Ramgopal Varma is itching to tell a new story in his movies. You may garland him for his efforts or loathe him if you feel letdown, but you need to hand it to him for picking up stories that defy stereotype. This time, in RANN, the maverick film-maker does an expose on the games the heavyweights in the media play to further their interests. RGV goes into the newsrooms and also behind it and throws light on the politician-industrialist-media nexus. Also, it’s an insider’s account of how news channels that are greedy for ratings sensationalize stories to grab eyeballs. On surface, you don’t want to know what goes behind the scenes and how, at times, news are ‘created’ by vested interests. But RANN scratches the surface and opens a can of worms. RANN also mirrors the fact that just like there are good and bad people in every field, there’re some rotten ones in the media too who succumb to temptations and create news to climb the ladder of success. RANN is a serious film and RGV knows what he’s talking this time. It wouldn’t be erroneous to state that you recall RGV’s SARKAR while watching RANN, even though the two films are as diverse as chalk and cheese. You recall SARKAR because RANN is an equally powerful film that shows a world we’ve only seen from the exterior. RANN is for those who enjoy serious cinema. It’s more for the intelligentsia, for the thinking viewer. Definitely not for those who seek refuge in frivolous masala capers. Vijay Harshvardhan Malik [Amitabh Bachchan] is the founder of a private news channel, India 24/7. A hardcore upholder of journalistic ethics, his channel is battling for survival. Jay [Sudeep], his son, looks at his father’s news channel purely as a business enterprise that must make profits to justify its existence. He hates that his competition [Mohnish Bahl] is doing better than him. The story takes a turn when a corrupt politician, Mohan Pandey [Paresh Rawal], decides to use the channel to his advantage by using Vijay’s son-in-law Navin [Rajat Kapoor]. Pandey aspires to be the Prime Minister and indulges in a vicious campaign against his political opponent. Navin is the most insecure man on earth and won’t rest till he becomes the number one industrialist in the country. He, in turn, involves his brother-in-law Jay in Pandey’s game plan. A film like RANN would fall into the pit if [i] its writing wouldn’t be razor-sharp and [ii] the choice of actors would be incompetent. RGV’s movies, generally, are embellished with competent actors who deliver super performances. In this film, every member of the cast shines in his/her role, the length of the role notwithstanding. The writing is watertight and convincing. Besides, the subject matter has been presented in the most simplistic manner, which makes it easy to decipher. However, the episode showing Riteish’s investigation tends to get confusing at one point, but the climax compensates for the minor hiccups here and there. Amit Roy’s cinematography is eye-catching. Dialogues are power-packed. In fact, one can identify with the well-penned dialogues. The background score plays a crucial role. It heightens the impact of various scenes. Amitabh Bachchan is spectacular yet again, especially towards the finale. His speech and the way he delivers it are remarkable. Sudeep is terrific. To stand up to giants like Bachchan and Paresh Rawal is no mean achievement. Riteish is only getting better and better with every film. In fact, he surprises you constantly. Paresh Rawal, seen in an RGV film after a long, long time, is at his vicious best. Rajat Kapoor is incredible. Mohnish Bahl gets the role of a lifetime and he sinks his teeth into it. This film should open new vistas for him. Gul Panag is natural and so easy on the eyes. Neetu Chandra does her part well. Suchitra Krishnamoorthy is too good. Rajpal Yadav contributes to some funny moments. Neena Kulkarni and Simone Singh are perfect for their parts.
On the whole, RANN is truly a well-made film. No two opinions on that. The film should be patronised by viewers of serious, sensible cinema. Recommended!