Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bullett Raja Review

In a wedding, at the very start of the film, we notice garish Chunky Pandey with oiled hair, tiny moustache, asking his fellows why Lord Brahma has only one temple at Pushkar and is not worshiped much. You get interested in his character there, waiting to hear his answer, but the camera doesn't- it pans to take you see the main characters of the film meet: Raja (Saif) and Rudra (Shergill).

Rudra asks him if hard-drinks would do to him instead of regular sharbat; Raja insistingly accepts. They both gel up instantly, and within hours of their friendship, they find themselves gunning down several men in a counter-attack to save people at the wedding place from being gunned. This sequence, though a bit less on octane, was quite a demonstration of the machismo that we were about to witness. This attack was planned by the same Chunky Pandey, who goes by the character name of Lallan Tiwari.

Lallan Tiwari is just an early part of the 'character elimination' process that the film plays. One by one, these characters come, gets killed by the duo, repeat. There's a bit of style and humor in each one of those "elimination". It needed a bit more-- more of violence, pulp, blood and everything Tarantinosque, even his episodic manner of storytelling was much needed here. In my mind, I said, Anurag Kashyap should have made this. Also, few setups, a song in Bhojpuri and the milieu did remind me of Kashyap's Gangs Of Wasseypur from which the famous "katta" makes an appearance here in the later half. Dhulia played the role of an expletives-spewing politician in that film, while here, behind the camera, he is just trying to play it safe with no gore, no North Indian cuss words on screen.

Somewhere midway the first half, I felt the film is wrongly titled. Because it was hardly about the titular character till then. It was about two men- one postman, other in hunt of a job- who gets dragged into political goonda-ism, to which one character puts it as "political commandos". It was there in their style and gaudy dresses too where I thought the film is trying to come up as a spaghetti western- and one background musical piece also tried to assure that- but mostly it is- hate to say these words- Bollywood masala potboiler.

When these men are on their way to revenge with Lallan Tiwari, Tiwari in his jeep is again telling his favorite Lord Brahma story to his mates. Raja, and us too this time, wants to hear that reason. We don't get to hear it this time too; it is censored in a way. It must probably be that theory according to which Lord Brahma once fell for lust with one of a Goddess, who apparently is His creation and by means, His daughter. Raja refutes in disgust and says, "Mujhe bhagwan ke cheezon mein ashleelta nahi pasand! (I don't like vulgarity in sanctity!)." Sanctity or religiousness, however, is a recurring element in the film, lesser a motif, in the forms of a drowning diya, an unlit one, or personified into a silent pundit.

Bullett Raja is as earthy and political as any other Tigmanshu Dhulia film. But it is not as  heady a script; this could be any of his left-out one dealing with his topical premise of politics and gangster; in fact, this could be a prequel or a character introduction to one of his Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster series (the gangster in the second part was also named as Raja Bhaiyya). You're reminded of this film, when Rajeev Gupta in his similar role from the earlier film points to laptop to start a video conference, again; let alone the direct reference, by people watching that film in theater. Dhulia is in love with himself in Bullett Raja. These inward references to his own films tell that. There's also a reference to his National Award winner film Paan Singh Tomar, whose territory one policeman (Vidyut Jamwal) comes from. Paan Singh Tomar had put you in perspective of the dacoits; this one does you in that of an urban anti-hero.

Though it is more a Dhulia film than wannabe-100cr-crap, those commercialization elements (read: forced in song sequences) seeps in. It is quite a disappointment to see potentially strong filmmakers falling for such compromises. Only if Dhulia could take lessons from Kashyap on how to use songs as a part of storytelling without fracturing the narrative, everything apart from budgeting, we would then see Dhulia's cinema, his genre of filmmaking.

1 comment:

Khushboo said...

It is unfortunate that Dhulia fell into the trap of making a hard hitting film with a couple of crowd pleasing songs thrown in. I was interested to watch this movie after seeing the trailers but now I am planning to give it a miss.

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