Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ratha Sarithram (Rakta Charitra II) – Bloody Disappointing!

Ram Gopal Varma should have left well enough alone. The sequel to Rakta Charitra I is seriously disappointing. The story resumes where it left off in the first instalment but with a new character picking up the strands of the narrative. Surya is out to get Pratap Ravi, played by Vivek Oberoi (whose meteoric rise was chronicled in part I), who was responsible for the loss of his family. So far, so good but unlike its predecessor where the pace was fast and furious, this time around everything is in slow – mo... literally.

Surya as Surya is mostly competent, good in parts, and even superlative in one intense scene where he receives a miraculous opportunity to avenge himself upon his nemesis from a slimy and self - serving politician. But he never makes the transition to greatness the way Vivek Oberoi did in his turn as the man on a mission of revenge. RGV is to blame for this though. In his bid to make his movie appealing to a wider populace, he makes Surya ditch his shirt at every opportunity, show off his ripped bod, and bash up baddies to pulp with his bare fists or handcuffed wrists.

Unlike Oberoi who had to rely on his wits and weapons to stay alive, Surya has to rely on his pretty muscles and superhuman ability to morph into the “Incredible Hulk” to help him through tough situations. Consequently the movie makes a sudden switch from hard – hitting realism to masala – movie nonsense.

The deadly cat and mouse game played between the two should have been nail – biting, but it fell flat more often than not. This was particularly obvious in a scene where the two antagonists come face to face with only the prison bars separating them. It is an unnecessary scene that had to be squeezed into the script in a transparent attempt to make cinematic magic by showcasing the heavyweights who are in the fight of their lives to outperform each other.

The movie has some positives – Oberoi is still brilliant and manages to garner sympathy even as he becomes increasingly like the men he abhorred and killed. Priyamani is decent but she is becoming repetitive. Apte as Pratap Ravi's wife shines. RGV manages to get across the point that violence begets violence and the vicious circle of revenge and hatred has to be broken. That is commendable. But the negatives ranging from bad - dubbing to contrived plot devices are too many to be ignored. Sudeep, who plays the DCP is insipid and makes you miss Bukka Reddy who despite all his faults was never boring.
I could go on in this vein, but I don’t want to be a drag like the movie.

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