Posts Tagged ‘ Prakash Jha ’

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)

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