Satyamev Jayate 2 review: John Abraham's muscles are the stars of this problematic and cliched vigilante drama
If you have been an audience to any of writer turned filmmaker Milap Zaveri’s previous works, you’d know precisely what you have signed up for when you walk into watch Satyamev Jayate 2 which stars John Abraham in a triple role. Despite needing no brain cells at all to enjoy this triple-decker patriotic outing, I feel a few brain cells lighter walking out of the cinema hall after this loud and boisterous celebration of Zaveri’s problematic version of patriotism.
While meant merely for entertainment, the film’s answer to corruption seems to be the misuse of power and vigilantism of the most problematic order. The story follows twin brothers Satya and Jai who wish to end corruption in the country to fulfill the dream of their late father (Dadasheb Azaad) who died fighting for this very cause. Satya grows up to be a State Home Minister who fails in convincing everyone in the State Assembly, even his own wife (played by Divya Khosla Kumar) of the need to pass an anti-corruption bill. His sing-song catchphrases and muscles are put to task as plan B then to attain these goals. Satya turns a vigilante by night after his failed attempt at ending corruption the lawful way (which presumably is the only reason he turned to politics in the first place).
The only punishment in Satya’s vigilante court is death ideally similar to the one the criminal’s victims suffered. He deals with cases of corrupt hospital staff, businessmen, rapists, and even law enforcers working under his very nose. The minister’s twin brother Jai who is a police officer is then put to task to catch this vigilante killer who is being hailed as a hero by the media. The film then turns into a John vs. John tale until it spins on its head is no more one. Satyamev Jayate 2 relies solely on John’s ’56 inch ka seena’ and muscle flexing and a lot of catchphrase heavy dialogue baazi which is put to use generously throughout the nearly two hours and thirty minutes of the film’s run time.
As for the rest, the film is sprinkled with twin brother clichés, slow motion action sequences, and loopholes bigger than potholes of a road that any corrupt minister could be responsible for. Satyamev Jayate 2’s narrative can best be described as a series of distractions, including a display of John’s chiseled body from every possible camera angle, till Zaveri decides it is finally time to get to a rather predictable climax where the two brothers have to fight each other in front of their own mother.
The third John, in case you were wondering, is the father of the twins Dadasheb Azaad. He is the star of an elaborate flashback sequence as a man of the masses who goes on a hunger strike and walks from Varanasi to Lucknow in protest against the corrupt government, till his very protest becomes the reason behind his death. His teaching to his two sons, ‘taan maan dhan se pehle jan gan maan,’ however, lives on. The flashback pops up when least expected and eventually forms the crux of the story in the second half which it turns out is the only part that matters.
Stayamev Jayate 2 begins as a narrative raising a voice against corruption with a rather hyper nationalistic tone which is neither massy nor classy and ends gloriously as a revenge story which is sure to leave you confused. The two halves could be complete movies in themselves with no dearth of villains to be John’s punching bags. The cast delivers on their end showing faith in Zaveri's writing and dialogues.
If we even leave the problematic narrative of the film aside, Satyamev Jayate 2 brings nothing new to the table for even the masala-loving Bollywood fans who are sure to have witnessed this set of clichés before.