Prakash Jha has recently lost his mojo somewhat with all of his films starting to feel and look the same. Raajneeti, Aarakshan and even Chakravuyh all dealt with important socio-political events in the country’s milieu but only Raajneeti somehow managed to be commercially successful. This time Prakash Jha and his long time collaborato-cum-writer Anjum Rajabali deal with the Anna Hazare movement and bring together another solid cast. So is Jha able to recreate the magic of Raajneeti, Damul, Apaharan? Let’s discuss and dissect.
Story: The main protagonist of the story is Dwarkanath Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) who is a Gandhian in his philosophical thoughts. When after the death of his son (Indraneil Sengupta), his daughter-in-law (Amrita Rao) doesn’t receive any compensation from the minister who promised to give them compensation Balram Singh (Manoj Bajpai), he unwittingly starts a Jan Satyagraha movement across the nation. A multi-millionaire friend of Anand’s, Manav Raghavendra (Ajay Devgn) comes to the help of the movement and mobilizes the movement. Anand also receives support from a local politician called Arjun (Arjun Rampal) who is not the strictest follower of Gandhian principles. Another main character who joins their movement is an influential journalist Yasmin Ahmed (Kareena Kapoor Khan). The story moves forward with twists and turns and giving you any further details will spoil the film.
Satyagraha Movie Review
Screenplay and Direction: The screenplay is laced with events that have made news in India over the past couple of years and they have been given a fictional touch. Jha raises some pertinent issues which are hampering the growth of this country and for much of the running time manages to evoke a sense of guilt inside you for not contributing enough to stop the prevalent corruption in India. The writers Anjum Rajabali and Rutvik Oza deserve special credits for their work. Where the screenplay falters in, are the romantic exchanges between Manav and Yasmin. This romantic track is an unnecessary diversion. Prakash Jha is back to his Raajneeti elements and manages to give all the important characters their due.
Miscellaneous and Music: The cinematography of Satyagraha by Sachin Krishna is expansive and manages to capture the large scale of the movie in his frames. He is ably supported by the set designers who give the film a realistic touch. The editing is a bit lazy with the climax stretching out for a few extra minutes without any desired effects. The music too isn’t the best thing about the film but because of the genre of the film we don’t notice it too much. The reworking of the “Raghupati Raghav” song is good, nonetheless with the lyrics managing to make a mark.
Acting: The biggest selling point of Satyagraha is without any doubt the cast that Jha has assembled. Two actors give standout performances – Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpai. Amitabh Bachchan embodies the fight and struggle of a modern day revolutionary and makes you weep with his performance. It is certainly one of his best performances in recent times. Manoj Bajpai can now play the role of a Prakash Jha film’s villain in his sleep. His performance of the all-black is sadistic and at the same time humorous. Ajay Devgn is also good in his role but I felt he should have taken it to the next level with his brooding expressions. Kareena Kapoor Khan also manages to make a mark inspite of not having the most detailed character. Arjun Rampal continues his fine form over from D-Day and does well, once again. Amrita Rao plays the role of a silent spectator to the best of her abilities. The other supporting characters are appropriate in their roles.
Conclusion and Box Office: Overall, Satyagraha manages to make a mark in your conscience because of the important issues it talks about. If you manage to overlook a few of the film’s logical loopholes, Satyagraha is definitely an entertaining social lesson. Box office wise, I expect the film to do well inspite of the heavy flow of releases scheduled for the next few weeks. Audiences will enjoy Amitabh Bachchan’s Anand the most and it should set the cash registers ringing.
- Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpai’s performances
- The important issues it raises
- The screenplay flows along nicely
- Prakash Jha’s direction
- All of the characters have been given enough screen presence
- The editing
- The music