Satyameva Jayate

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

quick review:

Heavy dialogue-heavy film. But you knew that from the trailer. Ordinary fight sequences make the film quite the regular action fare. The story isn’t as engaging as the premise might seem.

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Director: Milap Zaveri
Running time: 145 minutes
Genres: Action, Social
More Movie Info

Satyameva Jayate - Preview

I am getting tired of repeating the word repetitive and they aren’t tired of making the same kind of films? The honest cop takes over the work of an ideal system in not-so-ideal ways is John Abraham, this time. Which makes the action the focal point of the film rather than the story.

And yet, I feel like the chase between his character and the other cop, played by Manoj Bajpayee might have some juice in it – some battle of wits, hopefully. Other than that, Satyameva Jayate feels like same ol’ wine, and even the bottle doesn’t seem new.

Satyameva Jayate releases on 15 August, 2018.

Music Reviews:
Bollyspice – "1.5/5"
Bollywood Hungama – "3.5/5"

- meeta, a part of the audience

Corrupt cops are being burnt alive. A vigilante citizen has a plan. The best, honest, duty-bound cop is on the case. Despite all these dramatic pillars, the film is rather flat and ultimately generic.

His beefed up body tries to do the talking, but can do only as much as the mediocre action sequences allow it to.

Evidently, the film is relying heavily on the big reveal to shock and pique our interest by the conflict it presents. But, post-intermission the film banks on the repetition of the police officer’s oath to keep us interested. 6 times. Yep, you guessed it right, each time it is quite dramatically delivered too. You are immune to the supposed impact in the first couple of times itself, and are rolling your eyes no end by the sixth time around – a time when people are dying and you are supposed to feel bad for them.

It might feel like there is nothing else in the film, and maybe even rightly so, but there are other elements in the film that could have been interesting. The cat-and-mouse chase I had hoped for is mentioned in the film too, but isn’t really the edge-of-the-seat or mind-bending kind. It is more like a story-building game. If one character does such-and-such, the other one just ups that until they reach a pre-destined climax. It all feels too simple, too juvenile, too naive.

This includes the dialogue as well. There are films that are dialogue-heavy and there are others that have heavy dialogue. This one wants every line to be full of meat and goes out to explain every small with elaborate dialogue making it beyond laughable.

Unfortunately, it takes down some otherwise capable actors along with it. For instance, Manoj Bajpayee, of all people, comes across as over-the-top a couple of times. Then, John Abraham is even more tight-faced than usual. His beefed up body tries to do the talking, but can do only as much as the mediocre action sequences allow it to.

It is disheartening that a concept and conflict that had potential to engage the mind, if not the heart, doesn’t do so because it is silly. Else, you had Manoj Bajpayee to execute the acting and John Abraham to execute the action – it could have worked, it just could have.

- meeta, a part of the audience

21 reviewers(?) - 2 yays 8 so-so 11 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Joel Kurian, Bolly Spice : ...The sequences of cop-killing are designed in bright voluptuous crimson colours. You can’t miss the film’s zeal or the persuasive powers of the two principal performances. John Abraham and Manoj Bajpai as the two adversaries play off against each other effectively. They know this is the time to drop all subtleties and they get to that task with full-on enthusiasm. ... full review

Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, SATYAMEVA JAYATE is a powerful and gripping drama that leaves an impact as it resonates with the problems of the common man. It is sure to work big time in the single screens where the various scenes are bound to induce claps and whistles. This one is for the masses! ... full review

So-So, by Ankita Chaurasia , Bollywood Life : ...If watching the baddies being beaten to a pulp and burnt at stake by a too-good-to-be-true hero is your thing then Satyameva Jayate will interest you. Otherwise it will be like traveling back in time only to land up in a theatre playing an over-the-top, cliched affair. ... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...This masala potboiler is strictly for John Abraham and hardcore action fans. The film’s title made it sound patriotic but the patriotism gets overshadowed by high melodrama and mindless action... ... full review

So-So, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, FirstPost : ...Satyameva Jayate is a fairly illogical commercial thriller fronted by two actors who deliver forceful performances. It may not be the most intelligent thriller, but its lack of pretence is its greatest asset. It’s entertaining for some of the right reasons, and plenty of unintended ones. ... full review

So-So, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...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. ... full review

So-So, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Satyameva Jayate provides unabashed entertainment. John Abraham – the Indian Hulk, Milap’s seeti-maar dialogues will make you miss the times when masala entertainment was a trend in Bollywood. ... full review

So-So, by Sonil Dedhia, MiD DAY : ...It is gory, but shot remarkably. Abraham looked convincing when he lifted a bike in Force, and justifies this act when he rips a tyre with his might. Sadly, he romances action way more than he does his love interest Aisha Sharma. Sharma, on her part, needs lessons in acting. Even though Bajpayee’s frustrations are depicted aptly, he is a talent that seems to have been underutilised here. The film isn’t entirely joyless. Zaveri writes dialogues that are certain to inspire applause. But, given that it is sculpted to be a masala entertainer, the film is heavy only on action, not emotion. ... full review

So-So, Sify Movies : ...John is aptly supported by Aisha as Veer's love interest Shikka, Manoj as DCP Shivansh Rathod, Amruta as the DCP's wife Sarita. ... full review

So-So, by Rachit Gupta, Times of India : ...‘SMJ’ desperately tries very hard to sell the age-old idea of revenge and righteousness. But the big booming treatment is a little too hard to accept and digest. With John in the film, one can expect good action, but it’s gruesome and a little too bloody at times. Truth be told, the story is relevant in today’s times, but too many cliches in the story and the style of storytelling will make you want to cop out of this one. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Anna MM Vertticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...Satyameva, the truth alone, shall be told in this review. To say the film is shrill is an understatement. In fact, it is deafening both literally and in its tone. Abraham even gets a Sunny Deol moment when his screams rupture a tyre that has been placed around his torso to imprison his arms. To describe Satyameva Jayate merely as tired would be a kindness. In fact, the writing and execution are both exhausted, making it an exhausting viewing experience. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Anupama Chopra, Film Companion : ...It’s impossible. Satyameva Jayate is the sort of film that bludgeons you and leaves you drained and entirely cheerless. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Rohan Naahar, Hindustan Times : ...Satyameva Jayate is near-unwatchable. It is a torturous experience; a deeply irresponsible, phony and tone-deaf waste of time, a shameful low for everyone involved. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...With the clock ticking past the two hour mark, all the spiel on farz, izzat, imaandari is too familiar. You are left with a realisation: truth hurts but Satyamev Jayate hurts more. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...There’s also the small matter of the portrayal of the ‘other’, showing Muslim characters in prison, in black ‘burkhas’, in bloody Moharram processions, and doing nothing else. There is also a steady barrage of phrases culled from today’s India: keeping India ‘swachch’, and chests which measure fifty plus inches. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...In conclusion, Satyameva Jayate is an absolutely avoidable fare…... full review

Thumbs down, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Director Milap Zaveri, also credited for the dialogue of Kya Kool Hain Hum 3 and Hate Story 4, has a dated concept of an action thriller.... full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...In the 'morality' tussle between a putative saviour and an unflappable defender of justice, it is cinema that takes a major beating. Satyameva Jayate, truth be told, is a film that has no apparent reason to exist. Not a shred of it is original. At best, it makes a silly spectacle of beating a dead, decomposed horse. At worst, it is a product of a tendentious mind. Satyameva Jayate is nonsensical, with nary a nod to logic. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Manisha Lakhe, Now : ...The film is so boring, during the item song 'Dilbar Dilbar' one shot has the belly dancer emerge from the sand and you are reminded of the Graboids in the film Tremors and your laughter is drowned by the deafening sound of the song. The oath of allegiance that cops take during their swearing in ceremony is said so many times, you know you can repeat it verbatim in case you are asked. The film is that tedious. An obvious manipulative release for Independence Day, this film hopes you will want to salute good cops. But you don't fall for it one bit. And even if you have previously fallen for John Abraham's dimples, you come away unimpressed with his seething. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...After 141 exhausting minutes of unending appeals, phony revelations and long-winded dying words, the only satya I cared about is there is a cab outside the theatre waiting to take me home. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...John Abraham shows off his muscles, flares his nostrils, rips open a tyre quite like Sunny Deol had uprooted the handpump in Gadar. All the while, remaining steadfastly poker-faced when it comes to sporting an expression. Bajpayee looks lost in the film, rather the film is lost on him. Director Milap Zaveri dishes out the same old vigilante justice cinema that we grew up watching in the 80s with a special doff of the hat to the classic Deewar (1975). But his added tadkas can’t hide the essential staleness of the concoction. Satyameva Jayate is death by over pungent masalas. ... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 1 yays 0 so-so 1 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Bankim Chandra Pandey : In all, director Milp Milan Zaveri has given the old liquor in a new bottle

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Fan

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads and loads. People being burnt alive, a very bloody self-flogging procession, prison torture.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: A citizen vigilante is burning corrupt cops alive. A duty-bound police officer is on his case.
  • General Look and Feel: A generic action film mould

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Satyameva Jayate - Cast, crew, links

Supporting Cast:
Background Score:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
145 minutes

Comments (6)

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How times have changed. A film that would have been a reasonable hit in the the 1980s seems such crass in 2018.
I had watched only one trailer of Satyameva Jayate, and watched it only once. My first impressions after watching the trailer was that this is a kind of Singham treatment to the vigilante justice subject. Singham in the sense of good v/s bad, but also with adrenaline pumping verses being chanted regularly. The trailer also revealed (to anyone who has not recently landed up in Bolly land) what exactly to expect from the film, reel by reel. And myself not having landed up in Bolly land recently knew what would unfold. So the visit to the theatre was certainly knowing fully well what the story line is going to be – and the only curiosity factor was to see how the story line is executed and presented on celluloid.
Oh how I regret that my curiosity got the better of me.
This film is 35-40 years behind its times. I have my doubt if in the 1980s it would have made a bigger dent – but at least it stood a better chance then as compared to 2018. Everything about the film screams the 1980s. Everything!! Let’s start with dialogues. You have the typical Kader Khan / Prayag Raj / etc. type of dialogues heavy on words – great to utter – but really useless in 2018 scenario. There is a more than generous portion of melodrama doled out. The child artistes remind of the 1980s too with obnoxious acting skills and made to say dialogues that make the kids seems way older than their age. As with the 1980s films there is the mandatory good Muslim guy or girl, doing their duty towards the country and being loyal to good values till death. You have the Muslim holy prayer in the background at critical junctures. You also have the comic relief on the side (although much subdued in Satyameva Jayate than in the 1980s).
Already half an hour into the film my expectations were so low that I was pleasantly surprised at some minor twist presented in the story at midway point. I just did not see it coming, as I was expecting something seriously banal at that point.
With such a terrible content, then the only straw of hope that I was clinging on to was to see how the climax is presented. Do we stay loyal to the 1980s formula or do we at least move to 2018 way of film making and storytelling? I will not spoil it for anyone who still plans to watch the film – you can discover yourself how the climax is presented.

@Fan very interesting that you point out the Muslim guy or girl and not the other religion(s). Similarly, there were other prayers running in the background too. :)


@Meeta: yes, there were verses running. My statement was in regards to similarities with 1980s formulae and everything "masala" that was retained (dialogues, child artistes, loyal Muslims, ...) It was not intended in any derogatory manner - it was purely intended to bring out the similarities between 1980s formula and this film.

Movie name - Satyamev Jayate
Star cast - John Abraham, Manoj Bajpayee, Aisha Sharma, Amrita Khanvilkar, Manish Chaudhary
Director - Milk Milan Zaveri
Producer - Bhushan Kumar, Nikhil Advani
Music - Sajid-Wajid, Tanshek Bagchi, Roachak, Arko
Style - Action Thriller Drama
Critics rating - 2 stars
My rating -3.5/ 5.00

@Fan I didn't say it was derogatory. I am saying it is interesting because it stuck enough to be mentioned when other religious verses were playing too but we don't mention them.


Sorry for delayed reply.

It didn't stick in particular (the calls to holy prayer). It so happened that at a certain point in time during the film I realised the 1980s formulaic treatment. And if you recall the 1980s Hindi films then you will recall too that everyone stuck to a formula. Like there should be at least 2 romantic happy song, at least one sad song, some child artistes, a good hearted but poor Robin Hoodesque character, if a rich family is involved then a family doctor who is more family and less doctor, etc. So once this realisation of 1980s treatment dawned upon me, the exercise that was left was of ticking the boxes. Which formula ingredient is added - tick it. Including the climax related tick box - do we respect the formula or not.

So it was more box ticking and less of (s)ticking.


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