Written by: Rohit G. Banawlikar with lyrics by Sarim Momin, Prashant Pandey, Sandip Singh & Vayu
Directed by: Ram Gopal Varma
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Mohnish Bahl, Paresh Rawal, Gul Panag
Rann is produced and directed by Ram Gopal Varma (RGV), coming in after the disastrous Agyaat. Rann is a hard hitting take on the prevalent media, journalism and political system in India. It has a plethora of actors playing vital roles in the movie and it does sufficient justice to its theme. RGV seems to be completely in his element here and this movie is surely an engrossing affair.
The story revolves around two news channels vying for the top spot in viewership and TRPs (Target or Television Rating Points). India 24X7 is headed by the morally upright Vijay Mallik (Amitabh Bachchan), who believes in getting the plain truth out to his audience. His news channel is in need of sponsors and money as they are losing viewership...given the fact that they don't focus much on news sensationalism. He is supported by his son, Jay Mallik (Sudeep), who believes the news channel should be a source of good money irrespective of the correctness and truthfulness of the news being broadcasted. The other channel is Headlines 24X7, headed by Amrish (Monish Bhel), which believes more in making profits through sensationalism. In a desperate attempt to get his channel to gain more popularity and make money, Jay enlists the help of his industrialist brother-in-law, Naveen (Rajat Kapoor), and the corrupt opposition party leader with a criminal track record, Mohan Pandey (Paresh Rawal), to wrongfully accuse and charge the Prime Minister of masterminding a bombing--accomplishing this through news on his channel showing tampered evidence.
The story is interesting and gripping. This is an excellent take on the prevalence of news channels in India, the way news are sensationalised, how politicians and the channels depend on one another for their growth, the rampant corruption and how people divulge out sensitive information from one channel to other for money. RVG is back to doing what he does best: getting superlative performances from his cast using a solid story which he directs extremely well. Yes, you also have his trademark camera angles all through the movie. However, it does get annoying towards the climax during Amitabh's speech, and ends up taking out some of the impact of the speech! And yes, the movie does get a bit preachy towards the end, throwing up questions on the conscience of the people working for news channels. But till then, the screenplay ensures there is not a dull moment with several twists.
Coming to performances, Amitabh Bachchan does well (that's the least we can expect from him). He makes his presence felt, given the screen time and the role, he does complete justice to the role. Sudeep (a well known actor from the Kannada Film Industry) as his arrogant money minded son gives a good performance; he stands up on his own sharing screen with Amitabh and other proven actors. His dialogue delivery is worth mentioning: coming from down south, he does ensure his Hindi is apt and there are no hiccups there. Paresh Rawal is menacing as the corrupt criminal minded opposition party leader, and the role should have been a cakewalk for him given the number of similar roles he has played before. Nevertheless he adds his own dimension to the part. Ritesh Deshmukh underplays his part of the upright journalist; his dialogues are limited but a whole lot is communicated through his body language (an RGV trademark), and he performs admirably.
Monish Bhel springs in a surprise! His showing is excellent and he has one of the powerful scenes in the movie towards the climax--his screen time is limited, but he delivers. Neetu Chandra and Gul Panag as Jay Mallik's and Purab's girlfriends respectively add glamour to the proceedings. Rajpal Yadav does manage to get a few laughs from his on-screen antics. Rajat Kapoor as the business man brother-in-law also brings much to the table.
There are quite a few songs played in the background. Nothing much to write about the music--however the lyrics take a dig at the politicians, rampant corruption, news channels, ordinary citizens and they do add to the impact of the script. Overall, it's a good story line with multiple targets that asks hard questions and delivers with some good performances and apt direction. Surely worth a watch if you've liked RGV's previous works as it has his stamp all over it.