Director Prakash Jha is known for his issue based films that are hard-hitting and to the point. Let’s see what he has focused in Chakravyuh, his latest starring Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol and Esha Gupta in lead roles.
Here, Prakash Jha has thrown light on the Naxalites and their staunch communist philosophies. They are up in arms against the Indian government and rich businessmen who are out to exploit villages and the helpless inhabitants with their capitalist ideals. The policemen are caught in between as they are ordered to wipe out the Naxalites as per the whims of the politicians. The only relationship of note in the movie is the one between SP Adil Khan and his close friend Kabir who infiltrates the Naxalites to help his friend gain some valuable intelligence info. What happens to Kabir as he increasingly starts believing in the Naxalites’ cause and whether the Naxalites are stopped in their tracks is the climax of the film.
The film doesn’t have anything new to offer as we have already read about how capitalists exploit villages and drive villagers out of their own lands. The Naxalites’ rebellion against the government is another oft-read and oft-seen topic. In this film we also see how the villagers are caught between these two parties as they don’t know whom to trust and bank upon.
Arjun Rampal is a majestic presence in the movie and he must be amongst the best of the trim and fit police characters in Indian cinema. Esha Gupta as his wife is another policewoman who scores high in the looks department. Abhay Deol as Kabir has the best role in the movie as the undercover police informer and he delivers as always. Manoj Bajpayee as the Naxal leader has delivered better performances in the past and his role is muted. Om Puri is dignified as expected, as the senior Marxist leader. Anjali Patel as the fiery Naxal Juhi goes overboard with her vociferous outbursts.
There are a lot of encounters involving guns, bombs and other weapons. The action isn’t extra-ordinary by any means though. The film didn’t need any songs and the few songs that come are run-of-the-mill. Sameera Reddy’s item number is downright ordinary. The film has been shot in forests most of the way and there is some good work by the cinematographer Sachin Krishna. Salim-Sulaiman’s music is a letdown. The film also suffers due to the lack of entertainment and the slow pace. At 152 minutes, Chakravyuh is a long affair. There is also an overdose of the ‘Lal Salaam’ communist slogan.
With Prakash Jha’s name, one expected a film with more research, depth and something new and stunning. But Chakravyuh doesn’t deliver and despite the two strong male leads, the film doesn’t impress and turns out to be a long and predictable affair.
Verdict: Slow and predictable fare