Saturday, August 07, 2010


Around the time Mr. Amitabh Bachchan started a blog, I visited it a couple of times. And on one occasion saw a spirited (and verbose) defence of Sarkar Raaj, which I found awful. Not least because the Queen of Equine Giggles featured in it.

So I commented on his blog. Except that he (or his Blog Manager) did not see fit to publish it, let alone reply.

Today I found the comment in an obscure folder. It has no relevance any more, since the film in question is long gone. So in keeping with my dictum of irrelevance, here goes ..

Mr. Bachchan

We grew up on your films. 30 years on, "Daawar Saab, main abhi bhi phNeke huey paise nahin uthata" or "Saala nautanki" are phrases we use in conversation. Is there one line in "Sarkar Raj" that is as memorable?

Most of us have our own selection of favourite scenes from your films, scenes that have stayed in our minds so clearly we can tell you the colour of the wallpaper on the sets. Is there one scene in Sarkar Raj that deserves such recall?

Ram Gopal Varma has made some very good films, from "Rangila" to "D". "Sarkar" was a decent take on "The Godfather", mainly because it didn't try to fix what wasn't broke and did a fairly straight riff on the original. "Sarkar Raj", sadly enough, has no template or plot to carry it through the interminable backlit shots and the endless pans across silent faces. Not even your eloquent eyes, Mr. Bachchan, can carry a film which doesn't know what it wants to say. The denouement where your character Subhash Nagre lays out the plot seems very contrived, something like the forced "surprises" in Abbas-Mustaan's "Race". The plot - such as it is - just does not hang together.

Even the area that has been RGV's strength hitherto, the delineation of the characters, sags in this film. Why would Shankar Nagre suddenly let Anita so completely into his life? And why would the rest of the Nagre family accept it? Why would a man-manager as good as Shankar totally alienate Chandar? Why would he need to differ with the father he idolises?

It doesn't work, Mr. Bachchan, it doesn't fly.

Sadly enough, RGV underestimates his audience's intelligence. He makes the characters spout long justifications of their actions and explanations of the plot. This is such a sad contrast to his earlier films with their tight editing and minimal dialogues.

In the final analysis, much as I have admired some of RGV's earlier work, I cannot forgive him for the criminal waste of resources, to wit, you and Abhishek (1). Even Tinnu Anand made better use of your persona in "Shahenshah" though that had an even weaker plot premise.

Your audience deserves to see you in better films, Mr. Bachchan.


(1) - Yes, if anybody actually reads this, I might catch some flak for mentioning Bachhua there.

1 comment:

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