Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rakta Charitra - A movie review

RGV seems to have made what Shakespeare said in Macbeth, 'It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood', his guiding light in his latest offering 'Rakta Charitra' (RC). Now, historically we've always seen an excess of blood and gore in RGV flicks (Satya, Company, the Sarkar series et al). But with RC, he officially stops pretending that his fixation with capturing blood on screen goes beyond semantic needs. Here, blood isn't just a inevitable necessity; it's the actual lead protagonist.

RC traces the life of Pratap Ravi (Vivek Oberoi) who goes from being a college going lad to a gang leader competent enough to control the entire goonda network. After the brutal murders of his father and brother, Pratap submits himself to the vendetta that needs the avenging of their deaths with his rivals Narsimha Reddy and Nagamani Reddy. As he continues the campaign of red soaked mayhem, Nagamani Reddy's son – Bokka Reddy (Abhimanyu Singh) gets into the frame as the sexed up, irreverent, extremely violent nemesis who Pratap has to vanquish. As the two men get ready with their plots to outdo one another, enter Shivaji Rao (Shatrughan Sinha), the famous actor turned politician (no points for guessing who this character was based upon) who sees a useful ally in Pratap. The movie is infused with some temporary respite from the blood bath as Shivaji Rao starts to groom Pratap into a prim, moustachioed, quintessential politico who you can tell has had a violent past just from the size and shape of his mustache. As Pratap's power grows, so does the demonic rage in Bokka who is put behind bars for killing a woman cop (Ashwini Kalsekar in a curiously miscast role) with aplomb. The first installment of RC ends with the quick introduction of Suri (South star Surya in his first Hindi appearance) who seems to have an agenda of his own to get rid of Pratap. A deliciously poised tale indeed.

What holds our attention through the severed limbs, the mounds of gore and the fountains of blood are the well designed performances of the main cast. Vivek is back in his 'Company' avatar as the brooding, scowling, smoking chap who's been wronged. It is his consistent act that becomes the coherent spine in a world that is otherwise engulfed in sheer chaos. Abhimanyu Singh needs special mention here as the sex-crazy womanizer who makes no exceptions in how to deal with his rivals. I had admired him immensely in 'Gulaal' and his role as Bokka here only confirms my feeling that he is an actor who can go a long way if he continues to make his choices carefully. The rest of the cast lend support as appropriate including Radhika Apte who plays Pratap's wife and Shatrughan Sinha who appears in a refreshingly new clean-shaven version as the father-figure politico supreme. As mentioned earlier it was Ashwini Kalsekar who couldn't convince me that she was a police officer stationed in what is clearly an extremely violent region. Had her role been a bit more meatier I'd have totally recommended Seema Biswas in it as she'd always make the perfect cop to be placed amongst rural evil.

Despite it all, RGV still hasn't reached the same affluence as, say, Quentin Tarantino or even Martin Scorsese in documenting violence as a human emotion. He got nearer to it with Satya but I can't say I've seen anything since which can seriously send a chill down your spine when blood is spilled. I would disagree that this movie has anything spectacularly different in action choreography than what we've already seen in his earlier flicks. So, to avoid the movie fearing this would seem unnecessary. Also, he repeats his classic act of smearing important verbal exchange with shlokas and mantras in Sanskrit to give it a more sinister feel. I think its about time he goes easy on those and puts in a few more lines of coherent dialog. I am tempted to say that its the lack of anything creative there which makes him plug in scathing background scores to avoid coming off as cheesy. Camerawork is consistently RGV as usual with his large frame zoom outs and up close and personal zoom ins. The film has the same texture and feel as the Sarkar series so it could be that RGV hasn't yet exhausted himself of that hue palette.

Bottom line? Watch RC if you are the kind who needs a break from pop corn romances and feel good family dramas. I for one certainly look forward to the next edition as Surya takes the driver's seat.

8 reflections:

Nona said...

So far, the reviewers have been raving about Abhimanyu Singh! It notches up the curiosity factor!

As for the famous star turned politician, there are talks about cutting down the screen time because of requests from close family members. :|

ShaK said...


Indeed. If I ever had to rewatch Rakta Charitra again I'd do for two people alone. One, for Abhimanyu Singh and the other for Oberoi. They make very good rivals!

Its rather unfortunate if that sort of censorship does take place, mate. Lets see what happens in the second part.



Chetan said...

I found this movie better than the 90% copied movies from Korea or Hollywood :)

ShaK said...


Good to know, mate. Yes. It was quite an engaging film indeed. Awaiting the 2nd part.



Anonymous said...

vivek oberoi made a good comeback with this movie...hope he continues the same way...

good review sir.

ShaK said...


Vivek has a lot of potential but I've noticed he tends to get attention only when he plays a bad guy. Maybe this is something he should consider in his future choices? Playing characters with gray shades?



Radha said...

Very well written, I am curious about the movie now, might end up watching it :)
And I've become a fan of your reviews!

ShaK said...


Thanks, mate. :) Good to see you here.