainly something in his art that has kept him floating in the worst of times. He has survived the worst and only better seems to be there in the offing.
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'Sarkar Raj' is a new beginning for him. Though it may not surpass its prequel 'Sarkar' in terms of content, performances and business, but it surely will give some boost to his sulking image at box office. It always needs more in a sequel than a prequel, and Ramu has therefore roped in Aishwarya Rai as Anita, Rajesh Shringarpure as Somji, and Dilip Prabhawalkar as Rao ji as additional attractions. The story moves from where it was left in 'Sarkar'. Anita arrives in Mumbai with a plan to start a power plant in the rural Maharashtra. Subhash Nagre aka Sarkar declines the offer, but his son Shankar (Abhishek) sees a ray of hope in the development of the project. He is opposed by Somji and that sparks a rift between the two. When everything looks like falling in place, Anita's father (Victor Bannerjee) changes hands. He leaves both Shankar and Anita at the mercy of time.

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In between, Shankar's pregnant wife is killed in a brutal attack and Anita's sympathy reaches Shankar's heart. Both look forward to a common future, but it is too late by then. People, who once seemed to be closer to the Sarkar family, join hands in the conspiracy to dethrone him. Murders after murders take place, and it is finally Sarkar who has to rise from his retirement chair to tie the loose ends. Anita joins in Sarkar and the film ends with an indication that one more sequel is in the offing! Maybe Abhishek comes back as grandson of Sarkar as a reference is repeatedly made for him during the film.

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There isn't much happening in 'Sarkar Raj' as a story, though. The basic plot of the film unfolds in the first few scenes, and what remains thereafter is a wait as to who will win in the end. Prashant Pandey does come out brightly with an apt script and the two-hour timing is perfect for such a film. Dialogues are effective at times, but the major supporting point of 'Sarkar', usage of silence loses its shine this time, just because of overpowering background music. Technically speaking, ' Sarkar Raj' is a film with finesse. But, this isn't new for those who have watched RGV films. They expect something more from him. More innovative frames are expected from a director who shot the longest running opening shot in 'Raat'. The editing is perfect to set the mood and the ambience is right, too.

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The biggest minus point in the film is the lack of heroism in Abhishek's character. Though he is poised to become the successor of 'Sarkar', but most of the time he is just tagging along Aishwarya's character! The action part is missing from his character except in the scene where he goes to rescue Somji. Shankar speaks the frightful dialogues but lack of action makes his character look timid. Once again, Aishwarya has done a fine job. She acts in most intense situations, and still does it better. Again, the savior of the film is none other than Amitabh Bachchan.

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After the pre-climax he takes charge of the situation and befits the theme of the Sarkar series, "Power cannot be given, it has to be taken." Power isn't demanded, it's rather commanded. But, the film again loses its pace when Sarkar starts narrating the whole conspiracy theory to Anita. Amitabh Bachchan exudes power in every frame that he comes in. His persona has got the befitting character in Subhash Nagre, and characters like Raoji and Chander only extend his phenomenon. Background music score is superb. The Govinda theme is carried from its prequel, but "Sam Daam Dand Bhed" is better than this! Supriya Pathak and Tanisha also support the film well. Rajesh Shringarpure has a baritone voice and impressive looks that will help him get some good roles in the near future. On the whole, 'Sarkar Raj' falls short of expectations that Ramu's fans had gathered since his 'Sarkar', but it's a much, much better than most of Ramu's recent films.

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