You know it's a Prakash Jha film when you see a socio-political background. You know it's a Prakash Jha film when you see all the biggies of B-Town coming together to give the best performances of their lives and you know it's a Prakash Jha film when there are too many sermons to preach. But any overkill in any of the above can throw you into the pits of boredom. Jha's latest release Satyagraha gets mired by such an overkill. We tell you know how.
Satyagraha reflects the uprising of middle class against a corrupt and unjust system. It is the story of a dynamic and ambitious young man who is poised for corporate success when a personal tragedy exposes him to the shocking consequences of corruption in this country. It's the story of a man who is a firm believer of Gandhian principles (Amitabh Bachchan), an ambitious entrepreneur who represents the modern India shining philosophy (Ajay Devgn), a social activist who aims to be a politician (Arjun Rampal), a fearless political journalist (Kareena Kapoor Khan) and a wily politician (Manoj Bajpayee) who uses every means to break the system.
For long Jha has been incessantly claiming that his film doesn't reflect the Anna Hazare movement, neither does it showcase the relationship between Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal however, one wonders while watching the film what harm could it have been had the film just taken inspiration from the real life incident after all. It would've just given the relatable edge. The film, purely going by its story, appears nothing but a rehash of Jha's treatment of the yore, except despite claiming it to be Raajneeti sequel, it doesnt doesn't provide any edge of your seat moment.
There's nothing unseen or novel in his story-telling this time around and hence despite addressing the plaguing issues of scams, corruption and lawlessness, the film fails to bear any impact. The dramatisation of the events rob Satyagraha of the realistic appeal that Jha's films inherently possessed in the past owing to which neither does the situation hit you nor does it give you any message. Moreover, during the course of two and a half hours, the film ends up appearing way too preachy for your taste.
But to give credit where it's due, Prakash Jha has a unique knack of putting together a pitch perfect ensemble cast. Needless to say, the iconic superstar Amitabh Bachchan excels as the brooding but determined father. However, it's getting tedious to watch him repeat such roles over and over again. Mr. B, it's time to change gears!
Both Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor Khan tirelessly try to make the contrived plots seem believable but you can easily spot the chinks in the armour. While Ajay Devgn appears slightly incongrous as the young, out of college entrepreneur, Kareena's scribe act is far from real.
There's hardly anything to add to Arjun Rampal's performance. Like in every Manoj Bajpayee-Prakash Jha film, in Satyagraha too it is Bajpayee who outshines everyone and emerges as the star. You'll take an instant disliking to his devious ways which is highly commendable. His effort of infusing laughter to his menacing character is laudable.
To sum it up, Satyagraha is nothing but a superficial and half-baked attempt at putting forth a volatile socio-political issue. Watch it only for the performances.