Rann: Movie Review
To be honest (like the film demands), Rann is not a new story but the news battle setting saves it from getting run-of-the-mill. Rather than a story designed around the media world, Rann is more of the clichéd corrupt politician chronicle (that Bollywood has been narrating since ages) set on the backdrop of the broadcasting business.
In fact the basic scenario of drama for this Ram Gopal Varma film comes close to his own Sarkar through the trio of a principled patriarch (Amitabh Bachchan), his debauched son (Sudeep) and the righteous and more deserving descendant (Riteish Deshmukh).
Rann tries to be too idealistic right from its ethical news channel head Vijay Harshvardhan Malik (Bachchan) to the trustworthy politician (K K Raina), all of which have become rare species in real life. Malik’s concerns are correct as he believes in reporting news in an era when every rival channel is resorting to creating news. Son Jai Malik (Sudeep) is disillusioned with father’s morals that are leading their channel nowhere.
As commercial corruption seeps in, Jai, through the medium of his channel, conspires against the ruling Prime Minister to make way for the opposition leader Mohan Pandey (Paresh Rawal). While Vijay is oblivious to the entire conspiracy, his channel’s lead reporter Purab (Riteish) takes it upon himself to investigate the truth.
Rann starts off impressively, right from its opening credits, showing contemporary newsreel montages edited to a spooky effect, more symbolic of RGV’s horror flicks. The idea is to highlight the real horror that’s haunting humans – sensationalism by media houses. The commercialism of coverage is effectively portrayed in a scene where a news channel anchor (Rajpal Yadav) confides in a feature filmmaker (Gul Panag) saying they are doing the same job – making movies and entertaining the audience. Especially hilarious is the sequence emphasizing media’s selective hearing approach where facts are cut out on the editing table for formula.
But the authentic setting can’t camouflage the conventionalism in the storytelling. Though writer Rohit Banawlikar pens some intense dramatic sequences which are deftly directed by Ram Gopal Varma, Rann relies on a very predictable plot. The treatment is suggestive of several Madhur Bhandarkar films from Corporate to Satta and the climactic twist clearly comes close to that of Page 3 . Further the film opts for the most conservative and convenient culmination with a sting operation in the climax.
The predictability could have been prevented by tweaking the film into a thriller format but seems like Ramu wanted to uphold the essence and genre to drama. In that respect the dialogues add depth to the narrative, notably amongst which is Amitabh Bachchan’s dramatic discourse in the last reel that, pretty much like the climax of Baghban , makes up for the predictability of the plot. An exceptional line from it says ‘ media ka lakshya khabre hai aur madhayam paisa ’ (the aim of media is to spread news through the medium of money). But contrarily, today, the aim of media has turned into making money through the medium of news.
Through his trademark technician team of cinematographer Amit Roy and editor Nipun Gupta, Ram Gopal Varma employs standard Sarkar styled shot-takings to intensify the drama. Though the erratic camera angles and close-up frames have its effect, at times its rotating movements tend to spin your head. The music is thankfully restricted only to the background and the lyrics are spin-off on popular election slogans.
Amitabh Bachchan adds dignity and grace to his character and performance. Riteish Deshmukh’s switch to serious role is sober but the scope of his character is restricted in everything from his expressions to looks. Comparatively Sudeep gets more range and runtime and Ramu extracts the same intensity and expressions from him like he derived from the late South actor Raghuvaran, two decades back in Shiva . It’s a pleasant change to see Paresh Rawal intermittently go back to his negative act after his typecast comedy characters. Rajat Kapoor maintains his poise. Mohnish Behl is efficient. Rajpal Yadav’s character gives him ample scope to display histrionics, something he can’t do away with anyways. Neetu Chandra is appealing and Gul Panag is adequate.
The film does run out of steam, sporadically, in the second half but otherwise Rann is a riveting drama.