Sarkar Friday release eagerly awaited
This Friday starts the second-half of the year with a big bang - Ram Gopal Varma's Sarkar is one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year.
As Varma protégé Madhur Bhandarkar said: "Everyone wants to see what the film is about and what Ramu has done with the two Bachchans."
True. Sarkar rides the waves of tremendous curiosity. Is the film based on the life of Shiv Sena supreme Bal Thackeray?
Varma is neither saying yes nor no.
Written by Varma discovery Manish Gupta, Sarkar is the story of a very tense father-son relationship, almost like the friction and tension created between father and son in Ramesh Sippy's Shakti more than three decades ago, except that now Amitabh Bachchan plays the father instead of the son. Says Abhishek Bachchan: "If the audience saw us having a ball in Bunty Aur Babli, they'll now see dad and me caught in a dramatic tension that's absolutely antithetical in mood to the earlier film."
The senior Bachchan is cast as a man who runs an extra-constitutional government, almost a law unto himself.
Known as Sarkar (loosely translated as Big Boss), Bachchan is the messiah of the masses, akin to what Marlon Brando played in Francis Coppola's The Godfather.
So is this a film based on Thackeray or The Godfather? Mind-boggling!
The dramatic tension starts when Sarkar's son, played by Abhishek Bachchan, returns from abroad with his own ideas on morality. From there onwards, the father and son are hurled into a position of unique and irrevocable crisis.
Besides the casting coup of the father-son Bachchans, the film has K.K. Menon (seen last as Tabu's philandering husband in Silsiilay). Tanisha (Kajol's sister) and Katrina Kaif are the two girls in Abhishek's life.
Supriya Pathak returns to cinema after a long hiatus to play Amitabh Bachchan's wife. We've seen him jell well with very unusual co-stars lately - Shefali Shah in Waqt and earlier, Rati Agnihotri in Kaante.
The ladies don't have much to do in Sarkar. It's a boy's-day-out kind of saga, more remarkable for the dramatic tensions created among the male characters than the seductive element provided by the female actors.
For some heavy-duty female friction, catch Priyanka Chopra in her now-you-see-me-now-you-don't creature-of-the-night role in this week's other release.
Yakeen marks the debut of yet another screenwriter as director. Others like Anees Bazmi, Anurag Kashyap and Khalid Mohamed have tried in the past... with limited success.
Priyanka, who has a meaty role in Yakeen, is all praise for writers turned directors.
"They know their jobs very well. And they can see the entire film in their minds. Believe me, I know. I've worked with two writers-turned-director, first Girish Dhamija in Yakeen and now Rumi Jaffrey in a comedy he's directing with me, Salman and Amitji."
After Vishram Sawant in D, Girish Dhamija is the next debutant director to try his luck. For luck, he has got his mentor Vikram Bhatt to write the script for Yakeen.
But will Priyanka Chopra jell with Arjun Rampal when she has already delivered a crippling flop with him in Asambhav last year?
Priyanka believes Arjun is "outstanding" in Yakeen. Should we believe her? After all, this is a film about faith (Yakeen).
With Sarkar dominating the theatres this week, it would take a miracle for another film to survive. So strong is the vibe for Sarkar and to see what Ram Gopal Varma has done with the father and son Bachchans that the trade is already labelling it a blockbuster.
"It would do business of Rs. 8-9 crores (Rs.80-90 million) in Mumbai alone," predicts Bhandarkar.
Bal Thackeray's Shiv Sainiks will vouch for that.