Rann has been a long-standing dream project of Ram Gopal Varma. He has been itching to make a movie that attempts to unmask the truths & facts that go behind the capturing, creating, packaging and presenting of what we commonly know as News. Having just seen the movie, I’m slightly disappointed in RGV, for Rann showcases what effectively is a mere drop in the ocean, it exposes but a single shameful escapade, a sinister plot that has a greater significance in the balance shift but a triviality nevertheless!
Whether Ramu has in mind a sequel (or two) I’m not sure but this one is just an episode. He might have as well said “Stay tuned…we’ll be back” at the end of it all!
Vijay Dinanth Chauhan…er…beg your pardon, Vijay Harshvardhan Malik (Amitabh Bachchan) is the face of India 24×7 News Channel and the most trusted media journalist out there. But popularity and trust doesn’t beget the TRP’s and the channel is losing out on this front to newer, more effervescent and more ‘masaledaar’ channels – of which Amrish Kakkar’s (Mohnish Bahl) Headlines24 is topmost. Jay Malik (Sudeep), VHM’s son and the channel’s CEO wants money & success and when new shows’ plots and titles are blatantly leaked off to rival channels, he’s at his wit’s end. The situation is ably taken advantage of by industrialist Naveen Shankalya (Rajat Kapoor) and opposition leader Mohan Pandey (Paresh Rawal).
Thus begins a deadly and sinister game of comeuppance, within which Vijay becomes the cat’s paw and aspiring journalist Purab Shastri (Riteish Deshmukh), the unwilling spectator. To paraphrase one of the movie’s dialog: “In the quest for power, the media is bought out by the industrialists and politicians and the news is not told, but made”Ramu is a very good story-teller and has a penchant for taking his own sweet time to get to the point. But with Rann, he cuts to the chase at the outset itself, with a sweeping panoramic view of the capital city and showing how a common’ man’s day begins with his or her daily dose of news. It must have been one helluva job to create fictitious news channels names, logos and even the brands that are shown in the adverts (I noticed one Yahaa Bikes!). The celebrity names are more easier though (Samir Khan?). The channel’s position, anchor figure’s righteousness, son’s business sense, rival’s spice-it-up-ness et al are very aptly put forth.The political shenanigans and the politicians-industrialists nexus are also laid bare at the start, though only on a miniature scale.
The first jarring note comes in the form of the ill-fitting industrialist son-in-law and is followed soon after by the women. Believe it or not, this was another of those movies where the female cast has nothing to do. And no, Celina Jaitly wasn’t in it. Instead we had eminently likeable actresses such as Gul Panag and capable ones like Simone Singh, Neena Kulkarni & Neetu Chandra essaying non-roles. Only Suchitra Krishnamurthy’s role had some substance but was swiftly brought to an abrupt end. A minor annoyance for me was the faint allusions to Sarkar. There’s a dining table conversation, a father’s sense of guilt and then remorse at a death, a subordinate’s betrayal, liking for an honest & righteous politician…all of which seemed to be a message for the audience “Forget I made Agyaat and Aag…remember I gave you Sarkar!”
The background score was ok but the songs are a pain. They play in the background but are nevertheless a distraction, an unwanted one at that. Why does Ramu bother to record songs for his docu-drama movies at all is beyond me. Agreed govinda govinda and jalte raavan were useful but in Rann *all* the songs are wastrels. And pray, why the oh-so-many close-up shots? The audience is least interested in seeing the actors’ powdered noses from up close, let alone Riteish’s beard! And some of the camera angles were just bizarre! Why put the camera under a glass table? The movie also suffers from several loose ends and few unfathomable happenings.
As always, Amitabh Bachchan is the best thing in the movie and the emotional admission of his grave mistake towards the climax is a high point. The dénouement should have been more strong and fitting, rather than leaving it as an open-ended one. Riteish Deshmukh is being talked about as a revelation but I wasn’t too impressed with his confused and undecided demeanor – something that is ill-fitting on an “investigative journalist”. The guy I ‘was’ impressed with is Kannada actor Sudeep. He doesn’t get too awed at sharing screen space with Mr. Bachchan and is impressive esp. at the stressful parts. After Phoonk, Rann and Phoonk 2, he might be looking at firmly establishing himself in the RGV camp. Of the others, Rajat Kapoor, Mohnish Bahl and Paresh Rawal pull off their roles with ease but Rajpal Yaday was an eyesore.
If the movie had trimmed off the appendages and unwanted sub-plots, made a much stronger statement and upped the scale of the media’s role in ‘creating’ news, it would have made for a far better viewing. But hey, we seem to say such stuff for every movie that hits the screens. More is good but less is in no way bad. Rann doesn’t count among Ramu’s finest works but isn’t among his worst either. Hardcore Ramu fans (or if you happen to like him as a thinking director…ahem… as I do ) can watch it on the big screen. Others can wait to catch it ripped apart by the….news channels!
Moi Rating: 3/5