Movie Review: RAKHTA CHARITRA (2010)
I’ve said it once, and I will say it again: Ram Gopal Varma, is the fuckin’ man. For those unfamiliar with him and the Indian Film Industry: Imagine Martin Scorcese, Quentin Tarantino and Francis Ford Coppola all rolled into one visionary director, and you’ve got RGV. He’s got the eccentric style of filmmaking as Tarantino, legendary directorial credits like Scorcese and his contribution to Indian cinema is as great as Coppola. In 2010, he gave us an epic saga, in the form of a two-feature length films known as RAKHTA CHARITRA.
Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Star
The epic story of RAKHTA CHARITRA involves the shedding of blood for revenge. It’s not your typical revenge story however, as the two films change in style and sequence from one another, even flipping the pro/antagonist relationships depicted in each film.
The premise: a young man who gets involved in small time village politics after the murder and defamation of his father. The young and thus far innocent young kid starts a crusade of bloodshed in order to bring justice to his family, which leads him down a road that eventually ends with his own downfall. After getting his revenge, the young kid, portrayed by Vivek Oberoi, reluctantly becomes the Godfather to all around him, which he further legitimizes as he’s offered political office to whitewash all his crimes and work within the system of government. Thus the inexperience college student goes from avenging son to feared gangster politician of society.
It’s a simple story, layered with multiple storylines and a shitload of awesome supporting cast members, that enriches the entire film that much more. As amazing a job as Vivek Oberoi does, the rest of the cast just rounds out the entire ensemble into a wicked mosaic. Ultimately Oberoi’s character ends up becoming the same type of person from whom he was seeking justice in the first place, with countless deaths on his hands, and countless sons after his life… just like he was years ago, one of whom ends up being successful.
The second film focuses more on the actor Suriya, and his character’s need for revenge against Oberoi’s character. During his initial escapades, Oberoi orders the death of all his enemies and possible enemies. This was interpreted by his men as murdering a family, creating another young son with a need for vengeance, but this time, against Oberoi. Suriya’s character development was very emotionally driven, and the dialogues were done extremely well, not to mention the actors’ delivery. Oberoi’s presence in the second film is very minimal, the spotlight is put more on Suriya and his tribulations to try to kill Oberoi.
The ironic path of the film between these two characters is great to watch unfold. As even after successfully satisfying his need for revenge, Suriya refuses to acknowledge that Vivek Oberoi’s character started in the same circumstances as him, and he himself might end up like Oberoi. The tragedy that occurs on screen during these two features, with the continious bloodshed of character after character, without really seeing an end in sight, is so well written that it truly invokes feelngs of anger and judgement.
The film is very well layered with the backdrop of political corruption in India, small time conflicts based on caste and creed and multiple personal family workings that make a very well rounded screenplay. RGV revels in this kind of a setting as this is his niche; the underground killing and murdering atmoshphere of Indian society. This is where RGV shines, and he doesn’t disappoint with RAKHTA CHARITRA.
Technically, this is a very well shot movie. Camera angles that include shots of a character, between the bars of the backing of a rocking chair, with the actor sitting in that same chair, tends to blow one’s mind. Frames that happen to slowly tilt diagonally as if to reflect the spiraling out of control of Vivek Oberoi’s character, the upside down frames just work to tell the story further.
Ram Gopal Varma’s background music is always crucial to his films. The background score of RAKHTA CHARITRA completely overwhelms the entire film, yet that adds to the ominious and brutal nature of the entire saga. The muted dialogue exchanges between characters during certain scenes tends to serve as silent monologues that very effectively convey the weight of the scene. No matter what can be said about the stories and screenplays of RGV’s films, his execution and style is truly ahead of its time, without being innovative for the sake of being innovative.
Ram Gopal Varma’s message with these two films, seems to be that revenge has no end, and is essentially a perpetual cycle of bloodshed. The way in which Oberoi’s character sought revenge, is the same that in the second movie where Suriya’s character wants revenge from Oberoi for killing his family. The entire dynamic gets flipped and we have Suriya as the family man whose life was destroyed due to actions by Oberoi’s character, who is now a powerful man in government. The second film really focuses on Suriya and he does an amazing job being Vivek Oberoi’s counterpart from the first film.
RAKHTA CHARITRA is really an epic and violent saga told through the eyes of visionary director RAM GOPAL VARMA (yea, his name needed to be caps too…) I think it’s been proven at this point that Vivek Oberoi can’t act, unless directed by RGV himself…