Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Rakht Charitra: Bloody tale
At the outset, I have to confess that I didn’t watch a lot of Ram Gopal Varma’s “Rakht Charitra”. Most of the scenes have so much blood and gore and what can only be described as disgusting methods of killing a human being that you are forced to avert your eyes.
The film, based on the true story of Andhra politician Paritala Ravi, is less of a portrait of his time and life, and more of a gory chronicle of the bloody revenge saga he and his rivals are engaged in.
Vivek Oberoi plays Prakash Ravi, the son of a local politician who is killed by his one-time mentor. Determined to take revenge when his elder brother is also killed, he transforms from college student to fugitive, hiding in the jungles and surfacing only to eliminate his father’s killers.
The film traces his journey from a murderer to political leader, a minister in the cabinet with a swanky house of his own, a far cry from his makeshift shelter in the jungles.
What Varma doesn’t do, however, is give us a glimpse into the minds of his characters, whether it is Ravi or his rival Bukka Reddy (Abhimanyu Singh who plays a despotic killer to the hilt).
Instead, he chronicles every murder they commit, whether it is with a sickle, a gun, a handpump and several other weapons I cannot even begin to describe here.
We get that the politics of the region is bloody, but exactly why it is like that, Varma doesn’t tell us. With the result you are left cringing at the amount of fake blood that must have been used during the making of the “Rakht Charitra”.
Vivek Oberoi is intense as Ravi and Shatrughan Sinha as his political mentor will surprise you with a toned-down but effective performance. And Abhimanyu Singh brings the right amount of insanity in his eyes to convince you of his intentions.
However, these aren’t enough to save the film, so unless you want to see some gruesome blood-spilling, you should avoid this one.
Also, “Rakht Charitra” has a sequel coming up, releasing just three weeks later, and it’s also described as a “terrifying saga of revenge”. I cannot imagine how much fake blood they must have used for that one.