Mayank Shekhar's review: Raktacharitra

By Hindustan Times

Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Actors: Vivek Oberoi, Abhimanyu Singh
Rating: **

A silly, croaky, overexcited old voice narrates this film like Betaal to Vikram from the popular Doordarshan show. The purpose, I guess, is to sound corny. It goes well with the movie. The intent is a giveaway.

The voice introduces the film’s main villain to suggest, “Yeh rajneeti nahin, rakta neeti ka rakshas hai… Isne vaishiyat ke mayane badal ke rakh di (He’s not a demon of politics, but the devil of blood. He’s redefined cruelty).” As could this movie.

This half naked, hairy-chested Bukka Reddy (Abhimanyu Singh) finds every few minutes an ingenious way to kill. He uses saws, metallic juicers, throws rats to nibble over his victim’s belly. He’s also the “vaasna ka shikari (hunter of lust)”. Rape is his other favourite sport. There is just blood all over as you watch his goons assault minions with axes, sickles, hammers, break legs, twist necks… The mind is numbed by the tragicomedy of gore.

The hero Pratap Ravi (Vivek Oberoi, not a false note) is but no better. He’s the young son of a martyred politician who had fallen out with his mentor. His family's pretty much finished. Everyone’s after this boy now. He hides in the hills, when he’s not slashing heads or pulling triggers himself. This is pure chin-drop violence, as opposed to pin-drop silence that you’ll never find a moment of. A loud siren or a wind instrument fills the gap between thuds of humans being thrashed around. We’re in a fictional town called Anandpur in Andhra Pradesh. Politics is pointless when deaths come this easy. Cops can be swatted like mosquitoes. Redemption is a waste of intent.

The filmmakers suggest this is based on a true story. I guess, in some ways, so is Tom And Jerry. This one’s just for adults interested in a punching bag for a picture, to vent out their frustrations or play out their violent fantasies. Ghajini was a hit. So are many similar regional and B films.

This is the good ol’ dacoit drama on sepia tone, red digital camera, weird angles, faster cuts, and as you can tell, better budgets. Doesn’t hurt, if you can take this much of it in one go. There’s another installment on its way, if you’re bloodthirsty still. Huh!

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