Posts Tagged ‘ Manoj Bajpai ’

Satyagraha

Satyagraha_Poster Satyagraha
Release date: August 30, 2013
Directed by: Prakash Jha
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Indraneil Sengupta, Ajay Devgn, Amrita Rao, Kareena Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai, Arjun Rampal, Vipin Sharma, Vinay Apte

Satyagraha, Prakash Jha’s take on corruption and its deep roots in our administration, has a lot to offer. Star power, acting prowess and a country background to evoke sympathy for a topic that is consistently in the headlines are the things already working in its favor.

Manav Raghavendra (Ajay Devgn) is an ambitious youngster with a capitalistic mindset, who is ironically best friends with a socially benevolent bureaucrat in the making Akhilesh Anand (Indraneil Sengupta) whose father is an upright system-bashing retired school teacher Dwarka Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) Quoting cliches and going out on a limb against Manav’s existence, Dwarka drives him out of their home and poor Manav can’t even attend Akhilesh and Sumitra’s (Amrita Rao) wedding. Flash forward a few years down the line and both Akhilesh and Manav are in their desired positions.

Tragedy soon strikes and the Anand family faces the ignominy of paying up bribes for their deserved rights and payments. This is where the premise of an impending revolution is laid, as the promises made by the partisan leader Balram Singh (Manoj Bajpai) turn out to be void. In the absence of a second-in-command for the awakening, a small time baahubali Arjun (Arjun Rampal) and the returning tycoon Manav offer support. Incorporating the Satyendra Dubey case and the inception and the eventual falling out of the Jan Lokpal committee,

Satyagraha has less to offer on the shock factor, but the focus at how the decisions and the internal conflicts of the members of the committee develops an interesting story. The individual characters’ dilemmas show how possibly the actual Jan Lokpal could have possibly disintegrated. As much as all other of Jha’s recent films are laced with an antagonist with an underlying dumb sense of humor, Balram and his lackeys possess the same traits.

The screenplay is testing at times, the drama starts gripping you around the halfway mark. The best part about Satyagraha though is that all the characters have shades of gray, they commit mistakes and they realize (of course it’s the good guys I’m talking about) there is character growth and a graph which is clearly visible. And as for the actors, they put in great effort to play their parts right. But there’s a certain level of phony air surrounding the film which simply doesn’t let go till the end. Like Bachchan is emaciated right until the climax, but suddenly cuts a different figure at the end. The sound quality of the dialogue is suddenly very low. The extras appear clueless.

Consequently, Satyagraha is a good drama with some usual staple typecasting and unimaginative lines. Not the best film about the concerned topic, surely competitive.

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

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)

Gangs of Wasseypur 2


Gangs of Wasseypur 2
Release date: August 8, 2012
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Pankaj Tripathi, Satya Anand, Raj Kumar Yadav, Zeishan Quadri, Richa Chadda, Anurita Jha, Vineet Kumar, Piyush Mishra, Jameel Khan, Reemma Sen

Revenge was the center point of Gangs of Wasseypur and with the change in characters and situations, the theme gets gory and murkier. The lines which were drawn earlier are now more unclear than ever. And with the evolution of the story the realistic moral values of the characters also get a tweak in the form of double-crosses and debaucheries.

The earlier part presented us with a massive narrative that spun around three generations with its central protagonist – Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai) – inflicted by gunshots mercilessly fired at him by Sultan (Pankaj Tripathi) and his partners at a petrol pump. This is the starting point of our second part.
This film is set in a shorter time-period. Starting from late eighties-early nineties and going up till 2009.

Danish Khan (Vineet Kumar) had always been the more active of Sardan Khan’s sons as he was the oldest and definitively loyal to his family, unlike some of his family members who held a few grudges against their patriarch. Nagma (Richa Chadda) insists her sons to avenge their father’s death and soon, the third generation of the Khan household steps into the battleground for a final all guns blaring battle of brutality.

Faizal Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) was shown as the ever ganja smoking, cinema-influenced physically meek brother who never wanted to get involved in  Sardar’s dirty business. The increasing number of deaths in his family drives him to the edge and soon, Faizal is the new Sardar. Faizal’s half brother Definite (Zeishan Quadri) was born and brought up at the Khan arch nemesis Ramadhir Singh household. Definite also, like the rest of Bihar/Jharkhand wants to be the next top-gun mafia head.

Perpendicular a.k.a. Babua is Faizal’s brother and is perhaps one of the most interesting characters ever created. With his razor blade chewing skills that terrorizes everyone alike, Perpendicular creates havoc by robbing everything from groceries to jewelry. Shamshad Alam (Raj Kumar Yadav) sweet talks his way into Faizal’s empire by making ridiculously inappropriate business plans with his own intentions of reaching the top.

Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) tries to rope in every wayward soul that works for Faizal and make them work in his favor. Though limited in presence, Ramadhir sure has some helluva punching lines. Mohsina (Huma Qureshi) is the anchor to Faizal’s struggling ship. She pumps up his confidence with a song and few sensual hugs, which never look questionable or unconvincing.

The chase sequences also get a touch of Wasseypur and turn out to be hilarious. They are so precious that I will not even divulge any more than that. Anurag Kashyap again guarantees visually appealing dimly-lit shots, nothing short of aesthetically orgasmic. Every loose end of the earlier part finds a logical connection and closing in this part except for a few. (Too intrinsic to be listed)

G.V. Prakash’s haunting background score reappears and still remains captivating alongside with Sneha Khanwalkar’s brilliant music which cannot be just described in enough words. Zeishan Qureshi’s debut isn’t your quintessential one, but it sure is brilliantly earthy and convincing. Nawazuddin Siddiqui treats the camera like it’s his long-lost lovelorn partner and gives out a passionately wonderful performance as the conflicted Faizal.

Gangs of Wasseypur Part One was defined by powerful ensemble actors and this part finely encapsulates the ‘other guys’ as vital players. This may not be as grand as the first part, but it’s more slick, cutting and hip. Hat tip to the well-depicted action scenes with detailing the tiniest of bloodspills. Gangs of Wasseypur 2 need not be compared with the first part as it is a completely different and separated product which delivers a new jolt to the impending masterpiece.

Now why do you even need any more reasons to watch it?

My rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Gangs of Wasseypur

Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1
Release Date: June 22, 2012
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Richa Chadda, Jaideep Ahlawat, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Piyush Mishra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Reemma Sen, Huma Qureshi, Pankaj Tripathi, Jameel Khan

La vengeance se mange très-bien froide – which means, “revenge is a dish best served cold” from French novel Mathilde by Marie Joseph Eugène Sue is perhaps the center-point of this magnum opus. The canvas is set for fluent masterstrokes for Anurag Kashyap and his meticulously selected creative team and cast alike. Gangs of Wasseypur is set in different eras, where the definition of revenge keeps evolving.

The opening sequence starts from a scene that has a significant futuristic importance.  Shahid Khan (Jaideep Ahlawat) goes against the tide in his village and bears the brunt of that sin, giving rise to an insane need of seeking vendetta from the wrongdoers of Shahid in Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai). Sardar knows what exactly happened and promises to not rest until he gets blood on his hands. Literally, and figuratively. Richa Chadda plays the role of Najma, Sardar’s wife, and she brings the same amount of confidence and ease that she did in Oye Lucky Lucky Oye as Dolly. Najma puts up with Sardar’s all habits with her own inane traits.

Tigmanshu Dhulia with his portrayal of Ramadhir Singh shows you a formidable villain under that director’s hat. Sardar’s indiscretions carry on and reach their peak when he comes across incredibly attractive and young Durga (Reemma Sen) who’s yet a virgin. Ramadhir hangs on to his powerful position while Sardar carries on with his domination, unaware of his intentions. Meanwhile, Sardar’s neighbors from his village seek his help to get rid of the newfound dominance of Sultan Khan (Pankaj Tripathi) from the Qureshi household. Here cultivates the ultimate combination of gory means to establish dominance and put the adversary down in the most gruesome manner.

Nawazuddin plays Faizal Khan , Sardar’s younger son. He’s that somewhat dull kid of the family. He sets his eyes on the strikingly vivacious Mohsina (Huma Qureshi) and plays out an interesting small-town budding romance between them. Gangs of Wasseypur leaves at a break-point where you can’t seem to get enough of the flowing storyline. Do not leave your seats until the end credits finish rolling out, that’s when you get to see the trailer for the next part.

With little scope to display his love for brilliant cinematographic spots with colored themes in the background, Kashyap makes the optimum use of every possible chance that he gets. Making the already binding plot more juicy and visually appealing. The running time could be touted as long, but not once did this viewer stare at his watch in dismay and pain. Gangs of Wasseypur could spoil you with all its seeming perfectness and excellent background scores that provide that ‘extra’ bit of push into the building thrill. No point in raving more about Sneha Khanwalkar’s haunting and well-researched musical compositions.

Jiya Ho Bihar Ka Lala gives you that great question mark at the end making you lust for more of this film. Kudos to the writers and everyone involved in developing the rust-free screenplay that is exhaustive and extensive at the same time.

Gangs of Wasseypur might be compared to the Godfather series and the likes, but it has surely redefined Indian gangster flicks. GoW is a must watch in every aspect.

My rating: ****1/2 (4.5 out of 5) 

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