A few measures short of a tour de force

A few measures short of a tour de force

Bullett Raja
Hindi (U/A)
Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Raj Babbar, Jimmy Sheirgill, Ravi Kissen, Sonakshi Sinha, Vidyut Jamwal, Chunky Pandey

The gang wars of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been presented on the big screen so often that each revenge saga has begun to look like the other. However, when you have Tigmanshu Dhulia donning the director’s cap, you expect something different.

Bullett Raja does deliver on that promise, at least in the first half.

The pace keeps every you engaged, but not so much that you gloss over the bromance between Raja Mishra (Saif Ali Khan) and Rudra (Jimmy Sheirgill), as they exact revenge on Rudra’s relative (Chunky Pandey) for killing another relative, enhance the clout of a powerful politician (Raj Babbar), and give businessman Sharma (Gulshan Grover) a hard time while charming a Bengali starlet (Sonakshi Sinha) away from him.

However, it all ends when Sharma hires a killer (Ravi Kissen) who has fallen out of favour with the politician, and they kill Rudra.

The interval comes soon after, and it all goes downhill with the subsequent slackening of pace in the revenge plot. None of the actors delivers a thudding performance, but bit-part improvements in their usual histrionic skills make for an overall better narrative.

Especially noticeable is the otherwise wooden Vidyut Jamwal, as a cop out to get Raja.

Sparkling dialogues, taut plot lines and a sense of inevitability make for a pleasurable watch, and yet you miss something.

Diminishing your experience are cuts that seem too hasty. One fails to find the logic behind chopping a dialogue on the nature of Brahmins, when Saif Ali Khan brazenly wears his shoes during a song while standing on the same platform as the idol of a god.

On what basis was it decided that one would offend a community while the other wouldn’t? Scenes where birds merrily warble away instead of screeching their heads off after a shoot-out in the jungle also rankle.

But in the end, Bullett Raja is still entertaining. And also a lesson in how to use songs in a Hindi film. Barring ‘Tamanche pe Disco’, all songs have within their picturisation some element or the other that takes the film forward. Pity, they don’t lift it to the standards we have come to expect from Dhulia.

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