Rakta Charitra undertakes to enlighten the story of vengeance in two parts. Rakta Charitra 1 depicted the rise of Pratap and how he became a demigod for the poor and the exploited. The Part 2 unfolds a new story, although it's linked with Part 1. The challenge lies in making it more attention-grabbing than its precursor.
Brutality, gore and violent behaviour are indispensable attributes of Rakta Charitra 2. The story in itself is nothing more than a customary vendetta drama, but what makes you connect compellingly with the narrative is the fact that Ramgopal Varma [RGV] has treated it like he was recounting a first-hand version of what really transpired between the adversaries.
RGV is a veteran when it comes to making films on gangland or aggression and he proved his credentials in Rakta Charitra 1. Frankly, Rakta Charitra 1 wasn't a masterpiece, although it held your attention like RGV's accomplished works, mainly Satya, Company and Sarkar. However, you cannot refute the fact that RGV is a proficient storyteller. The characters in his films are passionately built and emotions are meticulously captured and there is the trademark agitation in an RGV film. Rakta Charitra 2 has it as well.
The storyline of Rakta Charitra 2 can be elucidated in a few words, but RGV takes a strong grip of each sequence and absorbs the spectator into the goings-on. The screenplay techniques and shot compositions make him poles apart from the rest of his ilk and the flashes of brilliance can be observed at several points in Rakta Charitra 2. Also, the film has a speedy pace and doesn't give you time to contemplate over the proceedings.
Final word? Much more engrossing and gripping than Rakta Charitra 1.
Surya enacts the role of Surya, who is determined to settle scores with Pratap [Vivek Oberoi]. Surya's decision to eliminate Pratap raises several questions. What was his [Surya] background, what forced him to take this extreme step, what was the driving force behind his act, was it really justified? The Part 2 is based around the conspiracy theories enveloping the elimination of Pratap.
The first part of Rakta Charitra ended up creating enthusiasm for Rakta Charitra 2. One discovered, in the final moments of Rakta Charitra 1, that vengeance had a new face and his name was Surya. The story of Rakta Charitra 2, therefore, is crucial since those unaware of what actually transpired between the two warring factions would get their answers in this part. In fact, Rakta Charitra 2 begins with a recap of the crucial moments of the first part and only after the lengthy summary concludes does the story of Rakta Charitra 2 unfold.
I genuinely feel that Rakta Charitra 2 is amongst RGV's most significant works, not only because of how well he has implemented it, but also because of the subject material. The enmity and hatred between Pratap and Surya is justified. The turning points in the tale - Surya's wife Bhawani contesting the elections and the subsequent assassination of Pratap - take the drama to a new high. The screenplay writing [Prashant Pandey] is spellbinding; it completely sucks you into the proceedings. Conversely, there are times when you feel that certain scenes are too extensive and prolonged and should've been trimmed for a stronger impact.
RGV's visual language is stimulating. His frames speak the unspoken. RGV's penchant for unusual camera angles have also come in for sharp criticism, but it makes his films stand out from the others. In fact, the cinematography in Rakta Charitra 2 [Amol Rathod] also comprises of extreme close-up shots, unusual angles, erratic movements and complete 360 degree turn. But it works wonderfully well. I've repeatedly heard people condemning RGV for going over the top or getting loud in various departments, especially when it comes to the background score. In fact, I strongly believe that the riotous background score [Dharam-Sandeep] works very well in a film of this variety.
Javed-Aejaz's action sequences are realistically gruesome with blood essentially written all over them. Splitting the throat open, stabbing the stomach and what not, everything seems so natural and so well choreographed. Being a vengeance saga, the dialogue need to stab both your mind and heart and the lines in Rakta Charitra 2 are completely in sync with the theme and temperament of the film.
Performances are unvaryingly of a high quality. Vivek Oberoi does complete justice to his character. He delivers an equally powerful performance in the second installment. But the focus is on South superstar Surya in Rakta Charitra 2. He delivers, without doubt, one of the most aggressive and forceful performances Hindi cinema has witnessed this year. I am sure, Surya will woo not just his Tamil fans with his tremendous performance, but also find a new audience base with Rakta Charitra 2: The Hindi movie-going audience. Southern superstar Surya is a welcome addition to the ranks of A-list heroes in the Hindi film industry.
Shatrughan Sinha doesn't really get much screen time in Rakta Charitra 2. Sudeep, who didn't have much to do in Rakta Charitra 1, is in top form now. Priyamani [as Bhawani, Surya's wife] is first-rate, while Radhika Apte is superb in the sequence when she confronts Vivek. Zarina Wahab gets limited scope in this part. Anupam Shyam is satisfactory.
On the whole, Rakta Charitra 2 highlights the emotion called vengeance most convincingly. It is chilling, raw, revolting, crass and ghastly, the kind that is meant to repulse you. But let's face it: It's a true depiction of human emotions. It's a film which is easy to devour if you can absorb brutality. It is for those who don't wince easy. But I'd say, watch it for its audacity and valour. Watch it to experience the work of a rebellious film-maker who never takes a break from telling an innovative story in film after film.
Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Cast: Vivek Oberoi, Shatrughan Sinha, Surya, Priyamani, Zarina Wahab, Anupam Shyam