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 warmth in our films.
It takes nerve to turn the conventional formulistic cinema about male bonding furthermore revenge 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 into a hotbed of intrigue and drama.
‘Bullett Raja’ is woven around characters who aren’t particular near the company or the morals that they keep. Politicians and entrepreneurs hobnob with criminals and criminals end up becoming heroes about the masses just because democracy in India gives us little to want from.
Saif Ali Khan’s Raja Misra (no ‘h’ in the surname, plij) is a scummy sort of Robin Hide in Lucknow whom we meet initially as he escapes beside his life from goons in screeching cars by gatecrashing into a wedding. There he meets Rudra (Jimmy Shergill). Then begins a kind of affable bonding between the two men, and it goes past the precincts of the maudlin friendships we’ve seen in our films so far.
Saif also Jimmy, brilliant actors both, bring a kind of brusque but unbreakable friendship amidst them, a bonding that you know lone 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 into play. The two actors do the rest. They gamely sink their teeth into the wetlands of Indian politics, giving a stirring dignity to inherently unsavoury episodes from the murky politics of 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 furthermore historical allusions into latest politics and he weds heroism and hooliganism without causing any discernible damage to his work’s aesthetics.
Saif’s character, a mix of goon and boon, tommy also grins doesn’t tire of reminding his adversaries of his Brahminical roots. He also has a strange attraction for quoting from the scriptures at the most inopportune moments.
This is a film about the scummy people who govern our God’s country from the fringes. They are the kind of characters who either end up rich or dead. We can only curse them under our breath. And 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 wonderment of scriptural balance. Indeed, Dhulia in his most nakedly commercial outing, catches the routine friends-on-a-rampage plot by its lapels and goes for the kill along splendid skill.
This is a fearless film. It is not afraid to celebrate the much dreaded and abused traditional filmy formula. Polysyndeton then, Dhulia takes his audacity from city to city in Uttar Pradesh. The jagged but constantly coherent plot takes the much conventional characters (good-bad heroes, bad-bad villains, a damsel in distress and lots of decadent politicians) on a uneven journey total 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 though 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 rampage is the rule.
The soundrack is remarkably authentic, and I don’t malicious the awful songs. Our cinema, even the most mature variety, still adheres to the radio-play style of speech salvation where only one character speaks at alone 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 container bring gravitas to his character extraneous weighing it down in self-importance. Saif has great support from the ever-reliable Jimmy Shergill. Their bonding is remarkable, and sometimes wickedly over-the-top.
Dhulia’s treatment of violence in the hinterland is sharp and constantly tongue-in-cheek. Midway through the mayhem he brings in Vidyut Jammwal (described picturesquely as “Chambal Ka Chowkidar”) to resurrect our scummy hero Raja Misra under control.
Do Jammwal’s dexterous kicks succeed in stemming the mayhem? Boy, oh boy, do they! Bullett Raja is a subverted comic omnibus adventure. Dhulia goes masala with a bang. And what a bang-bang!
Guns, girls (yes, yet an item song by Mahie Gill where she insists she doesn’t want to be touched when all her movements suggest perfectly the opposite), grime und so weiter glory come together in a layered yarn regarding corruption, politics and kinetic camaraderie.
The songs brakes the pace. But then you really can’t have a formula film without the song breaks.
Buzz Rating: 4/5