Some filmmakers expose reality subtly, thus executing the topic chosen and presenting the viewers a powerful and hard-hitting drama. Some do it in an over-the-top, preachy format. Some literally ‘use’ reality and tread the path of documentaries.
Rann, surprisingly and fortunately, falls in the first category of realistic movies. Blending five diverse subtexts – disintegration of media, yellow journalism, corruption, cut-throat competition and intense, dirty power play – into one heady, eclectically electrifying mixture, which is not an easy job. And Ram Gopal Varma the filmmaker, along with storywriter Rohit Banawlikar, has executed something that every viewer of intelligent cinema must see.
Vijay Harshwardhan Malik (Amitabh Bachchan) is the head honcho of a TV Channel with deteriorating TRPs, India 24x7. He is a man of staunch principles, and has earned admiration from his ardent fan, Purab Shastri (Riteish Deshmukh) joins his news channel. Malik’s insecure son Jai (Sudeep) doesn’t agree with some of his old-fashioned ideologies and, in desperation, falls pawn to his brother-in-law Naveen’s (Rajat Kapoor) game plan along with Mohan Pandey’s (Paresh Rawal) treachery, which reaches everywhere – even the reins of Amrish Kakkar (Mohnish Behl), the owner of a competing channel Headlines24. When Purab and Vijay are unknowingly sucked into this manipulative game where nobody can be trusted, what do they do?
A movie like Rann can either look good only on paper, or look good on paper and better on screen, provided its realistic genre. Yet again, thankfully, director Ram Gopal Varma and writer Rohit Banwalikar have joined together to create a watertight drama with raw, realistic, in-your-face emotion, that doesn’t tend to get preachy at any point of time. The dialogues are very well-penned and deserve accolades. But here, it’s not the dialogues, but the mere scenes that have been imaginatively penned for effective use, so much that dialogues are not needed, and it is just that some scenes without dialogues create so much impact, which begs the question if the viewer will ever able to understand the scene.
Watch the scene in which Paresh Rawal stands in front of the photo frame of Mahatma Gandhi and smiles at it, as it is in scenes like these where irony is shown in a very subtle, but hard-hitting format. Dialogues will only make the scene preachy and spoon-feed the viewer. The most well written set of dialogues will have to be in the final monologue by Amitabh Bachchan’s character Vijay Malik. Watch out for it!
It would have been impossible to execute the scenes without the help of an ensemble starcast out of which Amitabh Bachchan and Paresh Rawal take the cake while Riteish Deshmukh becomes a shocker of a surprise package. While Bachchan has perfected his body language and emotion perfectly for his almost silent role as the owner of a deteriorating news channel, Paresh Rawal gets to sink his teeth in glee to the first vicious role he has got in ages – oh, and this time he’s not one bit funny; he’s creepily serious and manipulative. Riteish is fantastic! After proving himself in comic roles, this comes to him (and us) as a breath of fresh air! He is an excellent performer, and the film only proves that all he needs from a movie is a good, author-backed role.
Mohnish Behl is an amazing actor. After a dampener of a performance in Chance Pe Dance, he returns to victory in this role of a grey news channel owner who will do anything to get power and money. Suchitra Krishnamurthy is wonderful as Nalini Kashyap, the secretary of Amitabh Bachchan with mysterious motives. Sudeep, who comes back after an efficient performance in Phoonk (also by Ram Gopal Varma), does really well, but for an America return, his English accent isn’t convincing. He doesn’t put up any fake accent, which is fine, but the tinge of South Indian accent in his English makes us wonder if the character sketch should really have included the “American” factor.
Rajat Kapoor is mindblowing! You’ve got to see the way he handles the scenes; they simply send a chill down your spine! Gul Panag has already proved herself as an actor in movies like Dor and Manorama Six Feet Under, and here too she holds your attention in a short role. Simone Singh is charming as always. Neetu Chandra proves yet again that she’s an actress with mettle, and does a really good performance. Rajpal Yadav also does a really good job cracking us up. What actually pushes down my rating toward a gripping, immensely well-made movie like this is not really flaws in the storyline, but technical flaws. Motion graphics and visual effects are decent. The soundtrack music used here is too loud for the ears, but at the end of the day, is tolerable, because the montage-ellipse scene gets to be far more absorbing, thus making the viewer ignore the music – well, almost.
The background score, though, is very intense, thus enhancing most of the scenes. Camerawork is really good, but in some scenes the shaky camerawork becomes unnecessary and irritating to the eye. Editing is very good, and the continuity in editing is really great, but for some weirdly annoying jump cuts and a really long shot (Riteish breaking into a house and searching for something) which could have been differently presented with lots of different angles, which continues dragging on for quite sometime, making the viewer bored for those few minutes.
Cinematography by Amit Roy is decent, and captures the essence of the movie in a subtle manner. What I liked though, as far as technical aspects are concerned, is the color correction. Almost the whole movie has a bluish tone for most of the movie, which also gives it the enhanced impact it requires.
That said and done, Rann still remains to be an immensely powerful and satisfying experience because of its watertight script (which grips you on the edge of your seat till the last of the closing titles), brilliant dialogues, realistically gritty situations and scenes that will make you uncomfortable and hit you like stones thrown on your face. The movie also proves that every filmmaker makes a bad film once in a while, and he shouldn’t be pulled down just because of a single bad film for that matter. Ram Gopal Varma’s last average horror/thriller flick with a confusing ending, Agyaat was not well received because of the unfinished mystery that it turned out to be. He has surprisingly come back in action with Rann, which can count as one of his best movies till date, after the Sarkar franchise, Satya, Company, Bhoot, Rangeela and a few others. A must watch, this one is for the viewers of serious, intelligent and realistic cinema.
Overall, it is neither a hardcore documentary, nor a film on media-bashing, but rather a work of art on the lines of middle cinema that exposes the bad side of the media and brings out a lot of good in it too. So if you’re a blind supporter of the media and cannot see or hear an ounce against it, then please do yourself a favor and don’t watch it, else you’ll go around telling people it’s incorrect. Also, biased Ram Gopal Varma haters are advised to avoid it too, as it would be a waste of time and money for them. This movie is only meant for open-minded people who are ready to see something different in Bollywood.