At the star-studded press conference, there was a role reversal: media persons called the shots
It was an evening of disclaimers: to begin with — “Rajneeti”, Prakash Jha's film that will hit the screens on June 4, does not bear any resemblance to real-life politicians. During the team's recent visit to Bangalore, as part of their multi-city promotional tour, the director who made films that stirred the social fabric of our society, had to make this claim repeatedly and insistently to a media that was desperately trying to slot him.
Like most Indian stories have some vague link or are inspired by the epics, “Rajneeti” relies heavily on the “Mahabharata”. “It is our tribute to the classical text,” Jha explained without losing his cool. “Besides, we play politics in our everyday life, in our everyday relations. Everyone does it to varying degrees. So ‘Rajneeti' need not necessarily have political innuendos,” Jha continued to explain, to an audience that believed the film was a sure inspiration from his failed attempt at politics. Then it was the lovely Katrina's turn. She had to plead that her role was not modelled after Sonia Gandhi, as the grapevine has been suggesting. Now if there was any resemblance, it was absolutely not her fault: “I studied Ms. Gandhi's body language and manner of speaking from a DVD that contained clips of women leaders, to prepare for the role. That's probably where the canny resemblance comes from…,” she sought to explain.
It was a press conference with multiple stars: but all of them had one common slogan — “we don't understand politics,” even the cute Ranbir Kapoor. The young actor who plays the outsider, remained an outsider to politics and candidly confessed “everything I know about politics is through Prakash Jha”. Period. Katrina quickly came to her own rescue: “The world of politics is far beyond my comprehension,” playing Ranbir's perfect on-screen partner. Her character did not require too much research as she plays a “normal, impish girl” who goes through a journey that forces her to become “mature and take the plunge into politics”.
The screenplay writer Rajabali, pitched in. “The underdog, for whom power is the only way to bring about change, the inheritor who is born into a powerful family, the challenger who desires power, the innocent and the outsider who get sucked into the embroiled situation and the diva, who reluctantly but gracefully takes it up in her stride — is what it is all about,” he tried to convince the media who hurled a volley of toughies at the director who seemed to have run out of answers.
Even after what seemed a tiresome press conference, the only person who sounded upbeat was actor Manoj Bajpai. “I understand politics. I have a longstanding habit of reading the newspaper, which fills me in on news about politics. Beyond the news value, I am equally out of sync…,” he said, beating an intelligent retreat.
This full-of-surprises press conference finally got Jha to admit “I don't know enough about how politics works. All I want to tell is a great story that moves the audience and engages them.” Well, the real world of politics had a lesson to learn: the stars turned up on time and left on time.