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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Movie Review: Satyagraha


The revolution that went p-h-u-s-s!!
MONOJIT LAHIRI | New Delhi, September 6, 2013 11:55
Tags : Satyagraha | Movie Review | Prakash Jha | Lokpal Bill | Amitabh Bachchan | Ajay Devgn |

In the Bollywood jungle, film maker Prakash Jha is a rare and engendered species!  Bold, audacious, committed and single-minded, his cinema – from Damul to Satyagraha – remains a celebration of social issues that need to be looked at up-close and hard… and need to be corrected with passion & purpose.  Forever eschewing glamour and starry posturing – give or take the odd item number! – Jha’s material has always tried to blend entertainment with seriousness in an intelligent yet audience-friendly manner.  For his pains, he has earned a reputation of being a talent who does not compromise with his core themes and goes the distance to deliver.

Post the hugely popular Rajneeti – where Mahabharat met Godfather! – both Arakshan & Chakravyuh goofed it, big time.  Tragically Satyagraha follows their tragic example.  It is clearly (despite his and his team’s naïve and silly denials) taken from the recent Anna Hazare movement and may have rocked had it released when the phenomenon was on fire.  Today, it is all history and to a promiscuous & novelty-hungry, Chennai Express audience, it is tame, fake and too didactic & rigid to ring true.  The entire narrative of Devgun’s transformation from a corporate tycoon to an activist coloured by Bachchan’s powerful addressal of corruption and governance, the glam media’s babe, Kareena, the evil, insidious Manoj Bajpayee, the youth leader exploding, Arjun Rampal …seems too pat.  All the performances are good (especially Big B, Devgun & Manoj) but overall it appears to be a playback of his earlier films and a little too filmy for comfort.

Prakash Jha is a fine film maker, honest, committed and brave, but that’s not good enough for audience-engagement.  Well-intentioned Satyagraha is a revolution that is more of a cardboard cut-out than the real thing, falling in the doomed space between art house, middle of the road and escapist.  Clearly, this is one revolution that the
aam aadmi is likely to pass over!

Director: Prakash Jha

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Amitabh Bachchan, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpai, Kareena Kapoor, Amrita Rao


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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017