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Cry and Die: SarKar Raj Friday, 17 April, 2009

Posted by ~uh~™ in Bollywood.
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Cry & Die

Those who have read my FAQs on RGV ka Aag, might be aware of my close candid relationship with RGV. Whenever RGV is done with his latest experiment I am there to experience it. Thus, as soon as Sarkar Raj was released, I went to watch it with obvious & high expectations, generated from its prequel Sarkar & inspiration, The Godfather & Enron. So, we met again at the abandoned factory, after sundown, over a drink. We chatted for some two & a half hours about the movie. Let me present you the excerpts of the enlightening discussion. When I discuss with RGV mostly all stones are unturned, hence there would be worms & spoilers for the careful readers. Read at your own risk.

Me: Clearly Sarkar Raj is highly influenced & inspired by the Enron Issue & The Godfather. Is there any other factor you were driven by?

RGV: You are right. I also wanted to bring the Bachchan family together on screen after the marriage of Abhi-Aish. That was a very compelling reason.

Me: Was there any script to start with? Noting it was a sequel of Sarkar which ended with lot of promise.

RGV: Oh sure! There was one indeed by Prashant Pandey which was very crisp, full of twist, turns & suspense drama. Unfortunately, my office ran out of toilet paper & accidentally many of the pages went missing! Mysterious, I must say. We did not have much time to fill the gaps in the story so we added few blasts, murders & killed most of the characters. See, the best way to end a suspense crime drama is to kill everyone- example Kill Bill, Last Man standing. However we were unsure whether the audience would be able to decipher the suspense & the twists, so we had Amitabh to narrate the whole story at the end. Though we were sure, by the time the audience with average IQ would able to bridge the missing links we would kill the remaining characters & end the movie…………..*laughs hysterically*

Me: You are a mean guy! What about the cast? I tend to believe you have successfully gathered all the honed baddies of silver screen.

RGV: That was one huge accomplishment. Ravi Kale as Chander had to be there as he was not killed in Sarkar. After we killed Zakir Hussain in Sarkar, I had to bring the next best ones- Govind Namdeo, Sayaji Shinde & Upendra Limaye. These guys have been unusually crooked in Satya, Shool & I don’t know exactly what Upendra did as a lame beggar in Traffic Signal….. . Then there was this guy as a sidekick of Shankar, who was exceptional in looking stone cold (after Aishwarya), so we did not give any dialogue to him. All he had to do is stare without batting his eyelids for once.

Me: Honestly, I see a lot of experimentation with the camera & cinematography. Was this intentional?

RGV: You remember we had a discussion about one of the broken tripod during the shooting of Aag? We had to place the camera on floor in the film to show an ‘ant’s eye view’ to the audience. This time another tripod broke. So we innovated & tied the cameras to a cat & a crow respectively. You will see lot of camerawork under the pajamas, top of the head & sudden & drastic change in the angles. It was going quite well till the cat & the crow started chasing & fighting with each other. Fortunately, the accidental output was not bad in the dark, so we decided to retain the portion unedited on the movie. You must have enjoyed it.

Me: Quite unique but understandable. But tell me; was it absolutely necessary to show the close-up of ears, nostrils, eyebrows, lips & other parts of the face of ALL the characters?

RGV: It was pretty obvious. We didn’t retain the costumes of Sarkar, except few suits, jazzy shirts for Qazi & the black kurta of Sarkar. If you notice 80% of the shots are extreme close-ups. We were unable to provide costumes for all the characters. We had to only focus on the faces of the characters while they were on their own dress.

Me: Hmmmm….. Buy why do you take ‘dark movie’ is the literal sense? Many of the scenes are just so dark we can’t see anyone on the screen except a zero watt bulb. And that melancholic loud background tune of the flute, seemed as if chewing gums are stuck on few of it’s holes. Honestly, since Nishabd that heavy, gloomy background score is more suffocating than putting popcorns inside our nostrils. I have experimented.

RGV: You are highlighting the obvious. We did not have any lightman this time. The night shots were done using a 1.5V pencil torch. It saved us lots of Electricity bills & that money was used to bring chai for the crew. We have indeed broken the monotony of the flute tunes by the Govinda…govinda… govinda…govinda…chant, which is currently by the Bachchans while they gurgle with Betadine syrup.

Me: Chai ……aaah! That reminds me, why everyone seems to drink only & only tea in cups, saucers, patilas, mugs, jugs & any container whatsoever? Even the last dialogue of the movie is ‘ek cup chai lana’ to the audience?

RGV: I wanted to promote tea as the official drink of the underworld. It’s a completely wrong belief that criminals & corrupt politicians plan their twisted motive over scotch whiskeys. Teas, when drunk in sufficient quantities have evil powers too. We wanted the audience to participate in the tea drinking celebration, hence the last dialogue.

Me: Certain observations on the supporting roles- Supriya Pathak is too fat & dumb to be Sarkar’s wife, Victor Banerjee looks too untidy & poorly dressed as owner of Sheppard Power Plant, Aishwarya sheds too much tears as a go getter CEO, Dilip Prabhavalkar has lots of irrelevant dialogues, Rajesh Shringarpore very impressive as Sanjay Somji, drinks huge quantities of bottled water !

RGV: Supriya Pathak is good in making idlis. Victor’s suits had to be duller than Abhisake’s. If you notice Abhisake wore great fabrics throughout the movie. In fact, here’s not a single scene where Abhisake is without a suit. Aishwarya overused glycerin at her own cost, Dilip is yet to come out of the Gandhiji mode. Somji’s character was meant to be power-thirsty, so we asked him to drink 3 litres of water per screen presence a symbolic representation.

Me: Like Marlon Brando kept marbles in his mouth while speaking in The Godfather, did you do anything special for your cast in Sarkar Raj ?

RGV: Not much. We have asked most of the baddie characters to stare in a stone cold manner without moving there eyelids for hours. The rest was done by the camera & Govinda…govinda… govinda…govinda…chant. Oh yes, we drew a line above the lips of Govind Namdeo with a marker to make him the Hasan Qazi character.

Me: You wanted to make a drop dead serious cinema, so why did Limaye sang that “ghapuchhi ghapuchi gam gam” in a formal party by Sheppard chiefs ?

RGV: No idea, I asked him to pick a Gujrati song, was it Gujrati ?

Me: Between Amitabh & Abhisake, both has almost equal screen presence, but still there’s a subtle sense of superiority & dominance by Big B, which was prominent in the last scene.

RGV: Yes of course. Note while Abhisake had Tanisha Mukherjee as wife & Aishwarya as a love interest, Amitabh only had rounded Supriya Pathak & her idlis (no pun intended).

Me: One last question. You haven’t shown the face of the hired killer, who’s gloved fingers were shown only. Are we supposed to believe that was cameo appearance of you?

RGV: (laughs out loud)…….keep guessing…Cheers !

ps: I still believe, shooting in a dark room with an awkward camera focusing a nose & playing somber music in the background doesn’t make a dark movie. of a movie, fancy dialogues & one-liners may create some moment but to be a memorable movie a strong script is still needed as the backbone.

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