Ram Gopal Varma claims that he has been deeply influenced by Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather and Sarkar, which released 17 years after his directorial debut, was his tribute to the classic film. Now, the question, is RGV’s Sarkar a befitting tribute to The Godfather?
Ye undino ki baat hai when Ram Gopal Varma was still making sensible, actually pretty good films. There’s no denying that the once master filmmaker, Ram Gopal Varma has lost the Midas touch. RGV, who is often in the headlines these days for locking horns with Bollywood directors and celebrities, was once in the news for his path-breaking and memorable films like Rangeela, Satya, Company and Bhoot. Sarkar, which released in 2005 and boasted of a stellar cast comprising of Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Kay Kay Menon, Supriya Pathak, Kota Srinivasa Rao and Anupam Kher, was, perhaps, among his best undertakings.
Ram Gopal Varma claims that he has been deeply influenced by Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather and Sarkar, which released 17 years after his directorial debut, was his tribute to the classic film. Now, the question, is RGV’s Sarkar a befitting tribute to The Godfather? Sarkar released on July 1, 2005, and on today’s Throwback Thursday we will discuss Ram Gopal Varma’s film Sarkar.
THE GODFATHER INFLUENCE
Well, you can’t compare The Godfather with Sarkar because doing so will be unfair. Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar is not a scene-by-scene copy of The Godfather. RGV took the inspiration from the film and wove the story around it. It is set in the Indian milieu and is very Mumbaiya. Many found Big B’s character modelled after the Shiv Sena Supremo. However, there are certain scenes that have been heavily influenced by The Godfather, especially the opening scene where an old man narrates the plight of his daughter who was raped. The younger son being kept away from the family business and a sudden attack on the protagonist are some of the other elements that have been adapted from the original film.
THE STORYLINE, SAME, SAME BUT DIFFERENT
Sarkar is the tale of crime, greed, family relationships and revenge. Subhash Nagre AKA Sarkar (Amitabh Bachchan) rewrites laws. When the system fails to serve justice, people knock on Sarkar’s door. Sarkar is an institution and will not shy away from adhering to violence to punish the wrongdoers. Sarkar’s righteousness has gained him a lot of enemies, who are just waiting to strike. Subhash has two sons, Vishnu (Kay Kay Menon) and Shankar (Abhishek Bachchan). While Vishnu is rash and resents his father’s way of handling things, Shankar has returned from the States and is someone who doesn’t aspire to be a part of all this. However, fate has something else in store for all three of them.
STELLAR CAST AND APPLAUSE-WORTHY PERFORMANCES
The Godfather is based on Mario Puzo’s best-selling 1969 novel of the same name and stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castellano, Robert Duvall and Sterling Hayden. When you set your mind on making a film inspired by a classic which is so close to people’s heart, you better have a stellar cast in place. Sarkar stars Amitabh Bachchan in the titular role and frankly, no one would have been able to pull off the role as well as he has. Comparing Marlon Brando and Amitabh Bachchan will be a heinous crime here because we know both are just splendid in their own way. While Al Pacino played the role of Vito Corleone’s (Brando) son, Michael, Abhishek Bachchan features as Sarkar’s (Big B) younger son, Shankar.
Brando played the character of Corleone with heavy gravitas and a deep personality but with a soft heart that cares for the people. Amitabh Bachchan’s Subhash Nagre also displayed the same traits. In most parts, it is his eyes and expressions that do the talking. When Al Pacino played the character of Michael, he was relatively new to the industry, much like Abhishek Bachchan, who was also trying to make his presence felt when Sarkar released. He played the character with great nuance. Kay Kay Menon and Supriya Pathak lend commendable support. Sarkar’s backbone is its commendable cast much like The Godfather.
IS SARKAR A BEFITTING TRIBUTE TO THE GODFATHER?
The Godfather is one of the best films ever made and technically Sarkar does not come anywhere near it. However, the movie stands out in its own unique way. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that there are cultural variations embedded and the story has been modified to make it more appealing to the Indian audience. Ram Gopal Varma, who does not conform to the conventional paths of movie-making, gives it an edgier and dramatic impact by making changes in the storyline.
News source: INDIA TODAY