On 18 September 2013, national award winning director Prakash Jha bestowed his presence at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre for an exclusive screening of his latest movie, Satyagraha. As a joint collaboration by Mercury Entertainment and The Forum Of Indian Professionals Hong Kong (FIPHK), the event was a major success as fans had a rare opportunity to get up close with their favorite director. After a refreshing confab and cocktail session with his fans, Jha was sporting enough to sign autographs. While it was a pleasure to have this intelligent filmmaker around and having a vehement thought provoking discussion with him, we went on to do our bit of announcing our take on the film. Here’s our two cents…
Jha sticks to his signature style of focusing on real issues gripping modern India. Satyagraha too is an intense drama that is based on corruption, red-tapism and bureaucracy. Inspired by the recent Anna Hazare ‘aam aadmi andolan’ hoopla, the film sings the virtues of peace and non-violence as preached by Mahatma Gandhi. Starring the hot Kareena Kapoor as a fiery reporter; Amitabh Bachchan, Arjun Rampal,Amrita Rao and Ajay Devgn – playing the ultimate rebels for a cause, Satyagraha is a multi -starring visual treat.
Dwarka Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) is a man of strong principles and morals. With justice being his middle name, he ensured that his son, Akhilesh (Indraneil Sengupta), who works for the government, and daughter-in-law, Sumitra (Amrita Rao), follow suit. Meanwhile, Manav (Ajay Devgn), Akilesh’s childhood friend, is a successful businessman and contrastingly has an entrepreneurial mindset, with a guilt-free approach to bending the rules. When Akhilesh loses his life, Manav joins Dwarka and Sumitra’s strenuously long struggle to redeem the compensation, which the local political leader Balram Singh (Manoj Bajpai) had promised. Things heat up when Dwarka finally loses his cool and confronts the politicians directly. With each party adamant to their own perspective, thus ensues the battle, wherein Dwarka also lays down his demand for every person of the society to be paid their dues. Soon enough, Dwarka’s ex-student Arjun (Arjun Rampal) and a local journalist Yasmin Ahmed (Kareena Kapoor Khan) join the protagonists in their revolution.
Things get overly dramatic when Dwarka goes on a hunger strike and the entire city rallies behind him. Do Big B’s detractors finally face the music? – that forms the crux of the film.
Every scene in the film reeks of Jha’s passion and proficiency for cinema. While the director definitely deserves a mention for trying to make a realistic film laced with the oh-so-essential ‘song and dance’ routine, there were scenes that seemed like an absolute misfit. The romance between Ajay Devgn and Kareena Kapoor were redundant and the songs were highly mediocre. The film obviously failed to create an impact like some of Jha’s previous fims. Case in point: Gangaajal and Apaharan. Do watch it for Manoj Bajpayee’s convincing portrayal of a sinister politician and Big B’s inspiring perseverance in the film. All in all, I will rate this a 2.5/5.