Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Rann: Sticks to the clichés
The news business in India has grown to such an extent in the last few years and pervaded our lives so much, that a Bollywood film on the subject was bound to come out sooner than later.
But the problem with films such as “Rann”, much like the ones that come from the Madhur Bhandarkar stable, is that there is a thin line between going overboard and staying restrained.
When you are dealing with a subject that touches us in our daily lives, and with characters who have been borrowed from real life, it
is extremely difficult not to make a caricature of a film.
To be fair to him, Ram Gopal Varma tries. But “Rann”, which has been
billed as an expose on the media in India, doesn’t straddle that line;
instead the film resorts to clichés as a storyline and caricatures as
characters, and thus never takes off.
Amitabh Bachchan plays Vijay Harshvardhan Malik, an upright, honest
owner of a television channel who is fighting a losing battle for
ratings to a channel started by one of his protégés, Amrish Kakkar
His son Jai (played very well by Kannada actor Sudeep), in a
last-ditch attempt to save the channel, and goaded by his sister’s
husband (Rajat Kapoor), joins hands with opposition leader Mohan
Pandey, who wants to defame the Prime Minister before national
Pandey convinces Jai to air a “sting operation” that is manufactured
and Jai in turn convinces his father to present the operation, because
he is someone, we are told, the nation trusts. It is only when star
reporter Purab Shastri, who works for Malik’s channel, notices
something amiss and launches an investigation of his own that things
start to unravel.
Varma makes quite a few valid points about today’s media but these are
sporadic and superficial. He hardly substantiates these claims, and
characters only randomly throw around words like TRPs and how “media
is a business”.
He doesn’t tell us anything new; instead he just strings together a
series of inspired-from-real-life incidents and tries to make a story
out of it. There are no insights into the day-to-day running of a news
channel, no glimpses of what goes into the business of 24- hour
Camera movements are jerky, the music is inexplicably reminiscent of
horror films, and the story hardly seems to move at times. Actors like
Rajat Kapoor (who is supposed to be a top businessman, but doesn’t
seem to have any business but to tag along after Pandey), and Mohnish
Behl ham away to glory, and Riteish Deshmukh is decidedly awkward as
Of the cast, only Sudeep delivers what one might call a performance.
Bachchan himself is, of course, his usual perfectionist self, but you
see so little of him in the film.
In the end, “Rann” is a film that could have been so much better, but
it chooses to play it safe instead. But if you are curious about the
world of news, you might find this one interesting enough.