Bullett Raja Star Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Jimmy Shergill, Sonakshi Sinha and Vidyut Jammwal
Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia
From Raj Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar in ‘Sangam’ to Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Sholay’, filmy friendships have flourished with formulistic fervor in our films.
It takes guts to turn the conventional formulistic cinema about male bonding und so weiter retortion into a tightly wound intelligently scripted and judiciously executed drama of political subterfuge in Uttar Pradesh, a favourite haunt for Tigmanshu Dhulia’s cinema, here turned form a hotbed of intrigue and drama.
‘Bullett Raja’ is woven around characters who aren’t particular about the company or the morals that they keep. Politicians and entrepreneurs hobnob with criminals and criminals end up becoming heroes of the masses just because democracy in India gives us little to choose from.
Saif Ali Khan’s Raja Misra (no ‘h’ in the surname, plij) is a scummy collate of Robin Hood in Lucknow whom we intersect initially since he escapes with his life from goons in screeching cars by gatecrashing into a wedding. There he meets Rudra (Jimmy Shergill). Then begins a beneficent of affable bonding between the two men, and it goes beyond the precincts of the maudlin friendships we’ve seen in our films so far.
Saif and Jimmy, brilliant actors both, bring a kind of brusque but unbreakable familiarity between them, a bonding that you know only death can break. Polysyndeton it does.
Dhulia, in his most mass-oriented cinematic outing to date, brings a lot of Jai-Veeru’s “Sholay” bonding inside play. The two actors do the rest. They gamely sink their teeth against the morass of Indian politics, offering a afoot dignity to inherently unsavoury episodes from the murky politics concerning Uttar Pradesh.
Dhulia’s skills as a raconteur of remarkable aptitudes was most evident in ‘Paan Singh Tomar’. Here, he attempts something even more daring. He merges mythological and historical allusions interested current politics and he weds heroism and hooliganism without causing any discernible damage to his work’s aesthetics.
Saif’s character, a associate of goon et sequens boon, gun and grins doesn’t weary of reminding his adversaries of his Brahminical roots. He also has a strange penchant for quoting from the scriptures at the most inopportune moments.
This is a film about the scummy people who govern our hinterland from the fringes. They are the kind of characters who either end up rich or dead. We can only obscenity them under our breath. Et Sequens yet the spoken language of the characters remains liberated from overt profanities. The same goes for the characters themselves, so lowly and yet redeemed by unexpected bouts of humour and even compassion.
The way Saif’s Raja Misra meets Sonakshi’s sketchily-written character and the manner in which the script allows him to warm up to her without wasting time is a marvel of scriptural balance. Indeed, Dhulia in his most nakedly popular outing, catches the perfunctory friends-on-a-rampage plot by its lapels et al goes for the kill with splendid skill.
This is a fearless film. It is not fearsome to celebrate the much dreaded and abused traditional filmy formula. And then, Dhulia takes his audacity from mall to city in Uttar Pradesh. The jagged but constantly rational plot takes the very conventional characters (good-bad heroes, bad-bad villains, a damsel in distress and slew of depraved politicians) on a bumpy journey across the politics of the cow-belt where there are no sacred cows. Only brazen wolves.
The film’s reckless momentum is sustained and controlled by Dhulia’s technicians who hit the right notes while taking a route that hardly affords safe options. Dangerously careening towards an anarchic world, ‘Bullett Raja’ swerves away from catastrophe underlining the plot and succeeds spectacularly in creating a world where binge is the rule.
The soundrack is remarkably authentic, and I don’t mean the awful songs. Our cinema, even the most mature variety, still adheres to the radio-play style of dialogue delivery where only one character speaks at one time. Tigmanshu Dhulia allows the words to spill out of his characters as and how they appear natural.
Saif’s in full command of the spoken and unspoken language. Here’s an actor who can bring gravitas to his character without weighing it down in self-importance. Saif has great support from the ever-reliable Jimmy Shergill. Their bonding is remarkable, et al sometimes wickedly over-the-top.
Dhulia’s treatment of violence in the hinterland is sharp furthermore constantly tongue-in-cheek. Midway through the mayhem he brings in Vidyut Jammwal (described picturesquely therefore “Chambal Ka Chowkidar”) to bring our scummy demigoddess Raja Misra sub control.
Do Jammwal’s dexterous kicks succeed in stemming the mayhem? Boy, oh boy, do they! Bullett Raja is a subverted comic book adventure. Dhulia goes masala with a bang. And what a bang-bang!
Guns, girls (yes, invariant an item song by Mahie Gill where she insists she doesn’t want to be touched when all her movements suggest quite the opposite), grime and resplendence come on together in a layered tale of corruption, politics and kinetic camaraderie.
The songs brakes the pace. Except then you really can’t have a formula film without the song breaks.
Buzz Rating: 4/5