Chakravyuh - Review

Chakravyuh

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)
quick review:

An engaging, must-be-heard story told with great balance. Yet, half-hearted focus on relationships distracts from the main story.

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[Poster for Chakravyuh]

You see the Naxalites' point of view that the administration of the country cannot be bothered with the poorest of poor citizens. You understand the frustration of a handful of police officers who are pretty much rendered impotent while wanting to do the right thing. You wonder about right and wrong. A movie that has done all of this has pretty much done its job. Only thing is you wish you weren't distracted by relationships that are too shallow and a few songs including an item number!

I really would like to know if there is some research on the positive impact of an absolutely avoidable item song in a film. Especially in a film that takes itself very seriously and expects nothing less from us. Similarly, I understand the need for an emotional base to a subject so grim as the rotting roots of the political and administrative systems of India. But, why such a half-hearted one?

Adil Khan and Kabir's (Abhay Deol) friendship isn't given a base convincing enough to make us invest ourselves in their dilemmas. In fact, there seems to be no internal struggle as far the friendship is concerned, then why have it in the first place. The story could well have been told without that relationship, except for maybe the weak point it was trying to make that the situation in the naxal areas is so bad that a conscientious person would choose to be on their side over his personal relationships, in pukka Namak Haraam/Avatar style.

The same flakiness pervades the friendship between Mrs. Khan (Esha Gupta) and Kabir. It also seeps through how conveniently Kabir is accepted by the Naxal movement through the film, right to the end.

Esha Gupta in her short and dispensable role adds melodrama and over-acting. Arjun Rampal's labored attempt at showing restraint is too visible. While his stiff body language might go well with that of a hardened inspector, but yet I couldn't but wonder what depth another actor could have brought to his character. Anjali Patil on the other hand comes across as the frustrated and angered rebel that she plays. Abhay Deol as usual fits into his role with with ease. The rest of the cast is balanced by Om Puri, Manoj Bajpai and Kabir Bedi as convincing influencers on one hand and uneasy performances by the actors who play ministers, senior police officers and the businessman's son.

Fortunately though, all these things, while distractions do not take away from the balance that writer, Anjum Rajabali has maintained while presenting the arguments of the Naxalites. It can be argued that the law and administration system have been painted a thick shade of gray. But do any of the things portrayed about the corrupt system ring untrue or difficult to believe? Hardly. Similarly, the dialogue is written with a lot of thought and is key to striking the balance.

Yet, there is that feeling that creeps in the las half hour the film of having watched something halfway through. Of course, the war is still on. But I just wish that either the whole friendship angle was completely eliminated or it was given a lot more depth that would have added many layers to the film's social message.

- meetu, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots. And some gory too.
  • Language: Abusive language used.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: One rape implied and in general talk about rape.
  • Concept: Maoists vs Establishment
  • General Look and Feel: Gritty and grim

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3
  • Story: 3.5
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 2.5
  • Dialogues: 3.5
  • Screenplay: 3
  • Music Director: 2
  • Lyrics: 2.5

Chakravyuh - Movie Details

Chakravyuh - Trailer

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Comments (5)

Vinay:

Nice review. :)
Gonna watch it this weekend. Have many expectations from it.

Murtaza Ali:

Loved your analysis of the movie though I thought you have been a bit harsh in your overall assessment.

And I agree that the friendship element was quite week. The movie indeed could have been much more brilliant had it does away with its Bollywood-like excesses and brusqueness.

meetu:

Thanks @Vinay. Try to reduce expectations a bit, you might enjoy it better :)

@Murtaza I guess that it boils down to how much the Bollywood excesses and weak friendship bothered us.

silvan:

nice review... gonna torrent the film tonight
Btw the first promo was a give away and it looked like a modern version of Namak Haraam but with Prakash Jha I expected a film like Gangaajal but seems like he is following a formula of mixing his well known realistic formula with fiction and relying on action scenes and dialogue baazi....Arjun seems to be getting a lot of beating after some riveting works before and from the same director who gave him rajneeti

meetu:

Thanks! Torrent? :(

Yeah, the promos gives most of the story away. It's not a great film, but it is a part of our country that we ought to know

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