By Nilesh P. Khandare(11 May 2010)
Raajneeti is a story about Indian politics. About Indian democracy. About Indian elections. Above all, it is a story of a few people who control the destiny of millions. It is the story of their unstoppable ambition, and their bitter and violent battle to achieve it. This is the story of people who understand power - and know how to wield it at will.
It is the story of Bhaskar Sanyal (Naseruddin Shah), the fire-brand leftist leader, as feared for his single-handed ability to challenge the most powerful of leaders as he was respected for his political integrity. Until one private mistake of his hurtled him into a self-imposed exile and spawned a secret consequence that shook the destiny of the political future of the state.
And of Sooraj (Ajay Devgan) who rose from the backward classes - with anger in his heart and leadership on his mind. And yet, his destiny could never overcome the tragedy of his birth, trapping him in a terrible dilemma where his loyalty to his friend threatens to destroy his own family. Of Brij Gopal (Nana Patekar), who shunned every political ambition even as he continued to mentor and guide the younger generation of leaders while the battle got bloodier by the day?
It is the story of Prithvi Pratap (Arjun Rampal), heir to a powerful political legacy and impatient to seize the top position. A man with a heart of gold but who is all brawn. A man whose uncontrollable passions bring his family to the brink of political extinction.
And of Veerendra Pratap (Manoj Bajpai), whose lunge at the throne was thwarted even as he was within striking distance of it. A man who believes he was born to rule, and who will now stop at absolutely nothing to claw his way back to the top.
Of Indu Sakseria (Katrina Kaif), the princess - beautiful, passionate, arrogant. She had only one all-consuming love. Little did she know that her personal happiness was dependent on the changing electoral fortunes of her love, and that even a slight shift in the faultiness of political negotiation would cause a devastating earthquake in her personal life? And yet, this spirited never-say-die diva rose from the ashes of her tragedy to challenge every contender, over-turning the political future of the state.
Of Sarah Jean Collins (Sarah Thompson), who came from one of the bloodiest and most violent places of earth? Who escaped from there, bruised, hurt, and fell in love with a soul-mate who shared a similar legacy. And her abhorrence for it. And yet, when he was sucked into his destiny, this innocent bewildered girl's private world was thrown asunder.
And, it is the story of Samar Pratap (Ranbir Kapoor), the ultimate outsider. The apolitical conscientious objector, who got reluctantly sucked into the battle-ravaged arena of family rivalry. Only to turn into a master of the craft of political warfare. It is the story of the woman that he loved, and the one that loved and lost him. It is the story of his determined and fierce fight to protect his family. Of the bloodiest of final battles in a war alien to his character. It is the story of a man's descent into the moral hell that is Indian politics.
It is the story of a fiercely fought election campaign, where money-power and corruption are the accepted norms, and where treachery and manipulation are routinely used weapons. As the personal drama of these conflict-ridden characters unfolds against this gritty backdrop, love and friendship become mere baits, and relationships get sacrificed at the altar of political alignments. The darkness that rises from their soul threatens to envelope all that they hold precious. Until eventually, in the crescendo of increasing violence, the line between good and evil blurs, making it impossible to distinguish heroes from villains.
Raajneeti is the story of Indian democracy. And its ugly underside. It is about politics. And beyond.