Review: I faced a lot of criticism last year for giving Prakash Jha’s ‘Aarakshan’ very high ratings. I was preparing myself for the same with Chakravyuh until the interval. But the second half crushed all my expectations. It quickly dwindled from a 4 star rating to a 3 star and by the end of the film it almost went from 3 to 2.5 thanks to Arjun Rampal’s wooden acting. Many critical scenes banked on his performance. Although other good performances might have saved face. A genuinely good build up that hit the breaks in performance, plot and pace; post interval. Based on the Government v/s Naxalites war, Chakravyuh is a classic case of good subject matter dealt with a shaky plot. It definitely had the potential to be much more.
S.P. Adil Khan (Arjun Rampal) has just taken up a controversial and dangerous posting at Nandighat, which is at the heart of Naxal activity. The government has vested interests in the area because a big industrialist called Mahanta (Kabir Bedi) has crores invested in their land. Mahanta wants the adivasi villages there evacuated. The Naxals led by charismatic leader Rajan (Bajpaee) and right hand commander Juhi (Anjali Patil) want to protect the villages. They do so by terrorizing anyone who comes near the area with guns and bombs. To stop this terror, Adil sends best friend Kabir (Abhay Deol) into the jungles as his informer to become a part of the Naxals. What happens when Kabir begins to believe in the Naxal cause?
Some highlights include: the issue of the Naxalites looked at from a sensitive perceptive. They are portrayed as messiahs not demons with guns (baring a few violent scenes). Another noteworthy aspect of the film was 2 good performances, Manoj Bajpaee and Anjali Patil. Patil especially was brilliant. Known for highlighting socio-political issues in his films, Prakash Jha commands respect from reviewers like me for brave film making. Audiences generally want to take a break from hectic lives, and intense films like these don’t serve that purpose. Therefore, kudos for bravery Mr. Jha.
Verdict: A good effort sidetracked by a shaky plot. Only for serious cinema lovers.
Release date: Oct 24, 2012
Genre: Drama, Social
Cast & Crew: Abhay Deol, Arjun Rampal, Esha Gupta, Manoj Bajpayee, Anjali Patil, Om Puri
Director: Prakash Jha
Music: Sulaiman Merchant, Salim Merchant
Length: 2 hrs 32 mins
Writer: Prakash Jha, Anjum Rajabali, Sagar Pandya