Ranbir Kapoor. Now here’s a boy who had done his grandfather proud. The film finally belongs to Ranbir Kapoor who perfects the art of minimalism -- and literally grows before your eyes -- as the simmering volcano that cannot be held back, once it erupts. He's as grey and soot-filled, as volcanoes go. Supremely talented, his performance is nuanced and his shifts in character subtle yet exceptional. He makes you smile in one scene and gives you goose bumps the next minute. Ranbir Kapoor as the protagonist who is willing to go to any extent to win the political race stands out from the towering cast with the most poised performance of his career so far. I believe the real casting masterstroke is rising star Ranbir Kapoor, who fills out his complex character full of seriously grey shades, with a great deal of restraint. He gets the meatiest part and makes the best of it. From candid to sharp to calculating, he brings forth the transformation brilliantly.
Katrina, gesticulating and hamming, reminded me of the dummy on a ventriloquist’s lap. Though in the rest of the film she’s very good, she has added dignity to her role and in her big moment she’s just a pretty marionette. She plays her lovelorn act convincingly. Till she’s romancing Ranbir, she’s all right; anything over, she flounders. She’s clearly worked hard but her luminous looks rather than acting are still her trump card.
Nana Patekar as the smiling, advising Krishna is engaging. He just excels in the brooding moments. As the silent spectator and guide, he is so effective that despite taking a backseat his screen-presence is never diluted.
Arjun Rampal is also good, and ridiculously gorgeous. He may not look like a politician but this is one of his finest performances. He is amazingly confident, playing a character divergent to the roles he has done so far.
Manoj Bajpai is the surprise packet and shines in every scene. As the frustrated, edgy Duryodhan, he is very impressive. He gnashes and grinds his teeth, and even a hint of defeat seems to asphyxiate him, and he begins to turn an ashen shade of brown. Although he is theatrical but since his character demands that, he doesn’t end up hamming like he has been doing in recent roles. In fact he is in superb form and delivers a vicious negative act. Bajpai has done hinterland beautifully before `Shool’ and he brought back memories of his mesmeric performances in films like Satya and Zubeida. Overall In this one, his moustache is sharper than his performance.
And lastly, Ajay Devgan once again, speaks through the intensity of his eyes and is remarkable. He brings intensity into every scene and adds pathos and affliction to his character.
4 / 5