If you view Sarkar as a remake of The Godfather, chances are you won’t like it. If you view it as a tribute, and not necessarily compare it with the original, you will find much to admire. In general, remakes seem to work better if you can put thoughts of the original out of your mind. But that is a subject for another rant.
If one had to pick RGV’s favourite subjects to make films about, I guess it would be the underworld and the netherworld. However, at a deeper level, one could say that RGV’s principal subject is fear. And since he is such an ardent student of the horror film genre, the man realizes that both his characters and his audience react best not to what they see but what they imagine.
My favourite scenes in Sarkar are simply illustrations of this principle. One comes early, as a direct consequence of the opening sequence (beautifully edited, by the way) where Veerendra Saxena (in the Amerigo Bonasera role) tells Subhash Nagre (AB Sr) that his daughter has been raped by the son of a big shot and has not gotten justice. So Subhash sends his henchmen to dispense a little vigilante justice.
They corner the guy as he is coming out of a nightclub, take him out to the parking lot and work on him. You see them take a swing at him using a dumb-bell. You hear a sickening thud. You see the leader of the pack hit him with clinical precision, then call one of his assistants to land the next blow. All this in a measured voice, as if you are watching a surgeon complete a complicated procedure and asking his junior to stitch up.
Here’s what you don’t see: You don’t see the guy who is being beaten up. You don’t see blood and guts. You don’t hear screaming.
Think about this: You don’t have to.
Aside: It is because RGV knows how to direct a scene like this, that I am baffled when he gives interviews in which he says he doesn’t depict violence on screen because you don’t see much blood. Is he actually winking at the interviewer when he says this?
My other favourite scene is a wordless one with Kay Kay, who plays Subhash’s elder son Vishnu. He is smitten with a starlet acting in a movie he is producing. Trouble is, she has something going on with her co-star. I use the word “something” advisedly because it is possible that they aren’t actually going at it hot and heavy.
The scene involves Vishnu getting a video, presumably of the starlet and her co-star. You see him put it in the player and watch it. You don’t see what it depicts, just how he reacts to it. You see slowly mounting fury, and you know even before the scene is over that the consequences will be dire. And sure enough, Vishnu walks to the set and shoots the co-star dead.
I’ve always been a fan of Kay Kay, and his performance in Sarkar would rank among his best. If the term “hypnotically watchable” hadn’t been coined before, this performance would make people think of it.