Sarkar 3...Flogging a dead horse

The trend of making sequels seems to be more pronounced of late owing to the bankruptcy of ideas and imagination. Sarkar 3 carries the taking-the-audience-for-granted culture to a ridiculous level. Sarkar, the first installation was sort of a cross between The Godfather and the life and persona of Shiv Sena supremo, Bal Thackerey.

Sarkar released in 2005 and boasted of some known names in its cast like Katrina Kaif, Kay Kay Menon and Anupam Kher, along with Abhishek Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan. Sarkar Raj, the sequel, followed in 2008, with Manoj Bajpayee and Jackie Shroff added to the cast along with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan but, while the first one promised some novelty and managed to pass muster, the sequel did not find favour with the audience.

Well, if Sarkar Raj was rejected, why then make Sarkar 3, that too with a star cast that can hardly stand up to the protagonist, Sarkar — Amitabh Bachchan?  Amith Sadh is dropped into the proceedings at the onset as Bachchan’s grandson from his son, Abhishek Bachchan. Abhishek was killed in an earlier instalment and only his life-sized portrait adorns this film.

The character of Amitabh Bachchan is still the Sarkar, the man with the remote control, who runs the local government while the CM and all others in office are his puppets. The CM, in this case, is also Bachchan’s spy and informant; he keeps Bachchan posted on the activities of his enemies. Bachchan also has two loyal men at his back and call, played by Ronit Roy, and another one who can’t speak. Bachchan is not a don, he is a messiah. Millions in the city of Mumbai love and respect him. But, Mumbai is a goldmine for realtors. As there is little left of this aspect to be exploited, the Dubai-based don, played by Jackie Shroff, eyes the biggest opportunity available, the acres of land over which Dharavi is spread.

Jackie may operate from Dubai but he pulls strings of many of his puppets based in Mumbai. One of them is a big builder who is asked to meet Bachchan for his help to vacate the settlement with force without resettlement or compensation for the occupants. Jackie’s pawn, supposed to be a big-time builder, comes across as a pygmy in front of Bachchan and his two aides but when he approaches Bachchan with a line—‘we can do it without your help too as we have the system in our pocket’—You know this is a lost plot.

The film is riddled with problems as it goes on introducing multiple side-tracks without relevance to the plot. Looks like the only way to making money and survive in Mumbai for the villains is to eliminate Bachchan!  Manoj Bajpayee's character wants to be the next CM, but the character of Yami Gautam has a grouse against him too, and some Shetty guy as well as a nondescript small timer also plans to kill him.

As the film comes to the end of its first half, you realise that nothing has happened yet. And, it has been about 75 minutes. In the second half, it goes haywire. Just about everybody is betraying the other. Everybody wants to be the Sarkar in place of Sarkar! There are shootouts, people killed, one is blamed but the other has done it but the viewer does not know that, only those involved do!

The film ends like an old time murder thriller where the protagonist decides to explain the whole muddle you were subjected to for over two hours!

Talking of a muddle, that is what the script is. It has no substance, a routine one-liner as a story which it expands at convenience by adding unnecessary characters and Jackie’s PJs with his girlfriend (surprisingly, for a big shot Don in Dubai, he has only one with DUH written all over her). As for direction, it is all about ‘technology’ Ram Gopal Varma style, to no avail. Thankfully, the film has no songs though the background score is out of sync and loud as if to distract you from the glitches on screen. Dialogue lacks punch. Editing is poor.

As for performances, Amitabh Bachchan does his usual best this being the third instalment of playing Sarkar. Manoj Bajpayee is becoming a caricature of himself. Ronit Roy is impressive but you don’t want to see him shed tears! Amit Sadh is okay, trying to play the Bachchan of the Deewaar era. Yami Gautam has nothing to do in this film. Jackie Shroff seems to be on a holiday throughout.

Producers: Rahul Mittra, Anand Pandit, Gopal Shivram Dalvi, Krishan Choudhary.

Director: Ram Gopal Varma.

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Jackie Shroff, Manoj Bajpayee, Yami Gautam, Amit Sadh, Ronit Roy, Rohini Hattangadi, Bharat Dabholkar.

Meri Pyaari Bindu: An unromantic love tale

There was a trend a few years ago to name films after a popular old hit number. Meri Pyari Bindu takes it from the hit song from Mahmood’s comedy film, Padosan. If that gives anybody an idea that this one is going to be another romantic comedy, nothing like that is going to happen.

Meri Pyaari Bindu is a love story. The character of Ayushmann Khurana falls in love with his new neighbour, played by Parineeti Chopra (Bindu), as a child, in the city of Kolkata. They study together and complete their education sharing the same set of friends.

Ayushmaan has now become a writer of cheap fiction thrillers. Staying away from Kolkata, Ayushmann has been called back home to Kolkata by his parents on a false pretext of their divorce. Initially, he is angry about this prank but coming back to his childhood home reminds him of Parineeti and his love for her. He has always been pining for her.

The film then resorts to number of flashbacks going between Ayushmann’s past memories and present. This scenes spring up suddenly and you need to follow the timeline printed at the bottom. This makes for trying watch.

Parineeti on the other hand is all about herself. She is never sure about herself. For her, Ayushmann is just a friend. And, what links them together is their interest in old songs. Parineeti’s ambition is to become a singer and cut her own album and Ayushmann helps her all the way.

An attempt has been created to effect anxiety when Parineeti decides to migrate to Australia when her mother is killed in an accident due to her drunkard father’s rash driving. Eventually to return.

The script creates confusion as it traverses back in time and present. Where it fails totally is that there is no romance since the love is one sided throughout the film so no scope to create a chemistry. Direction is average at the best. Editing is slack. Visually, too, there is not much to please the eyes. The medley of old songs provides some relief.

Ayushmann does not quite make the romantic hero cut. Parineeti’s characterisation provides her no scope. In brief roles, Rajatava Dutta and Aparajita Adhya are good.

Meri Pyaari Bindu has opened to poor response and shows little prospects of catching up.

Producer: Adityya Chopra.

Director: Akshay Roy.

Cast: Ayushman Khurana, Parineeti Chopra, Rajatava Dutta, Aparajita Adhya.

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