SARKAR RAJ (2008)

Sarkar Raj was a new film. Even though it took a few elements here and there from The Godfather films, it remained a new film at the core with a story that was not only done well but once again very well acted. My only issue with the film was its abrupt ending. There were a few things that could have been laid out a lot better but was not. And I was also not convinced with the part that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan essays. That was a character that had nothing going in its favor. However, her role hinged on an extremely important string that partially kept the whole story beaded together.

Shankar (Abhishek Bachchan) is now more in command of Maharashtra than his father. He is educated, benevolent and loved by one and all. However, there are still things that he and his father do not agree upon at the first go. The latest example being an upcoming power plant that Shankar believes is just the thing that Maharashtra needs but his father believes is going to dethrone thousands of villagers from their homes. Shankar sees more merit in the plant than demerits and is finally able to convince his father to nod for the project. There are two more people who are integral to the plant and whose support is required to get a green light Rao Saheb (Dilip Prabhavalkar ) the man who runs Thakarbadi where the project is supposed to come up and Sanjay Somji (Rajesh Shringarpure), Rao Sahab’s grandchild and the youth leader of Thakarbadi. The lobby of villains is also up in arms to grab any opportunity of foiling the establishment of the plant. There is, however, a greater game afoot that is the biggest conspiracy against Sarkar till date.

Sarkar Raj, being an original film, had the surprise value that its original did not enjoy. I have to agree that there were some twists and turns that I was not able to predict. This really helps the film purr along just fine through the initial sequences and then through the second half. The death of Shankar’s wife, that too in a car blast was picked up from “The Godfather” again but it was unwarranted. I just couldn’t find a perk to what her death would bring for Shankar’s adversaries. That was not the best thing to do. Next, as we move along, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s character gets more and more irritating. Irrespective of the fact that the ensuing politics is interesting and engrossing, her shrill essay keeps taking you out of the narrative every now and then. Another mild problem with the film was the pretentious and slow unfolding of the dialogs that after a while starts taking a toll on your patience. Some of the villains are unnecessarily comical. The biggest example of this being Hassan Qazi played by Govind Namdeo and Kantilal Vora played by Upendra Limaye.

Post the big shock of Shankar’s death (There I spoilt it for one and all who had not known it previously) the film gallops towards a fitting finale in the second half. The villains are killed off at an unbelievable speed and the reasons that are given are interestingly believable. Amitabh Bachchan’s superb act makes you believe the retributions. The final reveal of the boss behind the conspiracy is interesting, to say the least. I bought into the take and the reasons provided were sufficiently justified. Thus after much hue and cry, the film did end convincingly. The surprises mentioned before worked as well. The only problem that remained was the fact that they showed Aishwarya Rai Bachchan take up Shankar’s mantle as Sarkar himself was back in business and asked for the return of his grandchild who was up till then having a peaceful life.

Technically speaking, Sarkar Raj is just as apt as its predecessor. The film is eloquently shot with the minimalistic use of RGV’s tricky camera work. The editing, though a tad bit slow, was acceptable. Apart from the misgivings mentioned above, the film left nothing to complain in terms of the technicalities. There are some brief songs here and there and they are never a concern. The background score too leaves nothing to be desired.

Overall, Sarkar Raj was a worthy sequel to Sarkar even though it was not able to invoke the kind of reverence that its predecessor was able to. It falters on a few notes and is not as taut as its predecessor but still has enough to keep you entertained and hooked. The surprises and the brand new story are some of its high points. Before Sarkar 3 comes out this year, it would at-least merit a view just to get in the mood for the sequel if you haven’t seen it previously.

Rating : 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)

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