Raja Jayvardhan (Boman Irani) is the king of Devigarh Fort, although kingdom era is gone, democracy is there in India, but in this part of Rajasthan, the king still rules the people (who are mainly poor farmers) in the villages around by grabbing their farms in lieu of a handful of money as loan which they can’t pay back and hence surrender their lands. Rani Suhasini Devi (Sharmila Tagore) is married to Raja Jayvardhan and after marriage she comes to know that Raja is impotent. Her mother-in-law allows her to have children from their loyal guard Eklavya (Amitabh Bachan) under the name of a religious royal ritual. The Rani and Guard decide to have physical just for the sake of children and forget it forever. Eklavya’s fore-fathers have been serving Devigarh and its ruler for years with just one intention – that is to do their best to protect the ruler.
Rani Suhasini Devi is on death bed and calls for Eklavya in her unconscious state. King is shocked by this as it strikes to him that it is Eklavya and not any Religious Guru who is the father of their children and he kills Rani which is witnessed by their mentally retarded daughter Nandini (Raima Sen). Nandini is the twin sister of Prince Harshvardhan (Saif Ali Khan) who has gone abroad (for studies or what – not clear!) is called back to Devigarh for the last rituals of his mother. Jayvardhan hires his brother Jyotivardhan (Jackie Shroff) to kill Harshvardhan for 1.5 crores since he is the son of Rani and Eklavya which he is not able to absorb and also he is the only person who can claim the kingdom. Meanwhile Harshvardhan gets a letter from his childhood friend Rajjo (Vidya Balan) whom he intends to marry too. The letter was given to Rajjo by Rani Suhasini Devi to hand it over to Harshvardhan and advise him to read it alone. The letter discloses the fact that Nandini and Harshvardhan’s father is Eklavya and it is the duty of Harshvardhan to safeguard his old father who has a problem of poor visibility. Co-incidentally Harshwardhan gets his hands on a painting drawn by Nandini which depicts Rani Suhasini being killed by the King. Harsvardhan hires back the same person, his uncle Jyotivardhan for ten times the cost, to kill his father. Raja Jayvardhan. Jyotovardhan along with his son Udayvardhan (Jimmy Shergill) kills Jayvardhan when Jayvardhan is going in his car driven by his driver who is Rajjo’s father and Jayvardhan’s driver (Prikshit Sahni) and Eklavya. The plan is that Harshvardhan will kill Eklavya at a place near to the station and the blame will be passed on to the poor farmers. But instead Jayvardhan gets killed and a partial blame is put on Eklavya as he could not safeguard Jayvardhan. DSP Pannalal (Sanjay Dutt) is handling this case, who has risen from a very low cast to the level of DSP, who respects Eklavya and knows that he can’t do anything wrong and against the Palace. Eklavya gets to know that it is Jyotivardhan and Udayvardhan who killed Jayvardhan and for the sake of his loyalty he murders both of them. While killing them he comes to know that they were hired by none other than Harshvardhan for this killing. He comes back to the palace to kill Harshvardhan sine he had killed the king of the Palace, knowing that Harshvardhan cannot be wrong, knowing that Harshvardhan is his own son.
Will Eklavya cut off the thumb of his right hand one again to please somebody?
Ultimately all the lands are given back to poor farmers. With the trick of DSP Pannalal Eklavya is cleared off from the murders he did. And Rajjo gets married to Harshvarshan.
My take on this movie:
Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra has done a marvellous job with the great team for acting, Cinematography and background music. There are special effects and Cameraman has done a superb job. All the actors have equally impressed. There is only one song in the movie and that was the demand of this movie to reflect how much attached Harshvardhan was to Rani Suhasini Devi, how much he loves and cares for his mentally retarded sister Nandini and how much he trusts Rajjo. Movie is short, just 13 Reels and less than two hours of duration. Sequences are engrossing and get you thoroughly involved in the movie. It has no loose threads at all. Suspsense, more suspense and some more suspense is there that binds you and keeps you alive. No time for popcorns, cold drinks and chit-chat. Story and direction overpowers the acting and cast as per my views. That does not mean that the later two were less important but the first two are more powerful..