Talking Movies

Talking Movies
Talking movies

Thursday, 25 October 2012


Director Prakash Jha’s Chakravyuh, like his previous film, Aarakshan, takes up a relevant issue, gives it a sufficient entertainment quotient but refuses to push the political envelope.Nandighat is a village (fictional) taken over by Naxalites who have killed 84 policemen. This powerful backdrop along with a story taken from a few real incidents, immediately draws you in. A cop, Adil (Arjun Rampal) arrests a key Naxalite leader, Govind Suryavanshi (Om Puri). Industrialist, Mahanta (Kabir Bedi) announces grand plans of opening an international university in Nandighat which is in Naxalite hands. Adil is sent to Nadighat to eradicate the place of terrorist leaders including Rajen (Manoj Bajpayee).
 Adil’s close friend, Kabir (Abhay Deol) offers to help him by joining the movement himself and be an undercover informer. Kabir wins over a notorious and fiery leader, Juhi (Anjali Patil) who has killed 49 cops. Here onwards, the film moves to Kabir getting sucked into a Chakravyuh of his own making. Chakravyuh has a good story (Anjum Rajabali), a somewhat convenient, matter of fact screenplay (Prakash Jha, Anjum, Sagar Pandya) and average dialogues (Prakash Jha, Anjum). The plot with good use of action sequences in rustic Chattisgarh locales, gets interesting once it follows Kabir’s involvement and just stops short of advocating Naxalism. 
A scene stands out significantly, showcasing the realities of Adivasis taking up a cause in total ignorance. Kabir while training the tribals, takes his count beyond twenty. A fellow leader tells him to start again from the count of one. ”Why?” Kabir asks. ”Aagey ki ginti nahin jaante hain,” the explanation is simple. Kabir reacts in stupefied wonder, ”Politics..kranti ..samajh mein aata hai..”
However, this is the only scene that comes close to hard hitting truths. The rest of the film ends up merely as an interesting drama involving two friends on opposite sides. The friendship between Adil and Kabir in the beginning is not established well enough to provide any kind of loyalty tug. The story plays safe as it doesn’t venture into exploring the Naxalite voice represented by Bajpayee and Om Puri who remain caricatures mouthing a few speeches. The political, industrial nexus too, remains sketchy and predictable. Kabir’s acceptance into the Naxalite camp is handled with too much ease and convenience. 
What begins as an interesting and honest perspective of both the police/capitalist and Naxalite, essentially doing the same right or wrong, caught in helpless political web of corruption, remains just a bird’s eye view. It would have been an engrossing and excellent drama if the story had moved deeper into Kabir’s shift of ideologies instead of taking refuge in police atrocities. 
Music is in keeping with the film’s tone. A.M.Turaz’s lyrics in ‘mehengayi ‘song says it all-- “Arey humre hi khoon se inka, Humre hi khoon se inka, Engine chale dhakadhak, Aam aadmi ki jeb ho gayi hai safachat”. 
Amongst the cast, Abhay Deol as Kabir does his best but is not quite as effective as his previous film, ‘Shanghai’. Arjun Rampal, and Esha Gupta with their chiseled looks are miscast though they do try hard to be desi cops. 
Manoj Bajpayee and Om Puri are equally unconvincing with belting out repetitive ‘lal salaam’ slogans. Anjali Patil in a strong debut role, is quite competent. 
Chakravyuh at best remains a perfect counter point drama unexplored fully. 

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