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Superficial Grandstanding

  • Ameet Bhuvan

    Ameet Bhuvan (2,108 DM Points)

    Rated 
    1.5
    Desimartini | Updated - March 16, 2014 12:27 PM IST
    3.6DM (1857 ratings)

    Verdict - Passable farsical fare

    ChakravyuhWatch trailerRelease date : October 24, 2012

    Watching Chakravyuh one cannot but lament at the lows Prakash Jha as sunk to in terms of storytelling. It is hard to believe this is the same man who gave us hard hitting films like Damul, Mrityudand and Gangajal.

    Arjun Rampal is a police officer who plants his loose tempered friend Abhay Deol in Naxals ranks to secure the capture of Rajan, played by Manoj Bajpai. Abhay instead turns over into naxal folds and starts fighting against the police. Their story of betrayal and friendship runs in the backdrop of the naxal problem of India replete with land hungry politicians and businessmen and gun totting villagers.

    Chakravyuh is almost like there are two films happening parallely, occasionally meeting in points to produce disastrous results. The friendship and betrayal track struggles hard owing to some really bad acting from the leads. The track is also forced to carry on its weak back the issue of naxalism, which though well meaningly inteded, ends up stumbling.

    Jha conjours up a particularly inept cast for the entire film, right form the leads to the side characters. Save for Om Puri and Manoj Bajpai, who are criminally wasted, none of the actors are able to take their roles above mediocrity. Arjun Rampal is wooden and SRK mimic in his freshly pressed linen shirts even in the thick of MP's forests. Esha, who actually wears a perfect makeup and lipstick in the middle of an encounter with naxals, is as plastic as plastic can be. Abhay Deol is sincere like a lost lamb, unable to channel the passion his character should have to switch sides with the outbands.

    The issue at hand, though addressed with sincerity, lacks the hardhitting treatment one expects of Jha. The flash points between government, tribals business and land are simplified to the least possible denominator with stereotypes and cliches aplenty making it all seem like a school skit farce. Added to this the lengthy monologues of grandstanding between every actor makes the proceedings more like a Bhandarkar film.

    When Madhuri held a gun to her husband's head in Mrityudand, she ceased to be Madhuri the Super star, but embodied every wife in the Hindi heartland trying to reclaim respect nad dignity in a marriage. When Abhay and Arjun pit themselves against each other, all they stand for are a commercial wannabe attemtping an "actor" makeover and a actor trying to gain commercial acceptance.

    Jha himself, is on a highway to commercial sell out- box office acceptance seemingly being more important than artisitc authenticity for the director these days- nothing is more symptomatic of this than the utterly unnecessary "item song" by Sameera Reddy.

    While Chakravyuh is not as bad as his last , Aarakshan, it is not a patch on what he has done before. Watch it once for a momentary sigh and wrinkle on the forehead for the naxals and injustice. Move on to your life after the token sympathy, just like the makers of the movie seem to have done.

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