Power equations, strained relations, the murky tactics of politics and bitterly-fought elections ... Prakash Jha claims to offer all these in his much-awaited political thriller Rajneeti, which releases Friday.
A behind-the-scenes look at politics, scandals and much more, the film stars Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn, Manoj Bajpai, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Sarah Thompson. Arjun Rampal too plays a pivotal role in the movie.
"Rajneeti is not a dry political drama... At an edited length of about three hours, we want viewers to be glued to the edge of their seats," Jha said.
"I just want people to get entertained. We want to be awarded and rewarded for this film. I have no intention to teach or preach...," he added.
Produced by UTV for around $21 million (Rs.98 crore), the movie is being distributed by Prakash Jha Productions, Walkwater Media and UTV Motion Pictures with over 2,100 prints worldwide.
Shot in Bhopal, Rajneeti 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 the conflict-ridden characters in the movie unfolds against the gritty backdrop of politics, love and friendship become baits and relationships get sacrificed at the altar of political alignments.
The darkness that rises from their souls threaten to envelop 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 and looks at politics and beyond.
"Rajneeti has different meanings and that is what has been shown in the film. It is about the political mentality and manipulations. It is about the belief that victory is the only option...no matter at what cost," said Jha.
The music of the movie is already a hit, especially the track Mora piya.
The movie has had its share of controversies too. It was first denied a certificate by the censor board for Katrina's character having a resemblance to Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi.
Jha, however, dismissed the allegation saying that the movie is actually a modern re-telling of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
Some intimate scenes and excessive violence were also removed before the film was given a U/A censor certificate.
Rajneeti will also be screened at the upcoming International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards starting June 3 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Being a solo release at the box office this weekend and with the amount of buzz it has generated, this one sure looks like a winner at the ticket windows.