|Ram Gopal Varma|
|Vivek Oberoi, Suriya, Shatrughan Sinha, Abhimanyu Singh|
A recap is necessary if you're showing the film in two instalments, just not this detailed.
So you are reminded of the rivalry between politician Narsimha, his loyal worker Veerbhadra, and Naagmani who instigated Narsimha against Veerbhadra.
Lives are taken and Veerbhadra's son Pratap (Vivek Oberoi) kills Naagmani and Narsimha in retaliation. He is helped by a powerful politician and becomes a minister. Post half-hour, the credits for Rakht Charitra 2 roll out.
We see a car bomb planted to kill Pratap, which he escapes. His people find out that the bomb was planted by Narsimha’s son Surya (Tamil actor Suriya) thirsting for revenge.
The story track has several similarities with Part 1 where it was Pratap who was distraught after the murders of his father and brother and wanted to even the score. So, the revenge and counter-revenge episodes continue as people on either side are murdered in the most gruesome manner.
The story also has similarities with Ram Gopal Varma's Company that released in 2002. Those who have seen the film will remember that it was a small misunderstanding that led mentor and protégé to become sworn enemies.
Here too, half-truths lead either side to ruthlessly mow down each other. Add to that a chain-smoking DCP with a stylish swagger who appears and disappears at will, and you get the feeling that he's a shade of the cop in Company who is getting either side to surrender.
Mercifully Part 2 is less violent that the first, which was a series of murders and rapes. And there are a couple of scenes that really have you at the edge of your seat, like the one where Suriya is escorted to the court.
The camera, that's always hand-held and edgy in Ram Gopal Varma's films, goes topsy-turvy this time. So you have two people conversing with the camera swerving till it's completely upside down!
Performances are an absolute treat. South superstar Suriya is outstanding, flashing the wrath of his character through his expressive eyes.
Vivek Oberoi gives a nuanced, powerful performance in this instalment as well. The two are dynamite on screen, which is why one rues the lack of an equally solid script that could exploit the potential of this duo.
The characters of Pratap and Suriya are fashioned along similar lines: Both were on their way to becoming educated professionals till revenge got the better of them, both marry girlfriends who defy their families to be with them, and both have mothers who support their violent ways.
Writer-director Ram Gopal Varma is inevitably drawn towards fashioning his male characters around these attributes: The kind that are tough with the world, but committed to their women.
So there you have it, a revenge drama that's not a patch on Varma's earlier works like Satya and Company. And even though the performances are superlative, one cannot recommend a film on that account alone.
Verdict: 2.5 stars