R… Rajkumar Movie Review by Taran Adarsh
There’s an overdose of masala films. And practically all prominent names have featured in masalathons this year. Take a look: SRK [CHENNAI EXPRESS], Ranbir Kapoor [BESHARAM], Ajay Devgn [HIMMATWALA], Akshay Kumar [BOSS], Sanjay Dutt [ZILA GHAZIABAD, POLICEGIRI], Sunny Deol [SINGH SAAB THE GREAT] and Saif Ali Khan [BULLETT RAJA]. Sadly, most of these films were shown the red flag by cineastes, which prompted the cynics to believe that it’s the end of the road for the 1980s-styled formula films. But there’s also the school of thought that strongly feels that masala entertainers will never go out of fashion. The good ones will work, the awful ones will bite the dust…
Prabhu Dheva revived the masala genre in Bollywood with WANTED, triggering off a plethora of entertainers subsequently. Not deviating from what he re-introduced to the audiences, Prabhu Dheva has fruitfully crafted and churned out desi entertainers one after the other. This time, the actor-choreographer-director teams up with Shahid Kapoor to narrate a story that’s set [once again] in the countryside. The only difference is, R… RAJKUMAR is *not* a remake of a South Indian hit, like Prabhu Dheva’s previous endeavors.
Curiously, a few weeks ago, Shahid Kapoor teamed up with Rajkumar Santoshi for an entertainer [PHATA POSTER NIKLA HERO] and many a people are drawing parallels between that film and this one [R… RAJKUMAR]. Not true! Now to the next question: Is it a replica of a standard masala film or there’s more to it? More significantly, how compelling is Shahid in the masala space? Does he look persuasive and convincing enough, rattling mass-friendly dialogues and bashing up dozens of rogues like we swat flies? Let’s find out…
Rajkumar [Shahid Kapoor], who works for a drug dealer Shivraj [Sonu Sood], is entrusted the task of eliminating the rival drug dealer [Ashish Vidyarthi]. Prior to that, he eyes Chanda [Sonakshi Sinha] and falls head over heels in love with her. Rajkumar is unaware that Vidyarthi happens to be Chanda’s uncle. In the meantime, Shivraj too falls for the charms of Chanda. He makes peace with Vidyarthi and expresses the desire to marry Chanda. The battle lines are drawn…
Masala entertainers are all about compelling the spectators to believe in the super-hero qualities of the protagonist. He has to be an all-rounder actually: emote, romance, sing, dance and flex muscles, when required. Prabhu Dheva has been serving us the staple dish, albeit in new avatars and modifications, successfully. Much like his last outing RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA, Prabhu Dheva emphasizes on romance yet again in R… RAJKUMAR, with action being the icing on the cake. And while positioning it as a romantic fare, Prabhu Dheva also packages light moments aplenty and chart-busting music to make R… RAJKUMAR a wholesome entertainer.
While R… RAJKUMAR has everything that the hoi polloi looks for in atypical mass entertainers, the problem lies in the fact that there being an overdose of masala films, one can actually foresee what’s in store next. The story is done to death, the screenplay is far from inventive and everything seems conventional. Sure, a few moments do keep you glued and hooked to the proceedings, but the waferthin plot and lackluster screenplay plays spoilsport.
Another reason why R… RAJKUMAR falls like a pack of cards is the casting. Although Shahid Kapoor has genuinely acted well, placing him in the same zone as Salman Khan [DABANGG] and Akshay Kumar [ROWDY RATHORE] looks far from convincing. Making him battle an army of villains, led by Sonu Sood and Ashish Vidyarthi, and reducing them to pulp looks completely far-fetched even in the masala scenario. In short, Shahid is at home when he has to sing songs and romance Sonakshi, but looks far from convincing when he has to act as a super-hero.
Prabhu Dheva has always excelled in the masala genre and that’s the reason why he’s labeled the king of entertainers, but a feather-light concept and predictable goings-on act as dampeners. Like I stated earlier, a few sequences/moments do manage to keep you attentive, but they’re few and far between. One swallow does not a summer make! Dialogues too are serviceable, with a few clever lines integrated in the narrative.
Pritam delivers a chartbusting score. ‘Gandi Baat’, ‘Saree Ke Fall Sa’ and ‘Mat Maari’ are catchy and the first two songs especially have already caught the fancy of listeners. But ‘Kaddu Katega’ appears reminiscent of the item song in ROWDY RATHORE [‘Aa Re Pritam Pyaare’], while the romantic track [‘Dhokha Dhadi’] is plain average. Action sequences, though executed well and high on energy, fall in the same mould as the ones we have watched in scores of masala entertainers.
Shahid Kapoor gets to portray a mass-friendly character and he gives it his best shot. He’s an exceptional dancer and emotes very well too, but, like I pointed out earlier, he looks far from real when it comes to fighting an army of villains. Sonakshi Sinha seems to be getting repetitive and needs to reinvent herself. Ditto for Sonu Sood, who plays the mandatory villain without much of an effort.
Asrani is just about okay. Ashish Vidyarthi plays the evil uncle to perfection. Mukul Dev is passable. Srihari doesn’t get ample scope.
On the whole, R… RAJKUMAR doesn’t work. It is Prabhu Dheva’s weakest Hindi film to date!Anupama Chopra Critics Reviews Prabhu Deva R... Rajkumar Rajeev Masand Reviews Shahid Kapoor Sonakshi Sinha Sonu Sood Taran Adarsh
R…Rajkumar Indian Express Review
Movie review: ‘R…Rajkumar’ is the worst film of the year
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonu Sood, Ashish Vidyarthi, Mukul Dev, Asrani
Director: Prabhu Dheva
The Indian Express rating: Zero star
Shahid Kapoor plays R…Rajkumar. The R.. was meant to be Rambo. The name was axed because of copyright issues. It is now Romeo. It makes no difference. This is a role that will, and should, haunt Shahid Kapoor: it is empty of all sense and sensibility. Shahid Kapoor presents a head full of carefully streaked hair, cultivated stubble, puckered lips, and swinging fists. He mouths crass dialogue. He thrusts his pelvis. His idea of romance is to stalk and harass and bludgeon his girl into submission, and his idea of vengeance is to batter bodies till blood spurts.
His love interest in played by the actor who has done this so many times in her brief career that she may find it hard to remember which set she’s on. Chanda (Sonakshi Sinha) submits to her romeo’s stalking after pouting and swinging her waist. She shows up in a song called ‘Gandi Baat’, which happens early in the film, and which turns out to be sorely prophetic: there is not one ‘acchi baat’ in this atrocity.
‘R..Rajkumar’s has one friend (Mukul Dev). And two enemies. Nemesis Number One is the muscle-bound Shivraj (Sonu Sood). He plays it in the defunct-Bollywood-thakur mode, beheading innocent gaon-walas, and casting a lascivious eye upon Chanda. Her uncle, also a baddie, is played by an Ashish Vidyarthi, who seems to crawl out of the woodwork strictly for these unsightly parts. R..Rajkumar goes after these two one at a time before the interval; after that, it’s open season on broken limbs and spattered gore.
When you are bereft of all ideas, this what comes of it: one fight scene with hapless extras being subjected to all manner of ghastly violence, one song with a line of pelvises ready to meet our face, rinse, repeat. And a background score that is set poundingly to head-busting levels in every single frame.
Prabhu Dheva, with an extra ‘h’ in his name, has designed a film that gives us everything that Bollywood doesn’t need at this point: a setting that has no roots (where is this village, who are these people?), an atmosphere brimming with viciousness, crudity, and misogyny (the lead female part is barter between men), and a hero who stands for nothing.
I was left asking, why was R.. Rajkumar made? It is nothing but blank putrid noise. R.. for Rubbish. Zero star.
Times of India Review by Gaurav Malani
When Prabhu Dheva ventured into directing exaggerated action sagas, one wondered on the dancing demigod’s diverse choice of genre. Evidently when another dancing sensation Shahid Kapoor chooses to venture into the over-the-top action genre, you have your doubts. And while Shahid puts his ‘best foot forward’ to do some hardcore action, his boyish charm comes against the macho image he wants to put forth. Despite that chances are Shahid could be as commercially successful as Prabhu Dheva. But post that you won’t have any novel expectations from him either!
A film like R… Rajkumar works merely on gimmicks. And to join these gimmicks, a story is devised and put into place. So you have the same heroine, same villain, same villain sidekicks, same director, same action director, same stunt scenes, same locations and same singer clubbed together as if it were a popular combo (masala) meal. The only element not same is the hero – Shahid Kapoor. Though he earnestly attempts to be a Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar prototype, he isn’t as effortless. And that’s not the only mismatch here – there’s also the lead pair. Thankfully they have self-realization of the fact that Shahid is too short and Sonakshi is too stout. But you certainly can’t handle Shahid’s recurring pout.
The hero is the standard stalker sample from South films, who relentlessly pursues the heroine. But the villain lusts for the heroine too. And the hero challenges to single-handedly fight the villain and win back his ladylove.
The only achchi baat about the film is the song ‘Gandi Baat’. But the scene where Shahid and Prabhu Dheva share the dance floor is too short-lived and already broadcast on trailers. The other song ‘Saree ke fall sa’ follows the same tune but you don’t mind this recurrence as much as the repetitiveness of the formulaic story. Moreover Shahid’s dance, the only saving grace of the film, is expended in the songs of first half itself, while the dancing Shahid is conspicuous by its very absence in the second half – not leaving much reason to look forward into the film after the first half.
Shahid Kapoor gives his heart and soul to the role, though the converse of it is not true. Sonakshi Sinha is a mismatch to Shahid in every aspect and you know why multiple South sirens are employed in item numbers – to match steps and keep pace with Shahid. Sonu Sood has a menacing presence. Ashish Vidyarthi goes topless more number of times than Shahid Kapoor and Sonu Sood put together – and it clearly isn’t a pleasant sight.
At the end of it, all that remains with you is some ‘gandi baat’. Quite literally!
Director: Prabhu Dheva
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonu Sood
R… Rajkumar Movie Review by Rajeev Masand
December 06, 2013
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonu Sood, Ashish Vidyarthi
Director: Prabhu Deva
R… Rajkumar, directed by Prabhu Deva, is a film so relentlessly ugly, you have to wonder how it qualifies as entertainment of any sort. Like the worst video games, the action scenes here go on and on and on till your brain and your senses are numbed by all the stabbing and punching and pummeling. And just in case there’s still a part of you that doesn’t feel entirely abused, the film’s crass humor will take care of that.
Not unlike Rowdy Rathore, the director’s last blockbuster hit, this film doesn’t offer much by way of plot or characters. A beefed up Shahid Kapoor (looking redder than a cooked lobster) plays Rajkumar, a mysterious fellow who shows up in a lawless village one day, and quickly lands a job in the gang of a local opium smuggler and all-round goonda, Shivraj (Sonu Sood), the kind of villain who’s given to delivering such corny lines like: “Mere mooh mat lagna, main sahat ke liye bahut haneekarak hoon.” When his boss becomes determined to marry the girl our hero has given his heart to, battle lines are drawn.
It’s bewildering why both Rajkumar and Shivraj bear such passion for Chanda (Sonakshi Sinha), especially since she has no respect for herself. In a scene so appalling it’ll make you cringe, she throws off her pallu and snarls at Shivraj, promising to strip down for him herself if he can defeat her lover. In another scene, she taunts him by describing how Rajkumar will make love to her on their honeymoon.
The scenarios in this film – including one scene in which a police officer is raping a woman in a jail cell when he is interrupted by an urgent telephone call – are so putrid I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t going through a bad dream. To dismiss R… Rajkumar merely as a throwback to those cheerfully low-IQ 80s potboilers would mean letting off the makers too easily, for this is cinema of the most exhausting kind. The climax alone carries on for over 15 minutes, in which Shahid is repeatedly stabbed, and then whacked around with everything from iron rods to wooden planks. He survives, but you almost don’t.
I’m going with half out of five for Prabhu Deva’s R… Rajkumar. The half star is strictly for Pritam’s music, the only bright spot in this excruciating film.
i am surprised with some reviews who are calling the film regressive and unflattering to women. how bad could this be compared to other south remakes? or have critics suddenly realised that south remakes are regressive and are picking up on a soft target like shahid
Surprisingly this is not a South remake. On The Front Row with Anupama Chopra she said this is his first non remake movie.
Actually I think all of Prabhu Deva’s hit movies (even the southern ones) are just remakes/inspired from hit movies in some other language.