Movie Reviews

Yahoo! Movies Review: Chakravyuh

Movie Stills: ChakravyuhCast: Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol, Manoj Bajpai, Esha Gupta

Direction: Prakash Jha

Rating: **1/2

Prakash Jha picks a sensitive subject of social relevance but in his attempt to pander to popular cinema, he incorporates too many Bollywoodisms that prevent 'Charavyuh' from becoming an intense political drama. Jha spends too much time trying to make the film entertaining rather than focus on the nuances that make a coherent plot.

'Chakravyuh' is a political drama set against the backdrop of the Naxal Movement. Jha brings to forth many pertinent aspects of the Naxal ideology — the issue of little or no development for the tribal communities in India, illegal land acquisition from the farmers, the collusion of the powerful (the politicians and the industrialists), police brutality and systematic failure of the law and order system. The intention is good but Jha flounders on the execution.

Adil Khan (Arjun Rampal) is the honest and courageous police officer who has been assigned the arduous task of curbing the surge of Naxal terror. Adil's friend, Kabir (Abhay Deol) proposes to infiltrate the Naxal camp and become an informer for the police. Jha's choice of approach to penetrate the Naxal nexus is deeply flawed. Naxalism is about complete belief in a parallel ideology that is radical and violent; one night at a police station will not convert you into a sympathizer of such an ideologically loaded cause unless we are talking about severe brutality. Jha takes many such logical liberties in the film, coupled with poorly-written dialogues that really don't resonate with the intense theme of the film.

Abhay Deol gets to play a complex character but somehow the layers are not etched out clearly to make his performance stand out. Arjun plays his part with all sincerity but is saddled with some of the worse lines. Manoj Bajpai completely fits in as the Naxal commander but the director doesn't entrust him with shouldering the film and therefore, he has little to do in the second half. The supporting cast is a complete letdown.

The narrative is peppered with an unclear romantic track and has an item song thrown in just for the heck of it. Prakash Jha should understand that a bold topic is not enough, unless the execution matches the noble intentions of the plot.

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