Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rakta Charitra: Coming Soon!



Ram Gopal Varma’s
Rakta Charitra will be released on October 22nd and I’m very excited. Although, I’m not sure whether it will be releasing in America (where I am), it certainly looks like one that I’ll be dying to get my hands on once it comes to DVD - and dying is an apt choice of words, since the film is about the 2005 assassination of prominent politician Paritala Ravindra.

So, what is it about
Rakta Charitra that has me excited about an RGV film for the first time in years?

Let me tell you!



RGV is a great director and whatever his personal politics or attitudes towards women (thanks for all those butt shots or Urmila, bro), he is able to get great performances out of his actors and he has refused to give up his own uniquely gritty vision of the world, even as filmmakers all around him ventured off into upper class NRI fairy-tale land. And he has kept his goal audience as the masses, not some refined art house audience. Would anybody else have dared to cast Bollywood’s father figure Amitabh Bachchan as a lecherous creeper opposite Jiah Khan, like RGV did in the disturbing film
Nishabd? No, probably not. Nor would anybody else have dared to reimagine Sholay as almost gleefully egotistical Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. While the latter project ended in disaster, I do applaud RGV for daring to think differently in the same year that Akshay Kumar was king of the box office with FIVE box office comedy smashes.

That said, I had no interest in seeing
RGV Ki Aag... or Rann or Sarkaar or basically anything he’s done since Company (with the exception of fabulous Jiah Khan’s debut film Nishabad, which I should probably review soon). RGV’s vision ran against the mainstream but it wasn’t really going anywhere. How much more is there to say about movie mobsters and the unholy ties between power and violence? (Especially since I’m not the biggest fan of the Junior Bachchan - as we all know.)



Fast forward a bit to 2010 and the movie landscape has changed - the sunny, cheerful, insubstantial flicks like
I Hate Luv Storys are finding little traction on the audience’s minds, even if they will probably break even at the box office. That cultural clout, that je ne sais quois which takes a film from a business transaction to a piece of art, has been given to films like Dabangg and Raajneeti - firmly over in RGV Pradesh.



And now
Rakta Charitra. Instead of the tired ground of the lives of fictional Mumbai gangsters, RGV is taking us down South - to the life of politician Paritala Ravi. More interestingly, to the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of politician Paritala Ravi. Now, if helpful commenters would like to link me to a good English language profile on Paritala Ravi, I’ll be very appreciative because from what I can see, he came up through the Naxalites and ended up as a minister in Andhra Pradesh as part of the Telugu Desam Party; he escaped unhurt from a bomb blast at a film premiere in 1997 only to be gunned down in 2005. His death unleashed massive riots as supporters trashed buses and burned houses.



So, I have no idea how closely or not the film will follow the actual real life events. Possibly, nobody except those involved will ever know. Surya and Vivek Oberoi are playing the rivals, Paritala Ravi and the man who is allegedly responsible for his death - with parallel story tracks. And like my favorite
masala movie villain trope, both are convinced that they alone are the hero of the film. Surya and Vivek, too, are convinced that each is the hero of the film. With a pair like that as as the parallel leads, I’m already halfway to the theater money in hand. Added to the cast are Raavanan’s Priyamani and the one and only SHOTGUN SINHA. It seems that RGV managed to assemble a cast that are all riding high on buzz - Vivek has been re-embraced after Prince, Priyamani was the one person to emerge looking good in Raavan, and Shotgun Sinha is back in the news after Dabangg. RGV couldn’t have cast better if he had had a crystal ball.

Death threats or bad box office, as RGV
says: “Even the ghost of Obul Reddy can't frighten me.”

And I, for one, and thankful for it.


3 comments:

lvrplfc4l said...

I have been waiting on this from RGV's first blog post on it. The stills he posted from filming of Vivek and Surya look awesome. We got Rann locally so I'm hoping we get Rakta Charitra as well the only draw back is it's releasing in two parts.
Also Rann is worth watching just to see Riteish in a role you wouldn't expect from him.

Precious P said...

Hey, loved reading this. Being from South India myself (but lived in Mumbai forever), I've heard enough stories about the man & so my interest in this movie is triple. Ravi was so loved by his people, they have a fan site http://www.paritalafans.com/
Only sad thing is Im so keen to watch Surya, but sadly most of his track is in Part2 which means another 3-4 months wait! :( Luv, P,

jholomorphic said...

*nishabd (निशब्द, like 'shabd', not like 'allahabad')

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