Who doesn’t like revenge dramas? From the times of the Mahabharat, to the 21st century, we all have been fascinated with the stories of revenge dramas in one way or the another.
As such, only those creations manage to make their own mark, which have a crisp, gripping story to tell and memorable characters that won’t leave you easily, as it has been proved by movies Godfather, Gangs of Wasseypur or even Sholay to name a few. So does Raktanchal manage to live up to the expectations? Let’s find out.
Raktanchal is a crime drama based in the Poorvanchal region of Uttar Pradesh in the 80s. It is currently streaming on MX Player. Directed by Ritam Shrivastav, Raktanchal stars Kranti Prakash Jha and Nikitin Dheer in principal roles, supported by Daya Shankar Pandey, Ravi Khanvilkar, Vikram Kochchar etc. in supporting roles.
The plot revolves around the tussle between two crime syndicates – one led by Vijay Singh, and the other led by Waseem Khan. Both aim to capture a lion’s share in the tender mafia cartel of the Purvanchal region. How they operate against each other and who turns out to be the victor forms the crux of the whole story.
What stands out –
As told earlier, a good revenge story is one which is relatable, where folks like you and me can connect with the characters, and also root for the protagonist. In this context, Raktanchal has done a phenomenal job. In times of agenda driven web series like Ghoul, Betal and Sacred Games, Raktanchal is nothing less than a breeze of fresh air.
There is no doubt about the fact that Raktanchal is based on the actual gang wars that were once a norm in the Purvanchal region. However, since two web series (Mirzapur and Rangbaaz Season 1) were already made in this context, Raktanchal had a huge responsibility in hand, and to the viewer’s delight, the makers didn’t disappoint them either.
The way the screenplay has integrated with the turbulent atmosphere of that time is commendable to say the least. The writer has ensured that no viewer feels awkward or bored throughout the series. While many filmmakers and writers deliberately create sequences that insult Sanatana Dharma and glorify a certain special one, Raktanchal has not shied away from depicting the bitter truth, which is itself a daunting task, considering the sensibilities of the current times.
The Hindu-Muslim riot scene, the massacre of a family, the killing of a corrupt pseudo secular leader in a mosque is not going to go down well with the liberal cabal of the country.
The actors have also left a significant mark of their own. Daya Shankar Pandey, Chittaranjan Tripathy and Ravi Khanvilkar have done justice to their roles, while Vikram Kochchar as the trigger-happy Sanki Pandey portrayed his role well. In a way, he would remind some of the brash personality that Joe Pesci’s character Tommy De Vito in ‘Goodfellas’ was.
However, the man of the moment has to be Kranti Prakash Jha. The industry has been rather unkind to him, with very few roles that could actually match the calibre of this man’s talent. He made his mark in short but effective roles in movies like ‘MS Dhoni’ biopic and ‘Batla House’. It seems that Raktanchal in a way has done great justice to this man’s immense talent, and we hope that he gets more opportunities like these.
Vijay Singh that Kranti Prakash Jha portrays is a lovable and menacing, kind and threatening, a winner and a loser. He is a deception artist who vanishes in thin air. He is a leader who leads from the front. He is ambitious because he doesn’t stop after conquering one fort and he is spiteful because his entire life has been torn apart. He is a fighter, a lover, a family man and a leader. Vijay Singh is the perfect anti-hero. Kranti Prakash Jha’s acting is almost flawless, his accent perfect and his mannerisms absolutely relatable. There are very few actors in an industry brimming with heroes. Kranti is both. His intesity would remind you of Ajay Devgan who is Bollywood’s only hero-actor.
What could’ve been better –
There are some issues with Raktanchal, that prevented it from becoming an impeccable masterpiece. The editing was sloppy in few places, and there were scenes that could’ve literally been done without. For instance, while it is true that certain religious figures hold a significant influence in Purvanchal region, the intimate scenes between one such saint and a popular actress was rather unnecessary and completely anachronistic with respect to the plot.
While Nikitin Dheer was menacing and cruel as Waseem Khan without doubt, his accent was a disappointment. You can’t expect a Purvanchali gangster to come out and threaten in an accent that reeks of Mumbaiyya influence.
Despite these flaws, overall Raktanchal is an engaging crime drama that leaves one wanting for more. The crisp screenplay and the brilliant acting by most of the star cast is why you cannot afford to miss Raktanchal at all. TFI would give it 4 out of 5 stars.