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Naxalism debuts on the big screen: Finally.

  • Manu Agrawal

    Manu Agrawal (50 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - February 23, 2014 5:34 PM IST
    3.6DM (1874 ratings)

    Verdict - Must watch

    ChakravyuhWatch trailerRelease date : October 24, 2012

    I find it saddening that this film was not promoted the way it should be, and perhaps would never be viewed by people who are actually ignorant about the Maoist situation.

    Chakravyuh is as accurate a portrayal of the grim reality of Naxalism as you can get in commercial cinema, and at times I was surprised that this film actually got through the censors. Prakash Jha mentions Salwa Judum and Government atrocities, replaces Vedanta with Mahanta and as a coup de grace, clearly mentions at the starting that nothing is fictional, and everything is inspired from real events. Kudos!

    The film tracks Adil Khan (Rampal), a Police officer posted in a Maoist stronghold who agrees to let his friend Kabeer (Deol) infiltrate into the Naxal ranks and act as an informer for him. While initially the Police scores some big wins due to Kabeer, slowly he understands the Maoist cause, and starts getting alienated from Adil.

    The story is simplified and linear, and small events follow one another to take the narrative forward. The direction is simple and clear, which worked and failed for me at the same time - While this might be easy to understand, there was no room for subtlety or finesse. The names of the Naxal leaders like Rajan and Juhi are not topical, and the lingo was a localized form of Hindi (so that understanding is NOT hampered) which I suspect is not used anywhere. Also, Mr Jha does not let go of the urge to introduce theatrics like a mandatory item number (and the use of a previous one from Gangaajal) and product placement (XUV 500).

    Cinematically, Chakravyuh doesn't attempt greatness and steers away from subtle moral conflicts. The weakest link is shoddy acting by Arjun Rampal, Esha Gupta and the guy who played Mahanta's son. These people are simply not mature enough for a serious film. This one is a proud addition to Gupta's resume, who has only worked as eye candy thus far.

    All said and done, it takes gall to approach a controversial subject in Bollywood and treat it honestly. The film talks about the dualism of the Government and the coexistence of good/bad elements on both sides. This film should inspire better ones, and thus deserves an encouraging response and much word of mouth to succeed.

    And I have done my bit.

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