Ram Gopal Varma may want to make a “Sarkar 4” even if this film does not work (it won’t, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt as of now), which is why he has attempted to make this third outing when the first did just average business and the second nose-dived at the box-office.
So he comes up with the character of Shivaji (Amit Sadh), grandson of Sarkar aka Subhash Nagre (Amitabh Bachchan in another programmed robot-like performance, technically perfect but emotionally shallow except for occasional glances of his piercing eyes and their effortless emotions). Shivaji is the son of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (absent here after “Sarkar 2”) and Abhishek Bachchan (dead in part 2) who were Sarkar’s daughter-in-law and son, respectively.
Problem is, the character needed to be fleshed out more, needed much more punch in the persona itself and (again if a fourth film can be planned) be solid enough to carry off the film on his shoulder and talent. RGV’s first faux pas is that he selects a weak actor to play the role. Sadh tries his best, but we can see that the raw material itself lacks spark. Or did RGV know this franchise would end here? After all, there are strong(er) young actors around.
Still, in the best (!) tradition of RGV, his sequels are all made for the sake of making them and capitalizing on something tried and tested when his new trite and testing fare (“Department,” “Rann” et al) does not work. Remember, this is the man who made a mess out of “Darna Zaroori Hai” (after “Darna Mana Hai”), “Bhoot Returns” and “Phoonk 2.” And along with the Bhatts, he holds the records for the most numbers of sequels.
Here, Subhash Nagre, with a bedridden wife (Supriya Pathak Kapur — one of many artistes wasted here), and two sons gone in previous installments, is as determined as ever to be his brand of a politician who has the love and respect of the masses. And if we think he is a version of Bal Thackeray, we also have a parody of Dawood / Abu Salem in Michael (Jackie Shroff), a Dubai-based don, and a copy of sorts of Kejriwal in the inconsequential role of Deshpande (Manoj Bajpayee) who ineffectually opposes Sarkar on so-called ideologies though he is far from being an ideal leader or human being.
The film begins promisingly with Sarkar refusing to help in a project that will uproot so many hutment dwellers. His enemies have already ganged up under the don. Among them is Anu (Yammi Gautam), who gets close to Shivaji to finally aim to kill Sarkar who had killed her errant father. Sarkar’s right hand is now the loyal Gokul (Ronit Roy) along with the mute Raman (Parag Tyagi), who have been with him, we are told, for 35 years (We did not see them earlier!)
Soon, the villains attempt to tempt them to gang up and finish Sarkar, thus paving the way for their goals. Meanwhile, Shivaji realizes that he will not be Sarkar’s political heir as long as Gokul is his right-hand, and when he tries to implicate the latter, is exposed by Gokul. In cold fury, Sarkar throws Shivaji out of his house and life and the latter joins Sarkar’s enemies who want to murder him.
Meanwhile, an attempt is made of Sarkar’s life, then on Shivaji’s and finally on Gokul’s. The game gets deadlier, and Michael finally decides that Shivaji, not Sarkar, must die, and the latter used till it is convenient to him. But can Sarkar be outwitted? And does Shivaji come back to the fold?
RGV tries to instill novelty into the script with a clever twist in the climax, but the problem is the script loopholes that show it to be more of a face-saving dramatic device rather than (as per what is shown) something really logical. The ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ finally make us want to question many things that happen, and which no one bothers to explain. For example, how does Shivaji know what Gokul is up to? And vice-versa? Why is Deshpande bumped off? And by whom? What is the need for Sarkar’s final discussion with his wife about Shivaji?
The film, for a RGV movie, has a redeeming point: the filmmaker steers clear of the sickening violence that is his hallmark in his underworld and crime sagas. But that is small consolation. We do not know why there is little semblance of pace here, and why the tone is so dreary in Sarkar’s house. Maharashtrians (at least) water the Tulsi plant (kept according to specifications) in the morning, not at any time! And it is certainly never kept in a drawing room next to a dead man’s photograph!
Fine talents like Supriya Pathak Kapur and Rohini Hattangadi are criminally wasted, especially the latter. Manoj Bajpayee may not ham, yet he is far from convincing either as any politician, forget a Maharashtrian one, and his role is inconsequential to the scheme of things. Yammi Gautam has nothing to do in what she claimed was one of her meatiest parts. Her scene with Bachchan, oddly enough, is mentioned but never shown! Full marks, however, to Ronit Roy as Gokul and the stolid Parag Tyagi.
But only two out of five marks for the plodding, illogical and tepid film.
Alumbra Entertainment, Eros Entertainment, Wave Cinemas Ponty Chadha & WeOne Present "Sarkar 3"
Produced by: Sunil A. Lulla, Rahul Mittra, Anand Pandit, Gopal Shivram Dalvi, Krishan Choudhary and others
Directed by: Ram Gopal Varma
Written by: Nilesh Girkar, P Jaya Kumar and Ramkumar Singh
Music: Ravi Shankar
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Jackie Shroff, Yami Gautam, Amit Sadh, Ronit Roy, Supriya Pathak Kapur, Bharat Dabholkar, Manoj Bajpayee, Bajrangbali Singh, Parag Tyagi and others.