Hunger for power, shrewd politics, women, handful of murders and an extra marital affair is Rajneeti. Prakash Jha tried to flush all these into a 160 odd minute movie. The film begins with a flashback showing Bharthi, Chief Minister Ramnath's daughter indulging in leftist ideologies against her father with prominent leftist, Bhaskar Sanyal. She takes a liking for Bhaskar and gets into an illicit relationship with him; He leaves for unknown places having overcome with a sense of guilt. Bharthi eventually gets pregnant and her brother, Brij Gopal (Nana Patekar) abandons the child (who grows up to become Dalit leader, Sooraj played at ease by Ajay Devgan) on a river bank. Bharthi gets married to Chandra Pratap, younger brother of Bhanu Pratap who leads the Rashtravadi party. Time passes by and Bhanu Pratap suffers from a severe stroke. He hands over the party power to Chandra Pratap and his son Prithvi Pratap (Arjun Rampal) by sidelining his own son, Veerendra Pratap (played brilliantly by Manoj Bajpai).
Unable to digest this, Veerendra Pratap tries to show his supremacy in the party by working against both his uncles' (Chandra Pratap and Brij Gopal) and his cousin's will. Upon failure, he takes aid in Sooraj and quickly devises plans to remove the obstacles in his path to power. Chandra Pratap is killed in this process while he is on his way back to hospital after seeing his younger son, Samar Pratap (Ranbir Kapoor) off at the airport. Sooraj and Veerendra play their cards quickly and get Prithvi behind the bars under false accusations. Samar promises Brij Gopal that he will restore everything to normal and teach both Veerendra and Suraj a lesson.
Samar shrewdly devises plans to let his brother out from jail and set up a new political party, Janshakthi under his brother's candidature. He also gets his brother married to Indu (Katrina Kaif), daughter of a rich business tycoon in the idea of generating surplus funds for the campaign trail. Indu sacrifices her love for Samar and marries Prithvi. Sooraj and Veerendra counteract and plant a bomb in Samar's car to kill him. Things do not work as planned when Prithvi and Samar's American girlfriend, Sarah die in the blast. Samar then decides that he will not let relationships come in between and takes oath to kill both Sooraj and Veerendra. Meanwhile, Bharthi comes to know that Sooraj is her eldest son and tries to cajole him into leaving Veerendra and accepting Samar as his brother, only to face disappointment.
Indu steps into Prithvi's place and contests the elections and eventually wins with a very high majority. Veerendra and Sooraj go to an abondoned factory to take revenge on Samar when they hear that Indu has won because of the EVMs getting hacked, and are killed before they realize that it is a plan to bring them there singly. The film ends with Indu getting pregnant with Prithvi's child and Samar returning to America.
The film was promoted as a story resembling the characters in Mahabharata, but I personally could not relate both to even a small extent except for Ajay Devgan's role resembling Karna's. It may not be a great film but Rajneeti is a one-time flick with good screenplay and powerful dialogues.
My rating for this film - ****
(* You will shoot me
** Waste of time
*** Can sit through
**** Worth watching once
***** Must watch)