Rann Review – RGV Rises from the Grave

Hear, hear, that loudmouth Ram Gopal Varma, whom we’d all given up for dead after a bunch of utterly crappy films, has risen from the dead with his new film Rann.

Yes, we think Ramu or Gopu or whatever moniker the bozo’s known by these days has managed to put out a watchable film this time compared to some of his recent offal like Sarkar, Sarkar Raj and RGV Ki Aag that we’ve had the misfortune to see.

Despite the presence of that irritating buffoon and non-actor Riteish Deshmukh, who goes about the entire movie with the pained look of a constipated man desperately searching for his bowel-relaxing laxatives, Rann is a tolerable film.

Media Under Fire

In Rann, RGV has the media in his cross-hairs and paints a dark picture of the source of our news.

But it’s too dark and one-sided a view. And that’s one of the weaknesses of the film.

In the RGV universe, media-folks are – here, take your pick – either hopelessly corrupt and in bed with the politicians/big industrialists or utterly naive.

And the politicians are ugly, murderous caricatures, who’ll stoop to any extent in their desperate grab for power and high office.

There are, of course, notable and honorable exceptions like the respected journalist Vijay Harshwardhan Malik and the idealistic Purabh Shastri. The first played by Amitabh Bachchan and the latter by Riteish ‘Mr.Constipated’ Deshmukh.

Here’s the story in a nutshell. The TV channel owned by the upright anchor and journalist Vijay Harshwardhan Malik (Amitabh Bachchan) is in dire straits with advertisers fleeing, ratings falling and, adding to the woes, a rival channel run by a former employee is riding the crest.

At this critical moment for the channel, Vijay’s son Jay (played with considerable elan by Sudeep) and his brother-law-Naveen (Rajat Kapoor) in cahoots with a ruthless politician Mohan Pandey (Paresh Rawal) embark on a high-stakes, dangerous and deadly game, mindless of the legal or moral ramifications. Each member in the cabal is pursuing his life’s ambition. Naveen is itching to become the #1 industrialist, Mohan Pandey yearns to become the Prime Minister and Jay is desperate to boost the fortunes of his father’s TV channel.

The limitations of its simplistic look at the media in the Internet age notwithstanding, the Rann story does manage to hold your attention although you know how it’ll all end ultimately.

The story proceeds at a brisk pace but there are hardly any surprises.

What we liked most about Rann was the opportunity to see some decent acting, a rarity in Indian films.

Kannada film star Sudeep, Paresh Rawal, Mohnish Behl, Rajpal Yadav and Rajat Kapoor were all impressive although Paresh Rawal’s character was the stereotypical politician with over the top clownish behavior. Amitabh Bachchan was adequate.

But with most Indian critics slamming this movie, it’s doubtful if Rann can create waves at the box office.

Be that as it may, Rann could well mark the first fateful step in RGV’s redemption since his fall from grace.

Related Stories:
Box Office: RGV’s Rann Screwed; Ishqiya Saved

12 Responses to "Rann Review – RGV Rises from the Grave"

  1. guruprasad.s   January 31, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Rann was panned by most reviewers in India. Some of the reasons quoted were:

    1. Poor story, and some low-on-logic events in the movie like (a) the chief of a TV channel airing something without verifying it, (b) the opposition leader becoming PM rather conveniently

    2. Black and white characters, highly caricaturish in portrayal.

    3. Poor acting except Amitabh and Ritesh.

    After Aag and Sarkar Raj, I was wary of factors 1 and 2.

    However, I found it difficult to believe that the cast in Rann has not put in good performance.
    You can bank on Amitabh to do a good job.

    However, I am one of those who believe that Ritesh Deshmukh is incapable of acting, and he is there because his name also consists of something other than Ritesh.

    But Paresh Rawal and Rajat Kapoor can always be expected to bring in some class, even if their characters are poorly written.

    That brings us to Mohish Behl, who definitely has talent that has not been harnessed in the past.
    Note that Monish Behl is the son of yesteryear actor Nutan, who was one of the best all-time female actors in Hindi movies. You have to watch Bandhini, Seema and Sujata to realize this. A few shades better than Tabu perhaps.

    I have seen Sudeep in some Kannada movies, and he has got some acting skills.

    So, I found it difficult to believe that the movie is low on acting skills.
    Now I am going to watch this one.

    Rajat Kapoor has done fine work in Corporate (2006), which also has K K Menon and Raj Babbar in good form. A watchable movie indeed.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. One reason for the Indian media panning Rann could be because the movie portrays news organizations in a poor light.

    If low-on-logic ranks that high as a bugbear for Indian critics, no Indian movie should count given that a director of a top engineering college behaves like a crackpot (3 Idiots) not to forget that in the blink of an eye our stars are singing and dancing in Switzerland, Iceland (lately), Malaysia, Namibia et al in between in countless films.

    Hopefully, Rann will mark the beginning of RGV’s comeback to form.

    2. You write: However, I am one of those who believe that Ritesh Deshmukh is incapable of acting,

    We agree 100%. Even if he’s given a million years, Riteish Deshmukh can’t deliver on the acting thing.

    Except Riteish Deshmukh, the others did their jobs with aplomb.

    Sudeep definitely is a decent actor. This is the first time we saw him on the screen.

    3. Note: For some reason, your comment is going into the spam folder. Although you posted this comment at 11:30AM ET, we saw it only at 11:58PM because we seldom check the spam tab.

    • shilpa.s   February 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm

      testing my new spam theory

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Didn’t go to spam folder.

      Could be the IP address or some keywords that trigger the spam reflex.

  2. sam   January 31, 2010 at 11:02 pm


    Nice to hear some gud words from you for an RGV film.

    Was expecting you to bash him up as usual! Lucky that both the films released this year Ishqiya and Rann are above average.

    BTW Anupama Chopra blasted Rann in her review for NDTV.

    [Deleted because it was a lengthy reproduction of the review]

    And we saw her smiling away endlessly yesterday as Star Screen Awards was aired on TV. (3 idiots got 3 main Awards)

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. You write: Was expecting you to bash him up as usual!

    Why would we do such a thing when the film was not bad.

    2. BTW, it’s alright to provide a few sentences excerpt from another review but NOT a 10-paragraph reproduction.

  3. shuaib68   February 1, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Offtopic: Hey SI, I just tumbled upon a funny but very interesting article. I thought of sharing it with you guys.

    “Solving a mystery: do Asians have a sense of humor?” by Nury Vittachi

    Here are some excerpts:
    …”Time to consult an expert. I phoned Wang Daiyu, a devout Chinese Muslim (there are more Muslims in China than in Saudi Arabia). “Are Muslims funny?” I asked. He replied: “Asking that question triggers an automatic fatwa. How would you like to die?”

    …He pointed out that the famous Nasruddin jokes are 800 years old. And he gave me an example of a Muslim joke said to come from the 9th century.

    This is it: A man who claimed to be God was brought before the Caliph (leader). The Caliph said to him: “Before you open your mouth, let me give you a warning. Last year, a man turned up claiming to be a prophet sent by the Almighty, and we put him to death.” The man nodded. “You did the right thing. I didn’t send him.”

    SearchIndia.com Responds:


    But we think the best jokes are the offensive kind, the ones that needle some group/individual/religion.

    Let’s see what Asia/Islamic jokes they put up tomorrow.

  4. amitshetty   February 2, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Rann failed at box-office because of these factors
    1.People in India are angry at RGV because of Sarkar and Aag crap.
    2.Rann’s marketing strategy was very poor.
    3.Indian critics panning the film.
    But I must say Rann is good movie.If RGV sticks to his forte (reality cinema) rather than commercial entertainers or stupid copy of hollywood films then it is better for him.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: Rann failed at box-office because of these factors…..Rann’s marketing strategy was very poor.

    Future historians will probably posit that the only contribution Aamir Khan made to the Indian movie business is in highlighting the importance of marketing and creating buzz for crap.

  5. guruprasad.s   February 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I watched the movie Rann and found it quite OK.
    Story and screenplay wise, it could have been better, but the performances help in keeping your attention away from those shortcomings.
    Monish Behl and Sudeep are good in particular, and though Sudeep’s Hindi with a south Indian accent was a minor irritant, his body language and voice really brought the character of Jai Malik alive.
    I am glad that Abhishek Bachchan wasnt chosen for the role of Jai Malik.
    Rajat Kapoor has too small a role, while Paresh Rawal’s character could have been a bit more suave even for a politician.
    Amitabh Bachchan was needed, perhaps, to lend credibility to the character of Vijay Malik, and for his star power. He does both well enough.
    Ritesh Deshmukh was at best, earnest.

    I found that the movie is certainly not as bad as mode out by film reviewers in India Sukanya Verma of rediff.com, Rajeev Masand’s of Masand’s verdict, and Mayank Shekhar have been uniform in their criticism of the movie, and argue that Rann is poorly researched.
    It appears that the criterion of ‘research’ is applicable only to movies which claim to have a link to reality, whereas critics do not apply the ‘well researched’ condition to regular commercial movies.
    True, Rann does not come across as raw or as honest as Satya, but is watchable nevertheless.

    On a different note:
    I sometimes start typing my comment, and leave it unfinished.
    I come back after a few hours and then finish and upload the comment.
    Has this got any thing to do with the comment going to spam folder (like a time-out, although the login remains alive even after several hours) ?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Sorry for the delay in processing your comment. Both your comments went into the spam folder. Have no clue why.

    We’re now training ourselves to check the spam folder too.

    2. You write: I am glad that Abhishek Bachchan wasn’t chosen for the role of Jai Malik.

    A million thanks for that.

    3. You write: It appears that the criterion of ‘research’ is applicable only to movies which claim to have a link to reality, whereas critics do not apply the ‘well researched’ condition to regular commercial movies.

    Very good point.

  6. ajayrocks   February 5, 2010 at 5:29 am


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Watched it. Thanks.

    Now, can we have Delhi for the NRIs please?

    Our logic is that many of the rulers of Delhi (both past and present) were originally foreigners. 😉

    You folks can move to Noida or Ghaziabad.

  7. ajayrocks   February 5, 2010 at 10:03 am

    ahahahha why not 😛

    shiv sena and mns,both the parties are bunch of fools but man i just love rajdeep sardesai [the reporter in the video]

    he was fearless and asked everything straight.he is by far the best indian news reporter/journalist

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Rajdeep is good. Tough cookie.

    We like Rajdeep better than Arnab.

    2. You write: shiv sena and mns,both the parties are bunch of fools


    Just because Shiv Sena fared badly in an election doesn’t make them fools.

    Their aggressive rhetoric is a well-thought out gameplan. Whether it’ll pay dividends only time will tell.

    Kiddo, much as you may find the behavior of Shiv Sena or MNS leaders obnoxious bear in mind that politics at the higher echelons is not a game played by fools.

  8. ajayrocks   February 6, 2010 at 2:22 am

    yup,arnab is too opinionated.

    what i meant by fools are not that they are stupid but i said in the reference to what their speeches are. I mean they are clearly dividing the people and i hate their communal agenda

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    The communal agenda works because a lot of Indians are communal.

    The BJP, Shiv Sena and MNS wouldn’t exist but for the strong anti-Muslim feelings of tens of millions of the Cow-ca-cola drinking Hindus in India.

    Politicians often tap into the existing fault lines among the people/electorate along religion, regional and language lines and stoke the flames.

  9. ajayrocks   February 6, 2010 at 4:33 am

    yeah people do get brainwashed but i was specifically pointing towards their hatred towards north indians cause u see they pretend to represent marathi manoos but in reality even the maharashtrain people themselves don’t have such feelings.

    and above all they have double standards.they just bark but i haven’t seen anything of substance being dont by them to improve any prob in maharashtra

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Since the Shiv Sena has lost the elections, they are desperate and will do anything to stay in the limelight.

    2. You write: but i was specifically pointing towards their hatred towards north indians

    Their anti-North Indian, anti-Bihar views are relatively new but the Shiv Sena’s anti-South Indian hate rhetoric is decades old.

  10. ajayrocks   February 6, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Yeah thats what i hate.I mean north indians or south.

    Doesn’t matter what matters is that they are trying to create a divide

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    As we’ve said earlier, politician don’t create a divide as much as exploit pre-existing divides among the people.

    Given the Hobbesian struggle for survival in India for millions, it’s no surprise there’s so much simmering hate between people that flares up into severe violence at a spark.

  11. sganeshkumar1989   February 7, 2010 at 3:11 am

    I would like you to review ‘The Insider’ (*ing Russell Crowe and Al Pacino).A movie with good-research work done on how the corporates try to muzzle/bribe the media from speaking the truth(Based on a True Story),using some really unfair means(Like tarnishing the reputation of a former executive Russell Crowe,who promised to reveal the truth in an Interview for Al Pacino’s show.)

    A bit slow,still works well due to fine performances from my favorite actors and a fresh plot.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Will watch the Insider. Looks interesting.

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