Movie Review: Bullet Raja

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Director: Tigmanshu Dhuliya
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Jimi Shergil, Sonakahi Sinha, Ravi Kishan
Rating: **1/2

Bullet Raja is a one time watch. It is a good thriller which appears a bit stretched at certain places. Tigmanshu Dhuliya is almost the successor of Abbas-Mastan as far as the twists go in this movie.

In films like this, where loud is the order of the story, performances appears to overflow. Actors have put in their best. Dialogues are good and add the fun element as well as seriousness whenever required.

Music leaves a really sore taste in the mind when it changes rhythm in between the song, especially in ‘Sata ke Thoko’. Only saving grace are the songs, ‘Don’t touch my body’ and ‘Tamanche pe disco’.

Songs are not at all required in the film, but it is Bollywood and even great directors have not been able to save themselves from this. There is no need of a single song in the film. Songs are disruptions in an otherwise good story.

Certain sequences like Mumbai, Kolkata visits are depicted more than they contribute to the story. Dhuliya has tried to show all of Kolkata in one song. From fishing nets to traditional theatre to painting, communism, art, wedding all have been squeezed in one song. The song has romantic words but visuals don’t quite support the words. Showing monks looking at your gun, seeing your dead friends face when your bride is singing a romantic song to which you also contribute is something weird.

It is a revenge story. Accidental meeting of the strangers, evolves in a friendship, political killings entangle them in to a situation where they had to choose the path of political hitmen, in the process one friend dies and the other avenges it.

Dhuliya has tried to tell a lot which he could have avoided. Like Jimi Shergil trying to teach history to a Mumbai room service staff about brotherhood that Marathis and UPites have since Laxmibai’s time, obvious references to Mayawati’s narcissism, opium business (no importance in story), Chambal ka chaukidaar sequence etc. to name a few.

Characterisations have been weak in the case of Ravi Kishan and Vidyut Jamwal. Ravi Kishan is said to be a dreaded killer but not a single killing he did was in anyway a brave act. He was neither shrewd nor brave. Vidyut’s entry is shown inside a jungle where he fights the baagis (dacoits) single handedly with all his judo-karate skills to prove that he is an able police officer. This could have been avoided in a film which tried to portray current political situation.

Characters have not been properly developed before being thrown in to the real act. The transformation is too fast to justify it. At one hand you show realism and in the other one person is being raised to the height of something super human.

Editing could have been better to keep the audience guessing.

That said, film cannot be put in the same bracket as that of Dhuliya’s earlier works. This can easily be one of his weakest works till date. May be the commercial angle involved with it but I, and others, as fans of his filmmaking have been let down.

The poetry is missing from the film. It doesn’t flow as some of his other works did. In fact Irrfan’s weird death in Sahab Biwi… Returns also proves a point that he leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to doing justice with the characters.

Overall, a good entertainer. The story is interesting but due to its apparent flaws it doesn’t keep you on the edge. There are many symbols which make the story predictable. The rudraksh mala sequence with the artist guy in the car is one of them.

It does portray some of the realities of political situation and at times exaggerate it. There is one guy who is in the jail and runs everything from there. So much so that he holds the key to political funds that all the parties get.

The film is somewhere also trying to be a political satire and quite vocally so. Exaggerations are a part of satirical portrayal and with that perspective Dhuliya has addressed it nicely.

Some twenty minutes less movie without any song will make it a film worth watching. But again, it’s director’s vision with producer’s profit vision that dictates the work of art. And everyone has to survive. Still it’s a one time watch.

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