Prakash Jha’s CHAKRAVYUH marks the return of the director to his no-frills style of probing meaningful socio-political issues. It certainly will rank as mainstream Bollywood’s first contribution to highlight the Naxalism issue, although two other movies, Govind Nihalini’s HAZAR CHAURASI KI MAA (1998) and Sudhir Mishra’s HAZAARON KHWAISHEIN AISI (2005) dealt with parts of the same topic. But for more reasons than one, it will not feature as an outstanding movie, although it certainly is an above average production.
The story is interesting and had serious potential of being developed into an intense dramatic narrative. The conflict of ideologies and how it drives a wedge between relationships has been tautly brought out in Hrishikesh Mukherji’s NAMAK HARAM (1973) and Yash Chopra’s DEEWAR (1975). Prakash Jha scores in not getting into the sermonizing mode; he also avoids the common pitfall of suggesting a simplistic solution. Abhay Deol’s character has been sharply defined; he excels in portraying the sentiments of someone who undergoes a gradual transformation from being on the cops’ side to being an active participant in the Naxal activities. Giving him able support is the newcomer, Anjali Patil, who dons the female face of the movement. As the cop, Arjun Rampal is weak in his dialogue delivery and extremely restrained in displaying his emotions; and Esha Gupta as his love interest is just passable. The characters of other artists like Manoj Bajpayee and Om Puri are drawn rather sketchily and therefore hardly make any contribution worthy of recall.
CHAKRAVYUH suffers because there are no power packed and hard hitting dialogues; even where there are a few such lines, they are delivered rather tepidly. In the absence of a crisp dramatic narrative, CHAKRAVYUH meanders and comes close to being neither an entertainer nor a well starched documentary. The opening remarks about the incidents in the movie bearing resemblance to reality being conscious and not unintentional sets the tone for the movie; but was it necessary to so brazenly name the industrialist’s son Aditya (reminding us of Aditya Mittal)? Kabir Bedi’s role as the tycoon and owner of Mahanta Steel is once again flimsily drawn and enacted in a disinterested manner.
Prakash Jha must have also felt that the movie had developed with no entertainment and so has hastily introduced a Sameera Reddy item number, which has poor dancing and a poorer song as the background. Despite all this, there is an earnestness which pervades the screen in virtually every frame: the regret one has at the end of watching the movie is not about how the movie has turned out; it is rather about what the movie could have actually become in the hands of a powerful script writer like Anjum Rajabali and a director like Prakash Jha!
RATING: 3.5 out of 5
October 27th, 2012

About The eternally happy Vijay

A cheerful person who loves watching and reviewing movies and indulges in random writings!
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