The getting together of numerous talents in a project instinctively raises the expectations from that film. Have a look at the wonderful talent associated with Rajjo: Kangna Ranaut, Prakash Raj, Mahesh Manjrekar, Jaya Pradha, Upendra Limaye, Uttam Singh [music], Binod Pradhan [cinematography], Muneesh Sappel [production design] and Vishwas Patil [writer; who makes his directorial debut with Rajjo. Each one of them has proved himself/herself in their respective area of work, besides winning laurels and awards for their meritorious efforts. Expectedly, one hopes Rajjo to strike a chord.
Women empowerment is being stressed upon and women-centric themes are on the rise on the big screen. The Hindi film industry has often mirrored realities and Vishwas Patil's Rajjo, a woman-centric film, attempts to portray the story of a young woman who is pushed into the flesh trade by her near and dear ones, but she puts up a brave fight against the oppressors and emerges triumphant eventually. A well-intentioned film, indeed!
Rajjo is a love story set against the backdrop of the kothas of Mumbai. It attempts to unravel the journey of a nautch girl Rajjo [Kangna Ranaut]. At this juncture enters the college-going cricket champion Chandu [Paras Arora], who belongs to a middle class Maharashtrian family. It's love at first sight for Chandu. Rajjo too gets drawn towards him subsequently and love blossoms.
Begum [Mahesh Manjrekar], a eunuch, runs the kotha. When Begum gets to know of Rajjo and Chandu, she gets them married. Handa Bhau [Prakash Raj], a corrupt politician, desires Rajjo and creates havoc in Rajjo and Chandu's lives. After facing innumerable hurdles, but handling every moment with dignity, Rajjo overcomes the impediments eventually.
Rajjo has an attention-grabbing premise and like I stated at the outset, is well-intentioned too, but the screenplay could've been far more riveting. While the first hour is plain ordinary, the director reserves the best for the post-interval portions. To give the credit where it's due, the second half does boast of several engaging episodes, but the writing tends to get foreseeable at times, which dilutes the impact slightly. Yet, the conviction with which Vishwas Patil has made the film needs to be lauded, since the message he tries to convey is praiseworthy.
Ideally, the music should've been one of the strong points of the film, but barring a track or two, the soundtrack is mediocre. Binod Pradhan's cinematography captures the look of the film right. Muneesh Sappel recreates the red light area of Mumbai with authenticity. Dialogue could've been hard-hitting. Nonetheless, the writers have abstained from using abusive language, cuss words or vulgar content, which is a plus. The director has also stayed away from incorporating titillating visuals or sensuous sequences, which could've deviated your focus from the issue.
Having proved her mettle in films like Gangster, Woh Lamhe, Raaz - The Mystery Continues, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, Tanu Weds Manu, Fashion and Krrish-3, Kangna makes a sincere effort to look the character, enacting her part with grace and elegance. Also, she looks lovely in Indian attire. The biggest revelation, however, are her dancing abilities. She scores brownie points in that department. Paras Arora makes a worthy film debut. He's confident and self-assured, despite being pitted against reputable actors like Kangna, Mahesh Manjrekar, Prakash Raj and Vipin Sharma.
Although Prakash Raj does try his level best to portray the evil side, one feels the talented actor is getting typecast in villainous characters. Mahesh Manjrekar is, as always, first-rate. Upendra Limaye shines in the sequence when he narrates his past, while performing an encounter. Swati Chitnis leaves a mark. Vipin Sharma doesn't get much to do. The actor portraying Prakash Raj's sidekick does a commendable job. Veterans Jaya Pradha, Dalip Tahil and Avtar Gill are effective in cameos.
On the whole, Rajjo is a well-intentioned movie made with gracious objectives of drawing one's attention to the genuine issues that plague the society. However, its release timing seems inopportune. The clash with a biggie like Ram-leela may sideline this well-meaning film.