Bullett Raja Critics Reviews

By Taran Adarsh, 28 Nov 2013, 11:04 hrs IST
4

In this fast-changing scenario, a majority of stars as well as film-makers are experimenting with characters/plots they haven’t embarked upon earlier. Trudging around the unexplored trail seems to be the new mantra for the dream merchants. Spanking new combinations are getting formed. Innovative and ground-breaking concepts are being attempted. The intention is to offer wide-ranging, all-encompassing entertainment to the up to date, insightful viewer. Reaching out to the pan-India audience and magnetizing the Indian diaspora globally also appears to be the objective.

Post SHAGIRD [which was disregarded by cineastes, despite strong merits!], PAAN SINGH TOMAR and SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER franchise, Tigmanshu Dhulia has shaped an indelible impression on the viewer’s psyche. Consequently, Tigmanshu’s cinema is now anticipated with gusto and zeal by movie aficionados and enthusiasts. However, what raises eyebrows — and logically so — is Tigmanshu’s teaming with mainstream actors [Saif Ali Khan, Sonakshi Sinha] in his new outing. Furthermore, the gifted director goes all ‘commercial’ to entice that fragment of audience [masses] that enormously add to the big booty.

The promos of BULLETT RAJA compel you to visualize that this is yet another gangster film with hi-octane drama and power-packed dialogues designed for the masses. The question is, is it one? If true, can Tigmanshu pull it off? Besides, is BULLETT RAJA Tigmanshu’s big ticket break?

BULLETT RAJA narrates the story of Raja Mishra [Saif Ali Khan], a commoner, who gets transformed into a notorious, care-a-damn attitude gangster. A faithful friend and a loyal lover, living life on his own terms, setting his own rules, commanding respect and fearing no one, Raja, in his true inimitable style, takes on the system that creates people like him.

BULLETT RAJA takes you back to the cinema of yore. A commoner revolts against the system and sets his own rules, shaking the law makers and entrepreneurs in the process. As he gets more and more commanding and authoritative, the powers that be decide on clipping his wings… and eliminate him. Like several films made in 1980s and 1990s, BULLETT RAJA talks of a commoner who revolts against the very system he once devotedly followed. This is Tigmanshu’s take on camaraderie, matters of the heart and sacrifice.

Tigmanshu’s cinema has often existed in the pragmatic zone, besides being entrenched in the heartland/interiors, and BULLETT RAJA is no exception. It’s raw, unrefined and harsh, much like Tigmanshu’s earlier endeavors. Sure, the protagonist may bring back memories of the characters we’ve watched over and over again on the big screen, but the fact remains that everything happens for a legitimate, justifiable reason here. Notwithstanding the oft-repeated premise, the screenplay has ample twists and turns and leaves you wondering, what’s gonna happen next? In fact, the games people play — not just the politicians — only envelopes you into the proceedings. The icing on the cake is the twist towards the penultimate moments.

BULLETT RAJA also works thanks to the dialogue [brilliant; also penned by Tigmanshu] and of course, the casting. Saif has often stolen the thunder from his contemporaries in varied films [recall OMKARA] and the actor, known for stylish, metro-centric characters, is sure to surprise you yet again. More on that later!

Hiccups? The film stagnates after a brilliant start. The portions in Mumbai and the song that ensues [‘Tamanche Pe Disco’] is a put-off. Also, while the songs match the tone of the film, the soundtrack is plain ordinary.

Technically, this is amongst Tigmanshu’s polished and genteel efforts. The background score is effectual, enhancing the drama at key points. Action sequences are realistic. Thankfully, there are no South-style stunts here!

Saif slips into the unconventional zone without a glitch. The actor delivers an unblemished performance, dominating every scene he appears in. He seems to have worked hard on getting the diction right, while the body language is impeccable as well. It’s a seamless leap to look the character. Jimmy Sheirgill is admirable, essaying his part with absolute understanding. The bonding between Saif and Jimmy is simply splendid. Sonakshi Sinha is charismatic and does very well in the required space.

BULLETT RAJA is embellished with an exceptional supporting cast and each of them adjoin immense credibility to their respective characters. Vidyut Jammwal is luminous in a cameo. He adds solid muscle to the post-interval portions. Raj Babbar plays the scheming politician with incredible ease. Gulshan Grover is first-rate. Ravi Kissen is in terrific form, enacting the negative part with gusto. Chunkey Pandey leaves an impression in a brief role. Vipin Sharma is super. Deepraj Rana, Vishwajeet Pradhan and Sharat Saxena are perfect. Mahie Gill sizzles in the song and sequence.

On the whole, BULLETT RAJA is Tigmanshu Dhulia’s most ‘commercial’, mass appealing film thus far. One more superior endeavor after the immeasurably acknowledged PAAN SINGH TOMAR and the vastly admired SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER franchise, all of which belong to completely diverse genres of cinema. Enjoyable, engaging and extremely distinctive, BULLETT RAJA is not to be missed!

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4 Comments
  1. I.One 6 years ago

    4 stars? I head from Fenil that movie is not good and has very bad editing. I guess I will wait for more reviews before giving it a shot.

  2. yakuza 6 years ago

    http://t.co/ZgVimlZBpm – 2.25/5 by Divya Solgama

  3. Author
    sputnik 6 years ago

    Bullett Raja Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

    Rating: 2.5

    November 29, 2013

    Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Jimmy Shergill, Sonakshi Sinha, Chunky Pandey, Ravi Kissen, Raj Babbar, Vipin Sharma, Sharat Saxena, Vidyut Jamwal

    Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia

    In a scene early on in Bullett Raja, two thugs ruefully discuss how Raja (Saif Ali Khan) and his friend Rudra (Jimmy Shergill) wreaked havoc on their gang. One man tells the other, “Hamesha do log kyun hote hain? Sholay mein bhi do the.” This is typically sharp writing by Tigmanshu Dhulia; we immediately get a sense of two buddies, brothers-in-arms, so thick that nothing can come between them.

    Up until the halfway mark, Bullett Raja is rollicking entertainment. Our gangster protagonists kill, maim, kidnap, and intimidate their rivals, all the while bickering and joking, in Dhulia’s direct nod to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Raja and Rudra meet by chance and are drawn into violence by fate. During a stint in jail, they are introduced to a fixer (Vipin Sharma) who advises them to become “political commandoes” for a UP leader (Raj Babbar). They soon become local heroes, but when they take on a nexus of political bigwigs, police, and industrialists, the two find themselves on a hit list. Sadly the film’s screenplay comes undone post intermission, its second half disintegrating into a bloody revenge saga.

    Dhulia makes a hardcore action film, but coats it with local flavor and dialogue. Like Quentin Tarantino’s cinema, the violence has an irreverent, cheeky vibe – like that scene where Raja insists on killing a slimy politico from a distance of over 100 metres, just so he can break another shooter’s record. This is one of many sparkling moments, as is a scene in which two hostages forget where they are, and burst out laughing while glued to a comedy show on television, even as their kidnapper watches them bewildered.

    To give texture to his tale, Dhulia hires good actors in colorful parts. Ravi Kissen is pretty solid as the hit-man who dresses up as a woman and pretends to be crazy, just so he can escape getting arrested. In one instance he tells a corrupt neta: “Aap humein support kijiye, hum vispot karenge.” Gulshan Grover particularly shines in the role of a contemptuous Marwari millionaire, and you laugh when a Chambal dacoit on the verge of surrender, puts in a demand for Bipasha Basu to dance for him in the ravines.

    What’s disappointing then is that Bullett Raja isn’t consistently engaging. Aside from the rather choppy editing, there are also random scenes strewn about carelessly. Sonakshi Sinha plays an aspiring actress who comes in contact with Raja and Rudra. We’re never sure why this sweet middle-class Bengali girl insists she wants to tag along with two gangsters for the ride. She falls all-too-easily in love with Raja, even though they appear as far removed as chalk and cheese. The flabby, unnecessary portions in this film include the hiatus these three take to Mumbai, a plot diversion that serves no purpose other than to fit in a silly nightclub number. Even the dacoit-capture scene in the Chambal valley comes off as indulgent, given that it’s included only to establish Vidyut Jamwal’s character as a daring cop.

    And therein lies Bullett Raja’s big flaw. Working on a larger scale than he’s usually handled, Dhulia inevitably falls into the trap of glorifying his star. The narrative bloats to include scenes of Raja’s herogiri and this quickly becomes a drag. The director’s knack for telling intriguing, wacky stories gets sidelined by the pressure on him to present Saif Ali Khan as the ultimate symbol of machismo.

    Of the principal cast, Jimmy Shergill is nicely restrained as the quick-thinking Rudra, whose chemistry with Raja is compelling. Sonakshi Sinha comes off as a third wheel in this friendship, stuck with a middling role. Saif Ali Khan is very good as the wise-ass, audacious Raja, going full-throttle in the comic interludes, the high-adrenaline chase sequences, and even the loutish dancing in an item song with Mahie Gill. The pity here is that despite dominating the screen throughout, his character never feels entirely well-rounded, and as a result his performance never hits the high notes he achieved with Langda Tyagi in Omkara.

    I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Bullett Raja. With a tighter script and an uncompromising vision, he might’ve knocked this one right out of the park. At the moment though, it’s an easy but forgettable watch.

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