December 03, 2010 Y. Sunita Chowdary
The first part of Rakta Charitra wound up with the last few scenes showing Pratap Ravi growing in political stature and as an unassailable leader. It also left the audiences asking for an immediate continuation of the sequel and here it arrives but sadly most of the moviegoers have lost connect because of the gap, and it takes a while to refresh memories. Catching up with where you left is not the same as seeing a story end completely.
Well, to put the second part in a nut shell, the Chief Minister of the Praja Desam Party refuses to support Pratap Ravi, in vanquishing his enemy Surya (Surya), who is beginning to become a major irritant in the ministry and also with intelligence reports predicting the government's downfall in the ensuing Assembly elections. Winning an election is important for Pratap Ravi and he makes umpteen attempts to kill Surya in the jail while the latter is seething with revenge and discontent.
Pratap Ravi has been let off in the TV bomb case due to lack of proof and Surya has been jailed for attempting to blow him in a car. Now the rest of the story is about the poetic justice, an answer to death is by death. Instead of ending the film on this note the filmmaker falters in justifying their killings and saying that no person is good or bad, it's the situations that drive them into the action.
While the first part glorified Pratap Ravi and his intention in killing his adversaries, here the epilogue has the cop warning Surya and giving an example of Pratap Ravi's motives and how a revenge never ends and one ends up getting sucked in factionism and political killings. The cop tells Surya that Pratap Ravi never was the cause of the TV blast and this was revealed to him by Pratap's wife Nandini.
Surya on the other hand tells the cop that now that he has avenged the killing of his family, he will not go further and become a Pratap Ravi. So far so good, wish we could have another film on those people who are no way directly related but have laid down their lives for their leaders in the name of loyalty. Contrary to this line, there is an interesting insight by Ram Gopal Varma on this, on one occasion when Surya is plotting to kill Pratap Ravi, he tells his man that a body guard is meant to be there for protecting a live person and not to lay down his life for a dead man.
In Rakta Charitra 2, one gets to see not blood shed or anything that would evoke horror or disgust but, the director makes the victim, Surya express his angst through his eyes alone leaving the audiences to feel and fathom, how gruesome the act and it's intensity, the impact had been. His magnetism, his eyes keeps the enterprise on tracks.
Nevertheless, RGV brings boredom in trying to heighten the impact and building the tempo during the walk from the entrance to the inside of the court focusing a bit too much on Sudeep. Sudeep greets Surya in the jail towards the last few minutes of the film - "Hats off to you, you've done something which we couldn't." While these issues are touched upon, they're never fully explored, and that undermines the sense of greatness to which this movie obviously aspires.
The cast has been perfectly picked, Surya is apt and so is Bhavani played by Priyamani. But apart from resemblance to Bhanumati, there is nothing that we know about her in this film, to show her contribution to the story. Any other actress could have done that role, if not the silent dignity with which she bore Surya's absence from her life.
As far as a woman's role in faction struggle is concerned we get to see another side of the women. Nandini admitting that she was wrong in interfering in the decisions taken by Pratap Ravi. A woman can have as much of say in the running of the house but she will always remain a novice in understanding politics.
The cinematography is not over powering, it is in sync with the content lets the narrative flow freely. Ram Gopal Varma's voice over states that this sequel to the anti-establishment story set in Rayalaseema that stoked the passions of two families whose lives were based on Suri and Paritala Ravindra is not about blood, violence but strong emotions and he remains committed to it. He leaves the film with a message that has enough attitude to appease the masses. Watch Rakta Charitra without expectations and an indifference, you wouldn't find too many faults.