Reviewing the Reviews: Critics say Bullett Raja lacks the plot

02 Dec,2013

By Deepa Gahlot


Bullett Raja

Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia

Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Vidyut Jamwal etc


If it was just some random filmmaker trying to put together a potboiler, Bullett Raja would not have been such a disappointment, but there were hopes from Tigmanshu Dhulia post Paan Singh Tomar.


To begin with, Saif Ali Khan is miscast as a middle class UP goon. He looks even more out of place when every other actor seems comfortable in the rugged milieu.


Most critics derided the lack of a plot and proper characterization, and gave it 2 or 2.5 stars… and one half-star from


Aniruddh Guha of Time Out commented, “Bullett Raja, in spite of the “big budget” tag, is Dhulia’s shoddiest film since Shagird. The acting is inconsistent, the screenplay patchy, the background score jarring and the editing jumpy. Some things remain consistent – Dhulia’s regular collaborator Dhananjay Mondal gets the art direction spot-on again, while the dialogues, written by the director himself and which he seems to have better control over than most of his contemporaries, have verve. The intention is clear: to make a no-holds-barred action entertainer, with the director’s trademark humour and style intact. Yet, the result is a bit of a botched effort, the body of the film resembling the Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster films, but the soul screaming Dabangg. (Filmmakers need to realise that Dabangg was a fun throwback to the masala films of the ’70s, sorely missed at that time, while everything else that followed – including Dabangg 2 - seems like a poor Dabangg clone.)”


Deepanjana Pal writing in ranted, “It’s difficult to decide what is the most disappointing aspect of Bullett Raja. Is it that Dhulia, who won such acclaim for his small-budget films, has botched up so comprehensively with this wannabe blockbuster? Could it be the soundtrack that is a thumping, tuneless cacophony? Or is it the lazy writing that can’t be bothered with either building characters or a coherent storyline? With its emphasis on machismo and male bonding, Bullett Raja is clearly targeted at the manly men puffing up the country’s male population as Khan does his chest and biceps. What does it say about that audience that Bullett Raja is Dhulia at his silliest and most inept?”


Paloma Sharma of was bored to death. “Bullett Raja is rife with predictable scenes, bad editing and a lack of control over the script, which spirals into an unending loop of absurdity. The pseudo-patriotism blends into personal enmity with the corrupt without much warning, leaving the viewers confused.


While no two people can like the same kind of films or even agree on the definition of a good film, it is difficult to judge if even hardcore Saif Ali Khan fans should go for this one.”


Sanjukta Sharma of Mint wrote, “His new film Bullett Raja strays far from the work he has built so far. It is a wishy-washy mix of two brazen hinterland heroes’ misadventures, a revenge drama, and a soap-opera style, hackneyed depiction of Uttar Pradesh politics. Dhulia’s dialogues (he has co-written the screenplay and written the dialogues) are insipid, and the humour, perhaps intended to be madcap, borders on the imbecile. The lead characters, Raja (Saif Ali Khan) and Rudra (Jimmy Shergill) are mere vehicles to keep a muddled narrative afloat. They have no signature quirk, as pulp heroes would demand.”


Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN wrote, “What’s disappointing then is that Bullett Raja isn’t consistently engaging. Aside from the rather choppy editing, there are also random scenes strewn about carelessly. Sonakshi Sinha plays an aspiring actress who comes in contact with Raja and Rudra.  We’re never sure why this sweet middle-class Bengali girl insists she wants to tag along with two gangsters for the ride. She falls all-too-easily in love with Raja, even though they appear as far removed as chalk and cheese. The flabby, unnecessary portions in this film include the hiatus these three take to Mumbai, a plot diversion that serves no purpose other than to fit in a silly nightclub number.”


Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times commented, “Tigmanshu, who also co-wrote the story, gives Saif a full-bodied character to inhabit but he fails to provide the character a compelling story to work with. Bullett Raja is a standard issue revenge story with the usual array of corrupt ministers, cops, criminals and their machinations as elections loom large. The screenplay is half-baked and strangely disjointed so, at one point, randomly we end up in Mumbai, where we get the item song Tamanche Pe Disco.”


The surprise rave came from Vinayak Chakravorty of India Today. “Quite a gunfest of goons actually, the stock dialoguebaazi, love-shuv, a villain’s pack, even an item number thrown in. There is a standard Jai-Veeru type buddy bonding track in place, too. If Tigmanshu Dhulia wanted to go mainstream this time, he has literally piled the jingbang.  Be sure there is a context to all of it. Even masala madness acquires the subtext of socio-politics if Dhulia sets out imagining it. Bullett Raja turns the murky caste-infested politics of Uttar Pradesh into pop spectacle. The outcome is solid bang for your bucks.”


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