Satyagraha - Review
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With themes like bribery and corruption a film almost always has black and white characters. I doubt there is any other way to go about it. System - bad, common man - good. Politician - bad, idealist - good. In that sense, Satyagraha doesn't have any surprises at all. But, the unexpected comes in little packages every once in a while - in a one-off expression by Manoj Bajpayee or a slight deviation from what we have come to expect in such films from the characters. Not that it takes away too much from the predictability of the overall plot, even so.
There's another thing about films that take a stand on a social issue that in the writer's zeal to make the point, characters take about turns in their character graphs for no compelling reason. Satyagraha keeps away from any such temptations. This keeps the battle between good and bad very interesting because you are always waiting for the other side's next move. Also, the focus on the issue starts in the first few minutes and stays on till the very end.
Except of course, for a detour at Junction Romance. The one romantic sequence and the song that follows sticks out like a sore thumb, quite literally. The picturization of that song is so weird and out of the place for the film that you wonder if it was shot and squeezed into the film as an afterthought.
Fortunately, all through the performances are ace rate. Undoubtedly, you forget he's Amitabh Bachchan and worry about Dwarka Anand's blood pressure at the beginning itself, when you see his blood boil and bitterness at the unfairness of the system. Ajay Devgn looks a tad old for the age he plays but nothing like watching a man shed tears on screen to appreciate his performance, needless to say he does well. No one brings out your spite towards a negative character like Manoj Bajpayee. Kareena Kapoor, Amrita Rao, and Arjun Rampal lay their bits as usual. Nothing that sticks out as very bad or good.
Yet, Satyagraha stays interesting only because the issue is so close to home. Sure, you have seen it all - in films and in real life too. It manages to provoke you every once in a while because you do feel like slapping the arrogant policeman and your heart breaks when you see the hero do something self-destructive. Also, Satyagraha doesn't let its characters have it easy - they face opposition from outside and within their factions. Things do resolve themselves rather easily but the conflicts are brought up to point out that there are no easy solutions.
So engrossed is Satyagraha in making its point that they couldn't be bothered with technicalities like editing, cinematography, etc. Other than the fact that the screenplay is long-winded and takes a good two and a half hours to go through its business, there are things like sudden close-ups of actors, unnecessary songs that are extremely jarring, product placements and so on. However, there are times when the background score is subtle and invokes the intended emotion. At other times it is repetitive and too in-the-face for background music.
So, here we are, another 'message film aimed at the common man' later. You will clap when the villain is slapped, you will cheer at the heros' smallest victories and the stands they take. You will sit through the speeches even though they bore you, because you acknowledge the truth in them. Then what?
How about not bribing a law/admin official the next opportunity you are "required" to?
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: One tight slap and Lathi-charges - some of which turn gory. A brutal road accident.
- Language: Clean. The F-word appears in writing thought the F is #-ed out.
- Nudity & Sexual content: A couple of kisses, a mild making-out scene.
- Concept: Common man vs. the corrupt system
- General Look and Feel: Serious political statement tone.
Satyagraha - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: UTV Motion Pictures, Prakash Jha Productions
- Producer: Prakash Jha, Ronnie Screwwala, Siddharth Roy Kapoor
- Director: Prakash Jha
- Lead Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor
- Supporting Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Arjun Rampal, Amrita Rao, ndraneil Sengupta, Mugdha Godse, Girish Sachdev
- Story: Prakash Jha, Anjum Rajbali
- Screenplay: Anjum Rajbali, Prakash Jha
- Cinematography: Sachin Krishn
- Editor: Santosh Mandal
- Background Score: Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant, Adesh Shrivastava, Meet Bros Arjun Amit, Indian Ocean
- Action Choreography: Abbas Ali Moghul
- Choreography: Jayesh Pradhan
- Music Director: Salim Merchant, Sulaiman Merchant, Meet Bros Arjun Amit, Adesh Shrivastava, Indian Ocean
- Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi
- Costume Designer: Priyanka Mundada
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 150 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Politics, Social
Satyagraha - Trailer
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