Sarkar 3: Same old jaded feeling

A still from Sarkar 3   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A strange sense of ennui plagues one these days in writing about a Ram Gopal Varma film; reviewing it feels as much a chore as watching the film itself. It’s not just the predictability of RGV’s turgid formula that irks but the obviousness of one’s own response and the sheer weariness involved in describing the experience.

Sarkar 3 is yet another made-for-the-heck-of-it movie that relies entirely on Amitabh Bachchan’s presence to make it bearable. So he is back again as Subhash “Sarkar” Nagre with a new set of enemies—at home and outside, in India and Dubai. As usual it’s about how he gets the better of them.

The telling is mechanical, cut and dried and actors seem like unthinking puppets. Everyone other than Bachchan feels like a caricature though Manoj Bajpayee tries his best to elevate his quirky politician Govind Deshpande with some flourish and Ronit Roy interprets Sarkar’s right hand man, Gokul, with an interesting dryness. Jackie Shroff is so over the top as Villain No. 1, Michael, that it feels as though he is having some fun on the side at the expense of the film. The one who gives him tough competition for the best ham award is Rohini Hattangadi as Govind’s ever drinking mother.

    That gets us to the women. In the male dominated world, women are bound to get relegated to the background. So Supriya Pathak as Sarkar’s ill wife Pushpa keeps lying on the bed. Yami Gautam stares impassively into the camera (when she is not wearing the glares because then one doesn’t know where she might be looking) assuming she is acting intensely. She gets even less time on screen than Jackie’s ditzy, bikini clad, forever-in-the-pool arm candy who gets very indelicately framed by RGV’s voyeuristic camera and elicits some loud guffaws from the audience. On second thought even Abhishek Bachchan as a photograph on the wall is more prominent than Yami. And Amit Sadh as Nagre’s grandson Shivaji is utterly colourless.

    The entire film is structured like a series of confrontations—some verbal, others involving shootouts. The signature extreme close-ups, angular shots, loud and ominous background score, the “Govinda Govinda” chants and Sarkar’s waving hand all make a comeback. There’s more: needless allusions to popular Big B dialogues, even more pointless referencing of Gandhi and then you have RGV foregrounding objects like a dog’s sculpture, a laughing Buddha, the specs on a Gandhi statue and even a bottle of whiskey in various scenes, blurring the actors in the background. We even find a drone in one of the sequences. But despite trying his best to pretend slickness RGV remains old-fashioned like Karan Johar at heart. The Sarkar series is ultimately all about loving your family, albeit a violent, dysfunctional one.

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    Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 10:25:27 AM |

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