STORY: Simple Raja Mishra turns into deadly Bullett Raja – who goes bang and who whimpers?
REVIEW: Straight up, Bullett Raja (BR) is zany and funny, an Uttar Pradesh take on Sholay’s Jai and Veeru, ‘twice-born’ in Lucknow as Raja Mishra (Khan) and Rudra Pratap (Shergill). Educated Raja and Rudra are reluctant gangsters, turned by violent, caste-ridden UP politics into what political advisor Srivastava (who Skypes from jail) calls “political commandos.” These ‘commandos’ work at the command of minister Ram Babu Shukla (Babbar), finishing his enemies and finessing his friends.
But there’s a big bang when Raja and Rudra meet Bajaj (Grover), powerful financier who’s rude to the dynamite duo – and gets kidnapped by them. Revenge follows with conspiracies, lots more bang-bang and some LOL jokes. Hence, opponents are shot during a ‘Bak the Talk’ shoot, gangster Sumer Yadav (Ravi Kishan, in good form) is told, “Aap jail ke superstar hain, fan following toh hogi”, Raja tells girlfriend Mitali (Sinha) how he prefers ‘noose’ and ‘jaanwaron ka channel’ to serials – and says ‘I love you’ in a precious scene.
All along, the bang-bang cascades and ace cop Arun Singh (Jamwal) is dispatched to kill Raja. BR scores with its tight performances, Saif terrific with his clenched-jaw comedy, Shergill intense and growlingly funny, Jamwal’s flying kicks and wavy hair making the landscape even hotter. Sonakshi’s pleasant if unsurprising while Babbar and Grover infuse their roles with oily, kachori-like spice. UP comes alive too as Bullett Raja leaps from Gomti to gaus, sex to sex pistols, Hollywood to Hazratganj, its imagery somewhere between Omkara and Dabangg.
Where the film misses a bulls-eye is an excess 20 minutes, music that, despite Tamanche Pe Disco, remains average and direction that sometimes – don’t miss the guy flagellating himself as Saif makes a momentous decision – wavers. Still, BR is a racy ride, cynical, yet sweet, dark, yet bright. Go watch – you’ll enjoy those bangs in the dark.