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Murky politics exposed in style



Meaty role:Katrina Kaif in ‘Raajneeti'

Film: Raajneeti

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Katrina Kaif, Ranbir Kapoor

Director: Prakash Jha

Let's get dirty as Prakash Jha literally takes the pallu off Indian politics. He systematically scratches off the starched white to showcase the muck that lies beneath. Here ends define the means, morals are moulded according to convenience and wilful ignorance is part of the strategy. There are no heroes here and no heroines -- just characters out to tell an engaging story underlining the fact that cinema is still a director's medium where screenplay holds the key.

Jha is one of the few filmmakers not to have lost touch with the ground realities. He might have failed at the hustings, but the man knows how to weave realities of electoral politics into celluloid polemics.

Jha has set his story in a modern day kingdom where a family of Rajputs holds sway. We have a kurta-pyjama clad Dhritrashtra (Jahangir Khan) who gets a paralytic attack on the eve of State election.

The party control shifts to his younger brother (Chetan Pandit) and his brash son (Arjun Rampal) as a combination of Yudhishthir and Bhim. The raucous Duryodhan (Manoj Bajpayee) doesn't like it and plots the downfall of his uncle with his Dalit friend (Ajay Devgn as Karn). If there is Karn, there has to be a Kunti with her secrets and an Arjun to counter the Kaurav coterie.

In comes Ranbir Kapoor as the outsider who turns the table on the master politicians in his family. Then there is a combination of Bhishma and Krishna-like figure (Nana Patekar) lurking in the background, who steps in every time a crisis reaches boiling point. Add to it a modern day Draupadi (Katrina Kaif) and you have a volatile narrative that keeps you stirred.

The problem is that in an overdose of plots there is hardly any breathing space.

ANUJ KUMAR

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