THIS RAJA WINS HEARTS
DIRECTOR: TIGMANSHU DHULIA
GENRE: DRAMA, POLITICAL, ACTION
STARRING: SAIF ALI KHAN, JIMMY SHERGEIL, SONAKSHI SINHA, GULSHAN GROVER, RAJ BABBAR, RAVI KISHAN, VIDYUT JAMWAL
FINAL VERDICT: ***
Ever since the trailer of Bullet Raja was out, I had made an “omerta” of sorts with myself, of watching the film on the very first day. And I did exactly that. Fortuitously, my hopes didn’t come down crashing, and the150 minutes that I spent in the cinema house, were fruitful.
The film commences with Saif Ali Khan or Raja Mishra, escaping an assassination attempt, but after a few seconds, was shown once again facing the gun, with cops surrounding him. Post that scene, the film slips into flashback, and the title track portrays Raja being involved in the notorious aspects of the society. Escaping possible foes, Raja gatecrashes into a “baarat” and as expected in a typical Bollywood flick, dances his way through. There he meets one Rudra, and instantly befriends him. The two save Rudra’s relatives from an ambush planned by the traitor Lallan (Chunky Pandey). From that very moment, Raja and Rudra become the modern day Jay-Veeru. The film then goes on exploring the revenge saga that begins, with the buddies finishing off Lallan, and all the people responsible for Rudra’s uncle’s (Sharath Saxena) death.
The two are soon noticed by the cunning Ram Babu Shukla, a minister from the opposition, who soon appoints them as his “bahubali”, or chief henchmen. The duo then carries out numerous political assassinations for Ram Babu. Seeing the growing cordial relations between Shukla and the two pals, Sumer Yadav (Ravi Kishan, who is the former henchman) gets livid.
Gulshan Grover plays Bajaj, a shrewd businessman, and his “Marwari” jokes tickle the funny bone. The movie then goes on a more serious note, with the two kidnapping Bajaj, for an insult. However, the tables are turned on the duo, as Bajaj gets in Sumer Yadav to finish off the friends. However, one dies, and the other swears revenge and as anticipated, all hell breaks loose. Amidst the tension, enters Mitali (Sonakshi Sinha), an aspiring actress, and quickly ensures that the duo now become the trio.
The film then slows down for quite some time, until Raja returns from an exile, and till Arun Singh (Vidyut Jamwal) makes a grand entry. The movie then goes on, portraying the treachery of politicians and accomplishing the revenge saga.
Overally, the plot wasn’t completely extra ordinary, but the presentation of the setting makes it a treat to watch. The real locations add absolute authenticity to the plot. The locations chosen stand out, and they give the viewer, a true feel of Uttar Pradesh. The dialogues and the typical accent too make viewing enthralling. One instance of the accent coming into the fray is when Saif pronounces “NASHIONAL- JIYOGRAPHIC” in a typical UP accent.
Gulshan Grover plays an entertaining part, and his dialogues, which comically target the “marwaris” are simply amusing. “JALE HUE NOTE KO BHI CHALANA JANTA HAI MARWARI,” is one such instance. Grover makes his presence felt on screen with sharp dialogues. On a couple of occasions, the film goes on making a mockery of the current Indian politics (Mayawati may raise a few objections.. Enough Said), and that is a delight to watch. In one particular scene, Jimmy Sheirgill or Rudra dotingly, but zealously signifies that no one should have the authority of dividing Indians and stopping them from being a part of different states. (The leader of a political outfit based in Maharashtra, may raise issues though).
Saif Ali Khan steals the show throughout and his act of Raja Mishra surely makes viewers go gaga. His wit and spiky dialogues keep the viewers hooked and engulfed. It’s very pleasing to see Saif, do justice to a thorny role, with utmost ease. Jimmy Sheirgill too isn’t far behind, and ably supports Saif. The rest of the cast members more often than not, do justice to the script. Sonakshi Sinha, is an exception however, and she is the same Sonakshi Sinha, whom we saw in Dabbang, Rowdy Rathore and Son of Sardar.
Barring Lootera, Sinha has done very little of note and her dialogue delivery and acting standards remain similar. With every film, her fans and viewers expect her to be a little more innovative; but to their misery, she always fails.
The direction of Tigmanshu Dhulia remains potent and one wonders that what more does Dhulia needs to do in order to be noticed well by critics. In spite of delivering classics like Paan Singh Tomar and the Saheb Biwi aur Ganster series, it is shameful that talented filmmakers like Dhulia do not get their due credit, while directors making some “mass entertainers” hog the limelight.
The flaws of the film arise with the music. Barring Tamanche Pe Disco and to an extent the title track, none of the songs catch the eye of the audience. An item number by Mahie Gill is profusely needless and is a mere waste of five minutes. Another shortfall of the film is that, Bullet Raja often loses its steam on several occasions, and fails to completely grab the attention of the viewer. One feels that the film could be made more interesting by adding more serious stuff. However, the instances of “black comedy” partially cover this shortfall up.
Overally, the film is worth watching and the Bullet Raja act by Saif Ali Khan is sure to enhance his fan base. This film is a must watch for those, who take a keen interest in the underbelly of the “dirty politics”. It will be fair to say that Bullet Raja will be etched in the memories of the audience for quite sometime.