Cast:Vivek Oberoi, Suriya, Mohan Babu, Shatrughan Sinha
Ram Gopal Varma
In Rakht Charitra 2 , director Ram Gopal Varma continues the revenge saga that he started with the first film, which released in October.
In case you missed it, Varma begins with approximately 25 minutes of footage from the first film to bring you up to speed. At the screening I was at, most people thought that Rakta Charitra 1 was playing by mistake. Clearly Varma doesn’t believe in montage.
The films are loosely based on the life of Paritala Ravindra, a political leader from Andhra Pradesh. While the first part focused on the rise of Pratap, played by Vivek Oberoi, the second focuses on how his arch-enemy Surya, played by South star Suriya, takes revenge.
It’s a high decibel, heavy-handed saga of killing and counter-killing without a break or even a larger point.
Though Varma does tell us at the end that the film demonstrates the futility of violence - a noble sentiment, which is not unlike preaching abstinence at the end of a porn film. Because for over two hours Varma explores the myriad ways of inflicting violence– so heads are crushed, limbs are severed, families are bombed and bullets pierce bodies without a pause.
This is Varma’s gritty universe, in which all the men make cryptic pronouncements and smoke and stride in slow motion. And just in case you still don’t get it, the bombastic soundtrack underlines every emotion.
Rakta Charitra 1 had an urgency that kept the narrative moving despite the clumsy voice-over and mind-numbing violence. The sequel has some powerful scenes but lacks cohesion. In places, the scenes seem
stitched together quite randomly. Oberoi, who was so much more effective in the first, mostly flares his nostrils and looks grim.
But Suriya saves the film from being a total loss. His expressive eyes have a quiet strength and his presence sears the screen.
Will someone please find him a better Bollywood script?