Amidst the abundance of directors vying for mainstream success in Bollywood, Ram Gopal Varma (RGV) is a rare breed. He directs movies that fall out of conventional Indian cinema and it seems he does it for the art of storytelling rather than aiming at box-office success.
Since the critical success of the resounding Rangeela, RGV has ventured into crime, horror and previously untouched topics such as adultery. His recent foray in telling tales of the underworld in particular seemed to have served him well, as evidenced by the well received Company, D, Satya and the Sarkar movies.
In Rann he has taken on a new, perhaps bold, tale of media manipulation, principally focusing on politics and sensational news items. The film brings out the evils in society when striving for success pushes people to extremes, sounding out a sentiment that media has sidelined any moral code of ethics in present times. It may tend to lean towards an idealistic point of view at times, but the requisite of a serious tone makes Rann perfect for a thinking audience.
One of the film’s protagonists, Harshvardhan Malik (Amitabh Bachchan) owns a news channel which operates on the basis of strong moral codes and ideals. Malik believes in presenting honest, factual news and not generating news just to win an audience.
Jai Malik (Sudeep), Harshvardhan’s son, runs with the trend and sees media as a cash-cow. When their channel is under threat from competition, Jai becomes allies with politician Mohan Pandey (Paresh Rawal) and uses his channel to conspire against the ruling Prime Minister.
Enter aspiring journalist Purab (Riteish Deshmukh) who steps in to get to the truth of the issue. The story starts to show some elements of suspense, which seems to diminish as the film progresses, due to an increasingly predictable ending.
The script is almost written and acted out to perfection. Amitabh Bachchan, and more surprisingly Riteish Deshmukh and Sudeep deliver their crisp dialogues effectively. The menacing rather than comedic performance of Paresh Rawal is refreshing, while the support of Mohnish Behl as the competition is solid. Gul Panag brightens the screen with her smile in her limited role.
The one strong point of the film is the cinematography as it is clearly evident that Amit Roy has studied the art. The camera angles, panning shots and placement of actors on the set is well thought out and conducted. The fact that there finally seem to be cinematographers who take initiative and are innovative bodes well for the industry and future films.
To sum up Rann is one movie you do not want to miss. It displays many aspects of filmmaking that are often absent in Indian cinema, such as using music to support the story rather than throwing in inane dance numbers. The film may have some shortcomings but the message it delivers, combined with its uniqueness makes it a must-watch – Amar Ayaz
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 2010, Genre – Crime, Country – India, Language – Hindi, Producer – Sheetal Vinod Talwar, Madhu Mantena, Director – Ram Gopal Varma, Music Director – Amar Mohile, Bapi – Tutul, Sanjeev Kohli, Jayesh Gandhi, Dharmaraj Bhatt, Sandeep Patil, Cast – Amitabh Bachchan, Paresh Rawal, Riteish Deshmukh, Sudeep, Manisha Koirala, Rajat Kapoor, Gul Panag, Raima Sen, Mohnish Behl, Rajpal Yadav, Suchitra Krishnamurthy, Alok Nath, Neena Kulkarni, Simone Singh, Neetu Chandra, Rahul Pendkalkar