Chakravyuh


Chakravyuh
Release date: October 24, 2012
Directed by: Prakash Jha
Cast: Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol, Esha Gupta, Om Puri, Manoj Bajpai, Anjali Patil, Murli Sharma, Chetan Pandit, Kiran Karmarkar, Kabir Bedi, S.M. Zaheer

Surrounded by the Kauravas, Abhimanyu is lynched by the ‘chakravyuh’ and Arjuna sees light and rides onto his stallion into the battleground. This is what Mahabharata signifies the importance of chakravyuh as. Does this film actually stands true to its supposed symbolism? A few more paragraphs, perhaps.

Set in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh and its surrounding states, Prakash Jha presents an urban tale of Naxalism with a strong undercurrent of a moral dilemma situation between its protagonists. Adil Khan (Arjun Rampal) is an honest and daring cop. His wife, Rhea Menon (Esha Gupta) is also a cop and works with him in the same department. Adil and Kabir (Abhay Deol) are thick friends and the former even pays for the latter’s college fees through his own scholarship.

A small tussle of egos is depicted with utter irreverence and a feeling of being irrelevant to the subsequent plot. Adil is posted in a Naxalite area, Nandighat and he takes the challenge head on, he eventually creates a plan with Kabir to help him infiltrate the Red Army and make him work as a police’s rat. Kabir, being the volatile rebel, slowly immerses himself into the skin of a Marxist.
Rajan (Manoj Bajpai) and Juhi (Anjali Patil) along with Murli Sharma – whose character’s name I can’t recollect,  sorry – are the heads wanted dead or alive with a bounty on them. They are at the front of Naxalite operations in Nandighat where Adil is newly posted. Om Puri plays Govind Suryavanshi, who is their spiritual and ideological leader.

The actual story of Chakravyuh isn’t the struggle of the Naxals in their own country or the pressing of innocent civilians between the crossfire of the Government and the rebels. It’s the collective infighting of a countryman against another one of his own tribe. There are a lot of moments that border on fringe polarization and straightforward sensationalism, creating a painful view while those scenes last. The background score and the limited music are exceptionally loud most of the times, again, painful. The dialogue isn’t too memorable for such a bold venture as well, but it isn’t quite too finicky and old either.

Overall, Chakravyuh is a well-intentioned film that left this viewer underwhelmed. The film somehow never carries on to that ‘next level’ and the first half turns out to be very slow. Hence, pacing into the climax.  Though bold in its approach (not exactly) and names (yes, totally) with Mahanto, Nandighat you know what Jha’s aiming for, but eventually the film lacks the required finesse.

Chakravyuh is a smarter film compared to a lot of its competition, but that can’t be reason enough for everyone to watch it.

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 out of 5)

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