T-Series and Emmay Entertianment present “Satyameva Jayate”
Produced by: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Monisha Advani, Madhu Bhojwani & Nikkhil Advani
Written & directed by: Milap Zaveri
Music: Sajid-Wajid, Tanishk Bagchi, Arko & Rochak Kohli
Starring: John Abraham, Aisha Sharma, Manoj Bajpayee, Amruta Khanvilkar, Manish Chaudhari, Nora Fatehi, Abhishek Khandekar, Ganesh Yadav, Shaikh Sami Usman, Rajesh Khera, Ankur Sharma, Chetan Pandit, Archita Agarwal & others
It is ages since we got such a mainstream product where consciously cocking a snook at logic is the motto. Those who will watch the film may ask whether the hero-heroine meeting was planned, why the artist Veer (John Abraham), a vigilante, paints portraits of his victims and still asks the investigating team how they cottoned on to him, how a decrepit location was decorated in the end, why an altruistic man completely ignores the collateral damage to institutions like a hospital, a police station, and a gas station, among others. And finally, it is never let on how the hero comes to know the truth about his father’s suicide.
No, there are no spoilers above, but the film is a no-brainer throughout, unlike similar entertainers that reflect angst against the system and are made so skillfully in the South. Depending upon your perception, both the best and worst part about “Satyameva Jayate” is that it will work big-time at single-screens (mass theaters) and B and C centers (trade lingo for small towns and interiors of India). It is in the canon of the Salman Khan kind of film. So my only grouse is: they could have removed the silly aspects and STILL kept the same story, which has two nice twists, one at interval point and one towards the end.
Vigilante films have never worked in Hindi cinema, except for “Gabbar – Is Back,” again a South remake, and given that, this film works as a very basic entertainer of the genre known from the 1970s to the early ‘90s. However, in most cases then, even the deliberate pandering to audiences was worked in organically and did not appear so deliberate that it became too calculated.
Nevertheless, as in many covert copies of the old formulae, today’s generation of film buffs across the country’s small centers may take to it simply because they have not seen anything like this before in the last two decades.
John Abraham, as the man who sets corrupt police officers (only) on fire, is credible, though a far cry from his superb turn in the recent “Parmanu.” Aisha Sharma has nothing to do but acquits herself well, especially in the dramatic scenes in the end. Manish Chaudhari tends to ham, especially in the climax, and is just okay. Amruta Khanvilkar as Manoj Bajpayee’s wife is wasted. Chetan Pandit impresses in his brief cameo.
Performance-wise, this is Manoj Bajpayee’s film all the way. Eschewing his hamming and remaining, for most of the screen time, an underplayed performer, he does make you feel for him as the scrupulous cop who goes by the book. As a husband, he may be a shade unconvincing, but as the man with a huge skeleton in his mental closet and as a person who is a traumatized son, he is surpassingly good.
The music and background score (overloud as of yore) are nothing to sing or hum about, and the technical aspects are average. Writer-director Milap Zaveri throws in one punch-line too many, quite a few of them pointlessly punchy, but towards the end, he settles happily for restraint, though clichés are used as well. As a director, his best scenes are some of the murders, and the sequence wherein Manoj Bajpayee meets John Abraham for the first time on reel. The sequence where the Muslim girl (Archita Agarwal) wants Veer to kill her tormentor is well handled as well.
The film is all heart. Milap-bhai that could have been nourished as well with some elements of the brain also active. The rating is for the intention of the film and its success in hitting the target. Wish we could have given it at least a clear star more.
Rating: *** (Almost)