To me, the greatest story ever told would always be MAHABHARATH. Infact it should be made the Beginners guide for screenplay writing. Astonishing number of characters..each one defined with amazing clarity and holding their space amidst the bigwigs. You can single out any character, its bound to have a background and a story.I cant believe that the entire story could've been written by a single author. And no wonder the script "writer" is the Lord himself. Karan, Arjun, Krishna, Duriyodhan, Bheem, Bheeshmar...WOW...What an array of characters..with each one outshining the other in some aspects.
Definitely RAJNEETHI is not the first attempt to picturise this epic in celluloid. But of all the attempts ever made, including the direct version, this one is surely right on top when it comes to adaptation. Kudos to the screenplay writer.If there is any award for best adapted screenplay, this year's should definitely go to that guy. And if there is an award for best Casting director it should undoubtably go to this movie again. Firebrand Nana Patekar (Bheeshma), my fav Ajay Devagan(Karna), Mercurial Manoj Bajpai(Duriyodhan), Rockstar Arjun Rampal(Yudishtir), Lucky mascot Katrina kaif(loosely based on Draupadi), latest chocolate boy Ranbir kapoor (Arjun) and throw in the ever dependable Naseeruddin shah..you got a crew, people would give their arm and leg to watch out for.
As i was watching the movie, i couldnt help but think about another movie made on the other epic, which openly proclaims itself..rather..bellow over the top..that its the modern version of Ramayan..with even the title carrying the name of one of the lead characters "Raavan". Not that Mani has become a bad director overnight with Raavan and not that its that worse to be cribbed over two posts. But Rajneethi is heads and shoulders over Raavan when it comes to narration, cast and performance.
The only part which could've been modified in the movie is the ending. Had Ranbir also been killed..it would've made poetic justice and made the story more complete. Well..Prakash Jha (director) thinks differently, sparing Arjun and Bheeshma alone, with Draupadi taking the throne. If first half is engrossing..second half is rivetting..with shades of Godfather thrown in.
With such a big star cast and the story being based on the longest poem ever written, its very difficult to give adequate screen space to all the characters. I should say, the director has done a wonderful jugglery with screenplay here, without deviating much from the epic, he picks the portions which will suit to current scenario..cutting short on melodrama too. Infact, there is no hero in the movie. Every single character has negative shades and even Yudishtir (Rampal) character is also not spared. Saying all this..the movie belongs Ranbir. Like Surya, this is one guy, who seems to have the midas touch to pick the best scripts. He has a meaty role in the movie, which requires him to look wooden and not much of emotion. But again, this is not a english movie and even in scenes where he needs to emote, he underplays and irritates in some places. But overall a commedable performance.
I loved the movie from the word GO and it was thrilling to the core. I couldnt help but to think of a similar cast, had the movie been made in tamil. This would be my list:
Surya - Arjun
Vikram - Karan
(a leaner) Prakash Raj - Duriyodhan
Arjun - Yudishtrar
Kamal - Bheeshmar
Draupadiku egapatta choices :D
Yosikkavay evlo supera iruku!!! Any takers?!!