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BULLETT RAJA - With only a few engaging moments in the first half, this is the weakest film from the director unexpectedly. (Review By Bobby Sing)

29 Nov, 2013 | Movie Reviews / 2013 Releases

When a director like Tigmanshu Dhulia makes his first film, he follows his own vision, guts and dream coming up with a real gem as HAASIL (2003). With the next few films he continues the same path featuring some talented actors as in CHARAS (2004) & SHAGIRD (2011) till success comes knocking at his doors with many awards and recognition post the realistic gem PAAN SINGH TOMAR (2012). The good times continue with an average grosser series of SAHIB BIWI AUR GANGSTER and another award winning performance in GANGS OF WASSEYPUR series makes many heads turn with the changing times. Now in this new phase of success, the name of this talented director makes a way and reaches big production houses and the big stars, who then call him to direct a specific project for them as per their own requirements. And this is exactly where the problem begins, when the so called ‘Star-System’ enters into the game, clearly visible in Tigmanshu’s latest flick BULLETT RAJA which happens to be the weakest film from the director unexpectedly.
BR begins on a very uninspiring note unlike director’s previous films and when one gets to see an item song within the first 10 minutes only all of a sudden, it becomes pretty clear that this has not been made as per the exact vision of the person behind films like HAASIL, CHARAS, SHAGIRD and PAAN SINGH TOMAR. Yes, BULLETT RAJA too has got a part of that raw, unforgiving and realistic Tigmanshu feel in its initial moments using the local dialect and settings. But an all predictable screenplay & sloppy editing actually plays the main spoilt sport here wherein things keep happening too easily for the main lead and therefore their journey of becoming ‘Political Commandos” from the common man largely remains less impressive and unconvincing.
Still the film does have some irregular engaging moments arising out of its well written enjoyable dialogues in the first half, along with few poor songs. But once many of its notable characters vanish altogether as per the story progression, it all becomes quite dull and the film falls drastically post intermission having nothing new to serve other than the usual revenge drama. To save it from sinking further, the writers bring in a fresh character of Vidyut Jammwal in the last 40 minutes of the film playing the tough inspector with some new twists and turns. But the move fails to provide any major lift and it all ends with an open climax as we have already seen several times before in the recent times.  
In few words, the director who is known for coming up with some fresh films following his own unique way of execution surprisingly chooses a very poor story idea for his first mainstream project made with a big name. Plus throughout the film his famous touch is visible only in some characters in the beginning or in few scenes later on with some notable dialogues well rendered by the supporting cast. Further a few insertions are incorporated in a quite unintelligent way (unlike a Dhulia film), like the use of Skype in a confidential meeting straight connecting to the jail, the extreme facilities enjoyed by the power broker within the jail premises and particularly the dialogue mentioning Rani Laxmi Bai in the hotel room (What was it really??). Moreover the intense emotional feel, visible in the director’s previous films is completely missing in this and the viewers never feel connected to the ongoing affair between the lead pair not even once.
Now whether this was a result of the director’s sincere attempt to enter the commercial zone for the first time or the outcome of some external interference in his directorial vision cannot be said. But whatever the reason might be, the truth remains that this happens to be the weakest film of Tigmanshu Dhulia till date unarguably.
Apart from its feeble story plot, the other major disappointment of BULLETT RAJA is its poor soundtrack and over use of songs unnecessarily. The background score too sounds both good and average at different places following an uneven path and cinematography could have made a stronger impact with a better editing. Promoted as an action film, the fight sequences do have a realistic feel but the action actually could really have been the key player here with Vidyut coming in earlier since he is the best one to display the art specifically.
Regarding its performances, the film is solely made for Saif alone and he tries hard to fit into the character doing all the home work. Yet, I found a lot missing in his honest portrayal of Raja Misra in terms of energy and that rustic feel, so couldn’t relate to his onscreen character frankly. On the other side, Jimmy Sheirgill once again displays his best in a Tigmanshu Dhulia project and holds the film strongly till he is there on the screen forming a fine team with Saif. Here I must add that the actor is a completely different person (arrogant and with a lot of attitude) when it comes to Punjabi films in particular. And Jimmy really needs to see into this difference of attitude at the earliest.
Playing the female lead, I wonder how on earth Sonakshi manages to act and enjoy the same kind of performance in almost every film of hers in a repetitive mode (except LOOTERA). Perhaps she is more interested in only quantity and not quality. Gulshan Grover & Raj Babbar are fine as usual but both Vipin Sharma and Shart Saxena leave a solid impact in their short roles. Chunky Pandey and Mahile Gill are there for only few scenes in the beginning. However to say the truth, BULLET RAJA would have been an entirely different film altogether with Vidyut Jammwal and Ravi Kissen having more lengthy roles in the script. Particularly Ravi Kissen whose highly interesting character of a cross-dressing man, remains wasted without given much to do.
Ending on a sour note, BULLETT RAJA doesn’t have that thrill, excitement, freshness and honesty associated with the films made by one of the most promising director of our times, Tigmanshu Dhulia. Perhaps this is the cost a visionary director has to pay while working with big production houses and STARS following their specific instructions. So assuming that the makers would learn from their mistake made, I hope Tigmanshu returns back to his own school of film-making soon following his inner urge and gives us another gem in the future, taking BULLETT RAJA out of his system at the earliest.
Ratings : 2 / 5

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29 Nov 2013 / Comments ( 4 )

Hey Bobby,
As you mentioned the \'so called\' star system for this average flick from TALENTED STAR DIRECTOR OF INDIAN CINEMA but I would say that this is the biggest misfortune of Indian Cinema that our best films like Udaan, Gulaal, Paan Singh Tomar etc. gains the wholesome critical acclaim but fails to perform at box office, which is also an important part. So, what can a film maker do.

Looking towards western cinema, they also earn money from such films such as The Prestige, The Artist etc.

Bobby Sing

Yes Zeeshan,
You are very right in pointing that and the main reason behind this remains our distribution and exhibition system which does not support such films......in fact right from the initial decades of Indian Cinema post independence.

So it has been the same old mindset working till last few years which is now seeing some cracks and may break down completely in the following years.....hopefully.




Hi Bobby,
I had to go through this torturous movie on 28th Nov, if your review would have come a day before I would have saved myself !!!
I instantly chose it over ram leela becaue of Tigmanshu Dhulia and once again I have to remind myself that directors are not to be trusted in Bollywood.


Bobby Sing

Hi Shikhar,
Yes this was a pretty weak film from a talented director and in other words this was his giving away film to the commercial cinema.
But I am sure he will soon return back to his style in the next film.

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