I saw Chakravyuh on the heels of the Mumbai Film Festival where for a week I viewed movies a day from the world over. It was a mixed bag with some being surreal, some steeped in emotion and some that simply told a good story. The thing in common between all these movies was the sense of telling a truth as closely as possible. The surrealist ones made your mind swirl, the emotional ones had me crying out aloud and the good story just made me say 'wow'.
Perhaps I was spoilt by this week of truth and expected the same from Chakravyuh. Perhaps it was too much to expect but I came away disappointed on all counts with the movie. The 'Naxal movement is a strong point to build a story on and there is a lot that a film can build on emotionally and politically taking that issue as a central theme.
Chakravyuh offers a sanitized version of the whole issue. the villagers wear spotless white saris and the posters on the police walls look fresh out of a photocopier, as my friend pointed out to me. It is also a bit unbelievable that someone as urbane and suave looking as Abhay Deol can infiltrate the Naxal inner group and convince them of his authenticity.
The characters of both, the cop Adil played by Arjun Rampal and Kabir his close friend are badly sketched. Their motivations for their actions are not fully explained which leaves you unconvinced about their characters.
If an audience starts laughing at the most emotional and critical juncture in the movie you know that all is lost. And that is what happened in Chakravyuh at the end and I as part of the audience laughed maybe the loudest. Esha Gupta's dialogue at the end will perhaps go down as the most ridiculous two words ever said in a death scene in a movie.
I just expected much more from Chakravyuh. There is so much debate and conflict in the Naxal issue and there is so much to discuss and ponder. But what we get is some diluted version of the 'Jay-Veeru friendship ( and I felt definite homosexual undertones, though that may be due to too many sex scenes in the Film Festival 'movies!) and a cosmetic glossed over sanitized pat approach to the whole debate. Disappointing.view less