Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rakta Charitra I - Bloody Brilliant!

Ram Gopal Varma has bounced back from his "Aag" or was it "AArgh" debacle and how!His Rakta Charitra I is bloody brilliant. It is absurdly violent but all that stomach - turning blood and gore is delivered with so much cinematic panache and verve that it is not only palatable but absolutely delicious in parts.

Based on the life of Paritala Ravi (Pratap Ravi in the movie), the film takes a long, hard look at the factionists who run the country today. Narasimha Rao is the head political honcho in Anandpur and Ravi's father Veerabhadra is his loyal right - hand man. The latter becomes increasingly influential and earns the ire of party member Nagmani Reddy, who engineers a series of misunderstandings which end with Veerabhadra's brutal assassination. The son then seeks revenge and is thrust headlong into the murky world of violence and political intrigue.

It is not the most innovative script in the world but the narrative is so gripping and the screenplay so taut, you find yourself thoroughly engrossed by the happenings unfolding on screen. And the powerhouse performances by perfectly cast actors is a major plus. Abhimanyu Singh as the psychotic rapist/ evil killer is a revelation. Radhika Apte, Shatrughan Sinha as the superstar turned crafty politician, and Kota Srinivasa Rao who plays the scheming Nagmani Reddy especially, deserve a round of applause.

Vivek Oberoi gets the role of a lifetime and it is a pleasure to watch him sink his teeth into it as he devours scene after scene with gritty elan. The bit where he sees his brother's corpse in a dingy jail cell and the one where he kills Narasimha Rao, all the while staring unapologetically at his hysterical wife are simply brilliant. His attempts to change the system while being forced to play the baddie make you love him all the more for he is a bad boy who endeavors to be noble. An Oscar - worthy performance!

You have to be a nitpicker or cursed with a weak stomach to find any negatives in this masterpiece. This reviewer belongs to the former category and had a problem with the scene where a female cop lowers her gun while on a mission to arrest a loathsome criminal and touches his shoulder (maternal affection?) just because he is shedding crocodile tears and winds up with a bullet in her head. An unacceptably dumb scene in an otherwise clever pic.

RGV can take a bow and poke fun at Karan Johar all he wants as this superbly crafted flick has earned him the right! Can't wait to see Part 2 in this delectable revenge saga.

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