Of the many films made on the media and its functioning, Rann will go down as one of the best ones. Ram Gopal Varma has brought to life a predictable but powerful script, backed by extremely talented actors and technicians. But the director has taken many cinematic liberties.
Rann opens with Purab Shastri (Ritesh Deshmukh) watching the news on India 24/7 along with his live-in girlfriend Nandita Sharma (Gul Panag). Purab idolises his new boss Vijay Harshvardhan Malik (Amitabh Bachchan), owner of the channel and a man of principles.
Malik's channel is not doing well, as the competition is stealing ideas from under his nose. Add to that, his emphasis on ethics and values makes sure sensationalism stays away from his medium.
Operating with exactly opposite business ethics is Amrish Kakkar (Mohnish Behl), Malik's protégé who runs the current number one channel, Headlines 24.
Purab joins India 24/7 and soon goes on to do good stories. Supporting him is special shows editor Anand Prakash Trivedi (Rajpal Yadav), and Chief Operating Officer Nalini Kashyap, (Suchitra Krishnamurthy).
Jay (Sudeep), Malik's son is envious of the young Purab. He's also increasingly intolerant of his dad's journalistic ethics, and convinces him to be practical and make a few changes in the programming.
The twist comes when Jay gets desperate to save the sinking channel. His brother-in-law Navin Shankalya (Rajat Kapoor) is a top industrialist who wants to climb up further to beat his elder brother. And for that, he entices Jay to 'create' a news story 'exposing' Prime Minister Huda's hand in the recent blasts, so that he's ousted. All this is the planning of Jan Seva party president Mohan Pandey (Paresh Rawal) who wants to be the next PM. Jay, of course, succumbs to the temptation and persuades dad that the story is true.
Rann is serious from the beginning, so the first half is a bit of a drag, when the plot is being established. But post interval, the film is truly gripping. The story in the second half is about creating news, blackmailing, murder, media-politician nexus, and other pressures allegedly faced by the media. It is about how Purab goes about exposing Jay Malik, Mohan Pandey and his aides. And it's about a father's choice.
Next Page: Performances, Flaws, Verdict and Rating.
The biggest rockstar is undoubtedly Amitabh Bachchan. The legend steals the show in his speech that reveals the whole nexus involving his son. The speech leaves the audience speechless, so to speak! Yes, now we know, one more time, why Bachchan is called the BIG B. This end also reminds one of the Kamal Haasan film directed by Shankar, Hindustani, in which the old man kills his corrupt son.
Ritesh Deshmukh looks good and acts well in a serious role. Gul Panag as the assistant director live-in girlfriend is good, but has no impact on the story except supporting Purab and egging him on.
But the surprise package is not Ritesh, but multiple Filmfare Award-winner, Kannada actor Sudeep who plays Malik's son Jay. Sudeep holds his own in front of Amitabh Bachchan, and displays supreme confidence throughout. He plays his part with panache.
Also notable is Mohnish Behl, essaying a powerful role in a long time on the big screen, reminding us of the impression he left upon viewers in Maine Pyar Kiya as the suave villain.
And it's a good week for Paresh Rawal, with two of his big films releasing – Rann and Road to Sangam. Rawal plays a strong negative character, like his earlier films before he got into Hera Pheri-esque comedies.
Suchitra Krishnamurthy also surprises with her very 'correct' performance. Much like Manisha Koirala's in Company. Neetu Chandra is OK as Yasmin, the Muslim girlfriend of Jay.
However, it's Rajpal Yadav who gets the most claps for what his character depicts with the help of humour.
The world of media is depicted more from what probably director Ram Gopal Varma, as well as you and me have observed as viewers. It is not necessarily a well-researched film, but inspired from real happenings a la RGV's Satya or Company. Much like Madhur Bhandarkar.
And it is strange that a man of the stature of Harshvardhan Malik simply trusts his young son blindly, not verifying facts before accusing the head of state of a serious offence like a bomb blast. And then when Malik learns his son is a culprit, he doesn't even feel the need to talk to his own child before disclosing it to the whole world. Especially since Jay is not an inherently vicious person. But then, it's about the country, after all.
Also the politician-media-industrialist nexus plot can be a bit confusing if you don't concentrate. So, this film is serious, not for college students suffering from attention deficit disorder.
Verdict: Ram Gopal Varma brings us yet another gripping drama in the league of Sarkar and Sarkar Raj. The performances definitely make up for the flaws in the story. Also watch out for some good scenes and camera angles.