Prakash Jha directs this movie which is based on a story written by himself. He has adapted “Mahabharata” against the backdrop of dynasty politics. The adaptation is apt and brilliant. The movie retains the flow of Mahabharata at the superficial level. The brilliant strokes of imagination makes the events take you completely by surprise. There are a couple of scenes which references from the epic directly like Kunti revealing Karna’s identify to him, Krishna urging Arjun to take up arms. These scenes lack impact as these scenes have been depicted on screen and off screen many times. In order to take the movie forward, Prakash also borrows heavily from the classic movie “Godfather”. These scenes are done beautifully even though these are a dead giveaway for an avid moviegoer. As a director, Prakash proves that he can tell a story on a huge canvas with an ensemble cast. Prakash tells the story using traditional approach without resorting to jump cuts and fast editing. He lets his actors shine while the audience are focused on the events. The songs are short and often immediately moves to the background. The background music blends in so as not to distract us from the movie.
Ranbir Kapoor is perfect as Samar Pratap. Samar is a pacifist trying to suppress his animal instincts. The turn of events thrust him into politics where he become a cold blooded kingmaker! Ranbir acts well and shows us a smooth transformation from the pacifist to kingmaker. He has added to his diverse repertoire of characters with this role. He has all the trappings of a good actor.
Nana Patekar plays Brij Gopal, the advisor to Samar Pratap and also his family. Brij is a silent listener who analyses the motives of the people around and makes quick decision on how to checkmate them. Although Nana Patekar is on most of the frames, he talks seldom. He lends able support to the other players in the movie. His performance is surprising and refreshing at the same time and in direct contrast with his earlier loud performances.
Manoj Bajpai breathes fire and spits evil with his portrayal of Veerendra Pratap. He is arrogant and will not hesitate for a second to get what he wants. After a very long time, the actor is given a worthwhile role. Arjun Rampal and Katrina Kaif are good. Ajay Devgn is not fully utilized in the role of Sooraj Kumar. Here is an actor who is good at emoting. But, unfortunately, his role is too short to have an impact.
The rest of the cast – Naseeruddin Shah, Nikhila Tirkha, Darshan Jariwala – makes their short roles effective.
At a running time of over 3 hours, this is a very long movie. Yet, it is an interesting watch. With the backing of UTV and a strong script, Prakash Jha shows that nothing can wrong if you plan well.
Picture Courtesy: Bollywood Hungama