Ranbir Kapoor plays an NRI in Rajneeti

By Subhash K. Jha Bollywood Hungama News Network

Ranbir Kapoor plays an NRI forced to return home to take over the family business (in this case, politics). Sounds familiar? Abhishek Bachchan played a similar role in Ram Gopal Varma's Sarkar.

And both characters are inspired by Al Pacino's Don Corleone in Francis Coppola's The Godfather. Ranbir of course plays a mixture of Rajiv Gandhi and Don Corleone in Rajneeti.

And as coincidence would have it, both Abhishek and Ranbir had Katrina as their co-star, but with a difference. In Sarkar, Katrina's anglicized voice had to be dubbed although she played an NRI and could've easily used her accented voice for the character. In Rajneeti, Katrina gives long speeches in shudh Hindi all in her own voice.

Katrina Kaif's two-minute speech in front of a 10,000-strong attentive crowd at a public rally in Bhopal for Rajneeti, has whetted Ranbir Kapoor's appetite for getting right the speeches that he needs to deliver for Prakash Jha's film when he starts shooting in August.

There's just one hitch. Ranbir doesn't need to learn shuddh hindi, like Katrina did. He already knows that. He needs to cultivate an accent to sound like an America-returned Delhi boy who suddenly needs to go from monosyllabic rashtra bhasha to full-speeches.

Prakash Jha has planned intense reading and speech therapy sessions for Ranbir for him to get the accented Hindustani right.

To play a Harvard educated US-based NRI who must suddenly return home to look after his mother's political empire, Ranbir Kapoor in a role that Al Pacino would have liked to play, is not just all set to start shooting, he's raring to go.

Ranbir won't play the reluctant politician in the usual khadi kurta-pajama dress code. "Ranbir will be very trendily dressed. He plays a young man of today," informs the director.

Apparently, the character is a mix of Rajiv Gandhi and Michael Corloene from Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather.

Ranbir who joins the cast in August has been regularly calling and talking to the entire cast in Bhopal.

Says Prakash affectionately, "He even offered to leave whatever he was doing and join us in Bhopal although his shooting starts next month. I remember one day Ajay, Nana, Arjun, Manoj were working together and missing Ranbir. So in the evening we got together in my hotel room and called him. Ranbir spoke to each of us individually. He wanted to leave everything in Mumbai and join us Bhopal."

Prakash starts workshops with Ranbir after the Lok Sabha elections. Says Prakash, "Ranbir is so excited about his look, and dialogues. He needs to play a character who defines democracy in today's world. I wouldn't describe it as a multi-starrer. It's a multi-actor film. Katrina Kaif is such a revelation. She was so nervous giving a speech in front of 10,000 people. After she gave her speech I hugged her on stage and shouted out to the junta, 'Bhopal ka ticket de de kya?' As for Naseer, if I hadn't worked with him I wouldn't have been a complete filmmaker."

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