Rajneeti is Prakahs Jha’s adaptation of my favorite epic Mahabharat in the setting of modern day regional politics.
Character Similarities: Rashtrawadi Party is the modern day Hastinapur. Bharati (Nikhila Trikha) plays Kunthi, the mother of Pandavas-the second in line to succeed the chairperson of Rashtrawadi Party. Her two legitimate sons are Prithvi Pratap Singh played by Arjun Rampal and Samar Pratap Singh played by Ranbir Kapoor. Prithvi is the oldest and is mighty Bheem. Samar is the savvy, clever and shrewd Arjun. Brij Mohan played by Nana Patekar is Krishna, the real king maker. Chander Pratap the husband of Bharati, depicts Pandu. Bhanu Pratap the older brother of Chander Pratap is a mix of Bhishma and Dhritarashtra. He suffers from stroke and is paralysed for most part of the film just like Bhishma was on his bed of arrows for most part of the war of Kurukshetra. Veerendra Pratap played by Manoj Bajpai is Duryodhana. Veerendra Pratap is the son of Bhanu Pratap and considers himself the heir apparent after his father. Sooraj Kumar played by Ajay Devgan portrays Karna. He is the illegitimate child of Bharati and is brought up by the driver of the Pratap family portraying the modern day charioteer Adhiraath. Katrina Kaif as Indu portrays Draupadi; a pawn in the political drama. She loves Samar but ends up marrying Prithvi.
The adaptation has some shades of Godfather’s hot headed womanising Sonny in Prithvi and calculating and shrewd Michael in Samar. Sarah played by Sarah Thompson (she had appeared in 7th Heaven) has similarities with Kay Adams, girlfriend of Michael Corleone.
Costumes: Clothes make the characters. I loved the styling of Ranbir Kapoor. His looks with jeans, T-shirt and a nehru collared short unbuttoned jacket gave him the right mixture of political involvement, a degree of aloofness and casual styling. His glasses gave him an amount of serious intellectual look. I loved Arjun Rampal’s clothes too. His neta dress was stylish and yet portrayed his consummate political ambitions. I loved the colors of his duppattas, who knew khakhi duppatta would go so well with white!!! Manoj Bajpai’s stuffy formal clothes were perfect for the portrayal of Duryodhana. Sooraj’s costumes brought out his down to earth, peasant upbringing. The golden earrings were a nice touch to make the connections to Karna (read here about Karna and his earrings) as was his name Sooraj meaning Sun. Karna’s father was Sun god.
I was disappointed with the ladies costumes. I liked Katrina’s saree at the rally and the nice touch with the pallu over head. However, her saree when she is sworn in as CM was a poor choice. It made her look more like an air hostess than a woman CM. They should have looked at Indira Gandhi ’s sarees or Sonia Gandhi’s sarees for inspiration.
Similarly Bharati’s choice of sarees were below par. A good source of inspiration could have come from Sheila Dixit or Sushma Swaraj’s wardrobe. Her make up leaves much to be desired too. She did not look like Arjun Rampal and Ranbir Kapoor’s mother.
I wish the twists and turns to the story were brought by some brilliant political maneuvering instead of only murders. Also Katrina’s character of Indu did not do justice to Draupadi. It started off well but the feistiness just fizzled out. I did not like Brij Mohan inciting Samar to kill Sooraj. Did Brij Mohan portray Krishna or Shakuni? Samar is kept in dark about his relation with Sooraj. I wish the angle was explored of what if Samar finds about Sooraj after Sooraj’s death.
I loved seeing Bhopal throughout the film. I wish the movie had shown some of the beauty of the city after all Bhopal is a beautiful city.
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