Its not just absolute power that corrupts. Too much money has the same effect. ‘Rann juxtaposes big media houses and large-scale monetary and moral corruption in a style thats so patently Ram Gopal Varma that it leaves us with a dizzying sense of deja vu. Been here. Seen this.
Its TV that Ramu targets this time,specifically the twenty-four hour news channels that dominate our lives. The remote is the weapon all channel heads dread,so how do you ensure stickiness? By subverting the truth,thats what. ‘Ranns bunch of villains include a politician ( Rawal),a who will stop at nothing to get to the highest seat of power,a businessman ( Kapoor) who knows exactly what the ‘neta is about,but is a groupie because of the benefits he can reap,and a channel head ( Behl) who will do anything to grow TRPs.
Only a handful of good guys stand in the way of total take-over. The spotless Harshvardhan Malik ( Bachchan),owner of India Twenty Four Seven,whose word is gospel. And a lone reporter Purab ( Deshmukh) who is Maliks biggest fan,and believes truth must be told at all cost. In between is son Jai ( Sudeep),who wants it all,but still has some vestige of goodness left in him.
The look and feel of ‘Rann is very ‘Sarkar and its sequel ‘Sarkar Raaj : the conflicted son is another version of Kay Kay,high-strung and short-tempered. The camera sways madly from one character to another,the background score swallows the dialogue. The complex nature of truth and myth is split down the middle,and everything turns simplistic,which Malik is made to lay down in a long,dreary soliloquy.
You could try for some diversion by trying to identify whos who. Malik is very clearly modeled on Prannoy Roy,and his channel on NDTV 24/7. The lawyer ‘Shyam Mirchandani. The politician who never takes off his dark glasses. The mention of big business interests and ‘two brothers. There are some effective parts,but the whole sinks into a sea of sameness,leaving a couple of stand-out sequences.
One belongs to Rajpal Yadav,who does a brilliant take-off on the breathless,laudatory anchors massaging powerful egos on prime time TV. The other is all Bachchans,as he sits at his sons funeral,offering up his unmasked,grief-stricken face. This is an actor at work. Pity the rest of the film didnt match up.