So, let’s not get smug about how politicians are ‘of course’ all dirty like depicted in the movie.
That’s what I liked about the movie.
It’s really an allegorical/metaphorical story about the human condition and in a narrow way, about us as Indians.
The movie depicts the high-stakes game of politics and how it brings out the worst in the characters caught in it.
It wonderfully melds some themes from the Mahabharata even … that ageless epic that contains characters with all sorts of human qualities, both good and bad.
The movie doesn’t indulge in hyperbole like the usual Bollywood movie … no over-acting.
Scenes of loss as well as levity are depicted and then the story movies swiftly on without dwelling on it for an eternity.
A movie that has a real story and a busy one.
A generational shift is depicted.
So many strong characters are depicted whose lives are all inextricably intertwined.
So many deaths take place … all, in attempts to grab power.
But, here’s the central question.
Are we any better?
Should we all watch the movie and feel smug at how much better we all are compared to these murderous politicians?
I do not think so.
I think we all behave pretty ruthlessly in our own lives. Our actions tend to be comparably brutal.
Let me explain.
We obviously do not all murder other people.
But then we are never faced with situations in our lives where the stakes are as high as shown in this movie.
We probably cheat other people to acquire more money — or, we WOULD cheat others IF we had the chance.
So also, if we had the opportunity to acquire so much power by killing someone, I think we would not hesitate to do so when we know that our actions will have NO consequences.
So, as a movie, Rajneeti has it all.
A strong storyline, wonderful cinematic portrayal, many significant characters, no improbable twists or turns in the storyline.
What more does a movie need to have?
Well, it does NOT have an uplifting message for sure.
But then, it does not seek to provide a balm.
It merely seeks to hold a mirror to the human condition and it succeeds remarkably.
Let the Oscar statuettes rain on Prakash Jha!