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Friday, January 21, 2022

The Rao Factor

Dramatic. Powerful. Charismatic. If anyone could do justice to the role of the legendary NT Rama Rao,former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh...

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor |
December 7, 2009 3:07:39 am

Rakta Charitra has the mood of The Godfather & the tone and spirit of Mahabharata,Shatrughan Sinha on playing NT Rama Rao

Dramatic. Powerful. Charismatic. If anyone could do justice to the role of the legendary NT Rama Rao,former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh,and deliver with full force,it had to be Shatrughan Sinha. Ram Gopal Varma was crystal clear,at least for the Hindi version of the two-part epic called Rakta Charitra. “In fact,Ramu told me he wanted me in Sarkar too. But,I’m here,essaying the character of Rao,” says Sinha,who is making history by becoming the first Indian politician to have played the role of another real-life politician.

Awe-struck by Shatru in Kala Pathar and still haunted by those eyes and voice,Ramu set out to meet the man himself,and offer the central role,“and I grabbed it instantly,” Shatru’s baritone resonates in the room at The Taj. In town for the Yaadgaar-e-Rafi night,the actor-cum-politician says Rakta Charitra is probably one of his finest acts so far. “It’s a politically violent film,a gripping drama based on real life incidents. It has the mood of The Godfather and the tone and spirit of the Mahabharata.” However,playing the iconic south Indian leader wasn’t that easy. Shotgun had to back comb his hair,shave off that his signature moustache,and learn Telegu too! “I was supposed to do only the Hindi version,but Ramu couldn’t find anyone to match in Telegu,so I had to step in,” Shotgun’s all praises for the other two actors — Viviek Oberoi and Surya. “It’s an epic of a film which Ramu’s very cleverly kept under wraps from the public,” the actor’s equally excited about his romantic comedy opposite Rekha. “There is no age to love,and these days,there is no age to marriage and divorce either! You have couples marrying at 50 and separating at 60! So why not have a film on it.” Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna,directed by Satish Shah,is based on a Gujarati play,and kinda reminds us of Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton’s Something’s Gotta Give too.

It’s December 6,and the Liberhan Commission report is still fresh. But for Sinha,it’s a “timepass drama,a selective leak.” “Why now,after 17 years? My contention is that the finding has to be binding. If it’s not,then there is nothing to it,” says the politician in him. Talk Bihari,and he feels,if given a chance,he would focus on four Ps in Bihar: Peace,prosperity,progress and pride. But there are obstacles like votebank politics,lack of role models and dirty games. “Governance is a medium to serve,not Madhu Kodha’s medium to earn,” Shatru feels what India needs is Josh and Hosh. “If good are not ready to step into politics,then be prepared to be ruled by the bad.”

Politican ambitions apart,his first love remains acting,a profession which always comes to his rescue. Even his kids have stepped into it! While Luv’s film Sadiyan will hit the theatres in February,Sonakshi’s signed with Salman Khan for Dabang. As for Kush,he’s into direction,and maybe even politics. “I never interfere with what my children want. Why Luv didn’t go for a Yash Chopra or Karan Johar is that you can never guarantee a hit with anyone. Raj Kanwar’s pretty good too!” for Sinha,the bottomline is happiness. So,no regrets? “Well,I never took Sholay and Deewar,and plenty others. But I never held on to it,you just learn and move on.”

Looking back,Indian cinema has come a long way. “On the looks front,yes. The new crop of actors are into a gym culture,which is great but what’s missing is commitment,the soul,story and music in films,” which brings us to the great Mohammad Rafi. “The man had tremendous depth and range and yet he was so humble and grounded. I could never expect a resounding yahoo from him! He was an institution in himself and it’s unfortunate that he was never honoured with a Bharat Ratna,” Sinha leaves us with his ‘dil ka soona saaz….’

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