Friday, 6 June 2008

Sakar Raj

Engrossing till the end, but not exactly there...

Anita Rajan (Aishwarya Rai) proposes the development of a power plant for the rural region of Maharashtra, but is advised to meet with Sarkar Nagre (Amitabh Bachchan), a gangster who is worshiped as a leader of Maharashtra. While Sarkar sees the proposal as absurd, his son, Shankar (Abhiskek Bachchan), thinks otherwise. Shankar is able to persuade his father to accept the proposal for it will allow the development of the land, thus helping the rural villagers in the region. While campaigning for the villagers approval, Shankar gets an unforeseen opposition movement.

As a sequel, Sakar Raj proves a worthy entry in the series: the original was clearly an adaption of The Godfather, while Sakar Raj is easily an original story, but the links to The Godfather are still present, and sadly taint the film's overall image as a unique piece of film-making. Nevertheless, the story which is presented,
a political tale of power and revenge, is fairly engaging, with the first half keeping more in kin with drama, allowing the second half to up the tempo with violence, and it works. It should be noted that the violence not exactly tame, with the bloody aftermath of bodies being shown. They are not particularly gory, but that doesn't stop them being strong visual images. Now while it would seem as if the film lacks the story towards the end, this is not the case: it is merely because the consequences of certain actions which prevail in the first half, meet their timely demise in the second, while branching the story into further intrigue. A definite striking point of the film story is its conclusion, which is hard-hitting, and makes up for the few tedious moments the film presents. However the film's dialog does hit a few hiccups everyone and a while. There is one or two unnecessary one liners which sound out of place, but the real problem comes from certain lines which are obviously meant to contain a high degree of philosophical backing. Yet the depth some of these lines attempt to achieve, is not always exact, and feels as if the character speaking wishes to present themselves as far more intelligent that they actually are. It is a small niggle, but nonetheless noticeable, as it dampens the effect of some scenes.

Acting greatly commends the story, with no evident inadequate moments. The forerunners, Rai and both Bachchan's, are able to steady the film's progress, allowing the lesser actors, though still vital in the film's entirety, to not drain themselves from the overwhelming plot. Though with this said, these actors don't exactly come across as memorable and are easily overlooked by the many other facets of the films production. While Rai is underused, and never really portraying herself as well as she does, the most unique aspect of the acting comes in the form of both the characters Sarkar and Shankar. Sakar, the lead from the precursor film, plays a secondary role to the character of Shankar, who Abhiskek is able to portray with strength. He dominates his scenes, and its pleasant to see Abhiskek really start to push his roles further. However, while fans of the original might feel that Amitabh is somewhat slated, that is not the case. He merely plays a subtle role which escalates into something far greater as the films inches closer to its conclusion. As stated earlier, the conclusion is excellent, concluding the film on a very skilled footing, allowing room for a sequel.

The director, Ram Gopal Varma, is a great director, and he proves himself once again with excellent cinematography for most of the film. There are various 'Bollywood'-esque filming choices, which seem unfitting for the type pf film being achieved, but it is a characteristic which one couldn't have really expected to be missing. Like some of the best Bollywood dramas, Varma chooses not to include the typical dance and song routines expected of Bollywood films. While some might be disappointed, it is a good move on part of the director.

It is a pity, however, that the film's music is somewhat off key. The used tracks greatly enhance the tension, but they get used over ad over for almost no reason. Varma seems somewhat determined to create an engaging atmosphere for the entire film, when is really is not necessary. It can only be seen that Varma is trying to hard to make Sakar Raj succeed, especially after the
dismalness of his previous film: Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag.

Sakar Raj is a good follow-up to Sakar: the acting is excellent for the most part, and works well with the intriguing story. It is just disappointing that some story issues, coupled with a few dialogue and music problems are easily apparent. Varma weaves an good story, though his problem with Sakar Raj, is that he so wishes to make Sakar Raj an enjoyable film, that he ends up losing sight of some minor problems which tarnish the final product.


Screen date: 06 June 2008
Release date: 06 June 2008


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