I have to admit that I watched Nayak under less than ideal circumstances, and previous commitments and life events prevented me from seeing it in even two or three installments. I think I lost my momentum after the bus-top chase scene and never really rejoined the story. In the end, my disbelief suspenders could not hold up under the ridiculousness of the story, however idealistic and democratic it was - which is pretty much what happens to Shivajirao too. I think there were just too many things going on in too many different directions in too many different styles for me to hang on. So, yeah, this movie didn't do much for me, although I am extremely grateful to have seen several of its songs (more on that in a mo), and reducing this movie to just the A. R. Rahman moments - and the one where Anil and Johny reenact a bit of Hero No.1 - would be just fine by me.
This movie also kept reminding me of something Harrison Ford would have done about ten years ago. One part Air Force One + one part Witness + one part villain from Temple of Doom. Can't you imagine him holding on behind the bus, as if it were being driven by Nazis, and then somehow getting himself on top of it? And reaching his boiling point when he finds out young women are abused ("teased," as subtitles always say in these movies, which bothers me immensely) as they try to go to school? And risking himself when he thinks a small child might be hurt by a bomb? Totally Harrison Ford.
However, I must say that the song with the pot-, sunflower-, corn-, pumpkin-, and doll-people is one of the most fun picturizations ever, bursting with color and tourism-brochure-worthy scenes of flowers and fields and giant murals made out of painted pottery. The snakes and ladders game is incredibly cool too. And next time I find myself smitten-kitten I am going to hit him with the very best "Shakalaka Baby" I can manage, even if it means hauling in my own spotlights and wind machine - although, on second thought, if it doesn't work for Sushmita, how could it possibly work for a mere mortal? ¿Que pasa en la cabeza? ¡Aye caramba!
Aside to Rani: why did you do this movie? What a throwaway part. I would have passed this to Amisha Patel.
Aside to Amisha: no offense. You just haven't impressed me particularly in the few movies of yours I've seen, which is largely because the characters didn't have much going for them, so it's not really your fault.
Aside to people in charge of coming up with the bit part characters: I love the SRK-lookalike during the "who do you want for CM?" scene. That was great. And I love the typewriter-wielding government guy even more.
Aside to choreographer: I wish you had made fuller use of the bit with Manjari messing up Shivajirao's books on the table in "Saiyyan." There is little hotter than that.