I went to see this because of Dhulia’s excellent track record. Unfortunately, Bullett Raja is the exception, and a total disappointment. It is Dhulia’s genre – crime in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh. Saif Ali Khan is Raja Mishra, a small-time rabble rouser, who is looking at taking the straight and narrow road to staid middle class life. However trouble finds him, as he gate-crashes a wedding and poses as a baraati. A skirmish at the wedding venue and his fearless gun-toting defense of his host earns him accolades and an invitation to join a gang. Both he and new found friend Rudra (Jimmy Sheirgill) demur and decide that they’d like to live their ordinary lives instead. Of course, it’s never their decision. Not only do these two get pushed into a life of politics and violence, they rise up to become feared gangsters with a great many enemies.
This film is an utter waste of time, and that’s putting it mildly. It does not know what it wants to do or where it is going. The story makes little sense; there isn’t a big goal or problem in the film, it just goes meandering along. The flawed script is only slightly better than the terrible acting. Saif Ali Khan is grotesquely miscast. His suave-boy mannerisms which might have worked in films like Cocktail, seem odd and out-of-place in his son-of-Bihar “Misra” character – just pronouncing Mishra as Misra doesn’t a Bihari bad-boy make. Jimmy Sheirgill is dependable, but is unable to keep this sinking film afloat single-handedly. I’m not very impressed with Vidyut Jamwal either – seems self-conscious and wooden. Sonakshi Sinha, a decent enough actress, comes ready with her trademark pout, but her silly character overshadows her natural charm. Raj Babbar has a pivotal role, but since he’s one of the actors who gives me the hives (and not in a good way) I’m none too pleased. Chunky Pandey appears to have risen from the dead, or maybe just looks it, with that thickly-lined surma and the pencil-thin moustache in his gaunt face.
Bullett Raja fails on all counts : plot, acting and execution. And the music – the last straw – is nothing to write home about. The film has many action scenes and gun-fights. But most of them are executed so shoddily, that were it not for it’s A-list star cast, this would easily have been a C-grade film. The characters – Raja, Rudra and love interest Mitali are giant cardboard cutouts. We do not not know who they are or why they are what they are. There is no raison d’etre to their lives; they generally behave inconsistently (and stupidly) throughout the film. As you can tell then, rooting for these characters is the last thing on my mind.
Bullett Raja was an hour too long for me. I was ready for the torture to be over, and we’d just hit intermission. I’m very surprised that the director of “Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster” can make a film as shoddy as “Bullett Raja”. It might be that Dhulia is trying to get on the commercial film bandwagon, and cash in on big names. With this debacle though, he’d do better to stick to real actors – Irrfan Khan, Mahie Gill etc. and continue to produce the vernacular, gutsy cinema that has made him famous in the first place.