Ram Gopal Varma teamed up with Vivek Oberoi for COMPANY in 2002. The result of their 'company' was for everyone to see. Now, eight years later, the Ramu-Vivek jodi is back with RAKHT CHARITRA. In these eight years a lot has changed. Ramu's career graph only saw a few successes like SARKAR, SARKAR RAJ and PHOONK. Even Vivek's career saw a downfall with just MASTI, SHOOTOUT AT LOKHADWALA doing well. So, this is an acid test for both.
Ram Gopal Varma is back in his sublime form. After SATYA and COMPANY, he presents this gritty tale, full of bloodshed. It's riveting and gory with power-packed performances. And above all, it's a story well told. But be warned, if you're weak-hearted, this is surely not your cup of tea.
Based on a true story, RAKHT CHARITRA traces the life of Pratap Ravi (Vivek Oberoi). His father Veer Bhadra (Rajendra Gupta) gets killed, which brings him to the Anandapuram region. It's a revenge story from hereon along with a thrilling race to attain supremacy, in a land where only the fittest and the cruellest survive. Without wasting any time, Ram Gopal Varma gets on to the circumstances that led Pratap Ravi to the brutal path. The pace of the narrative is constant throughout with the trademark unique camera angles. The compelling background score adds to the excitement.
It's first half is a tad longer and gets repetitive. There are copious deaths, with the only uniqueness being in the style of killings. It could have certainly been trimmed for a better impact. Just when you feel the graph of narrative might dip, Shivaji Rao's (Shatrughan Sinha) entry in the second half makes the proceedings vigorous and also adds a new dimension to the story. Sukhwinder Singh's song and dance performance provides a welcome break to the gruesome proceedings.
It's replete with some awe-inspiring sequences like the one in which Pratap kills Nagamani Reddy (Kota Srinivasa Rao) in the garb of a police officer. Furthermore, Shivaji Rao's aide tells Pratap to shave before entering politics as 'neta mann se saaf ho na ho, tan se saaf hona chahiye'. Also worth noting is the scene in which Shivaji Rao stands up for Pratap. Absolutely brilliant!
Vivek Oberoi is good. But Ramu could have extracted more from him. Abhimanyu Singh fits his role to the T. He has a certain rawness and edginess in his face and body language which is brilliant. He has a very terrorising image. Shatrughan Sinha is marvellous. It's a delight to watch him on screen after so long. Ramu has given him a very important character and he delivers it with ease. Radhika Apte is decent. Sushant Singh is good in his miniscule role. Ashwini Kalsekar's performance stands out. Sudeep and Darshan Jariwala are wasted. All the other actors are good in their respective parts. However, the narrator's hoarse voice gets on your nerves after a while.
RAKHT CHARITRA is an outstanding revenge drama. No doubt, it's a 'bloody' mess. But a mess that you'll certainly enjoy.