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Satyagraha review: Despite a relevant social message, the film loses grip, satyagraha movie, political issue, Prakash Jha film, latest movie reviews. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Neha   
Thursday, 05 September 2013 09:51
Satyagraha review: Despite a relevant social message, the film loses grip, satyagraha movie, political issue, Prakash Jha film, latest movie reviews.
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee, Amrita Rao
Direction: Prakash Jha
Rating4 Star Rating: Recommended4 Star Rating: Recommended
satyagraha 660 083013015500

Raajneeti got it right. Aarakshan messed it up midway. Chakravyuh looked like Prakash Jha was not even sure of what he was doing. The writer-director's fetish for cocktailing topical realism and box-office friendly masala continues with Satyagraha. A comparative analysis of Jha's recent oeuvre becomes essential because in look and rendition Satyagraha reminds you of every film the director has made Raajneeti onwards.

If the Prakash Jha film in itself has become a formula, his latest does not break the pattern. The film is well-intentioned film, its message relevant. Unfortunately, not every well-intentioned film with relevant message leaves an impact. Satyagraha is more Aarakshan than Raajneeti in quality.

Jha's latest leaves an impression mainly because his issue at hand has pressed us all more than anything else in recent times. The film addresses corruption in governance and makes the case for a public uprising to thwart the malady. He may have denied it but any resemblance Jha's film bears to the Anna Hazare movement is far from coincidental. Sure, Amitabh Bachchan's satyagrahi Dwarka Anand bears no physical traits similar to Kisan Baburao Hazare.

In reference (if Hazare is called Anna, Dwarka is referred to as Daduji) and its Gandhian spirit, the mould is the same. Like Anna's activism too, Dwarka takes to hunger strike to inspire the masses. The idea must have seemed a sureshot winner when the film was launched. In 2016, when Anna fever has somewhat waned, Satyagraha struggles to generate drama using that real-life reference.

You realise the film's drawback taking as much into account. Despite its pertinent influence from reality, the drama loses grip with each passing minute. The script (Jha and Anjum Rajabali) imagines Ajay Devgn as Manav Raghavendra, ambitious telecom tycoon who lives to mint money. That Manav's ideology does not bode well with his best friend Akhilesh's father, retired school principal Dwarka Anand, is established early on. After Akhilesh dies in what seems like a road accident, Manav is gradually exposed to the level of corruption inherent in the government machinery.

A chain of incidents will lead to Dwarka launching a hunger strike movement against forces that threaten democracy.The wide mix of characters thrown in are too obviously either white or black, no grey shades in Jha's world of realism. Kareena Kapoor Khan's TV journalist or Arjun Rampal's local goon/politician with a heart of gold cry out from their first scene that they are to be counted as the good guys. Just as it doesn't take you a moment to figure out Manoj Bajpayee's wily home minister will provide the film its evil edge for the rest of its runtime.

For a film so dedicated to its message, such flat characterisation is baffling. Still, Ajay Devgn makes an impressive Manav. His morphing from a corpo high-flyer to the man who learns to see the pain on the streets is gradual and authentic. Kareena would seem a tad too glamorous for a hard-boiled TV reporter, her make-up and wardrobe curiously never missing the style index no matter what situation she is in. Her love story with Manav looks forced into the screenplay.

Finally, Big B. It is a performance that virtually dominates every twist of mood in the narrative. After two and half hours of a performance finely-nuanced, Jha gives an unbelievably filmy end to Dwarka's fate. If you still find yourself marvelling at the man's screen presence, that's Amitabh Bachchan for you.