Verdict: A good-over-evil drama, highlighting the complicated politician-police-society equation.
Political crime dramas, especially set in the rural North Indian terrain, are Prakash Jha’s jam! He knows the game too well, and Jai Gangajal is a product of this expertise. This time around, he is part of the on-screen cast as well, with the very popular PeeCee. Prakash Jha is quite the surprise package.
Jai Gangaajal is set in Bankipur, a small town in Central/North India, where the politicians are as corrupt and soulless as the Bollywood films have been defining them to be, and the cops are up for sale. Abha Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) is instated as the SP of Bankipur by a powerful politician Chaowdhary Saab (Kiran Karmarkar), who aspires to win the upcoming election. Turns out DSP B. N. Singh aka Circle Babu (played brilliantly by Jha himself) is a cop who works for the politicians. The local MLA or vidhayak Babloo Pandey (Manav Kaul) and his brother Dabloo Pandey (you cannot make these things up) are actively involved in acquiring lands from the local farmers, with or without their consent. The land acquiring is a part of the Samanta Corp plans to erect a power plant in the town, and Chowdhary Saab supports this investment. You get the drift of where the movie is headed after this. After an innocent girl and her brother are on the politician brothers’ radar, things start getting heated up. We see a defeated, ashamed side of the corrupt cops as they struggle to save the child but are under the politicians’ thumbs and cannot break free. The mob starts lynching the goons and making it appear like suicides, in answer to the farmers committing suicides. It is now up to the police to maintain the law and order in the town. Circle Babu’s conscience does not allow him to side the cruel brothers and he instinctively tries his best to save the kids, but not without repercussions.
The story line is cliched and nothing that we have not seen. However, this film marks the beginning of Prakash Jha’s acting career. He is remarkable as a cop with a complex emotional setup. He is torn between his duty, the respect for his khaki uniform and his new senior Madam Sir and his murky, sticky connections with the powerful politicians. He looks great and honestly, it is difficult to look at other people when he is in the frame. Manav Kaul has come a long way, but he should try breaking away from his regular bad-politician-who-may-or-may-not-be-lynched-at-the-end kind of roles. Priyanka Chopra, surprisingly, has not much work in the movie. Having said that, she has done her job okay.
The music is complements the movie, especially the action scenes. The action scenes are not over the top, and are quite okay. Some people, who are conditioned by political crime movie, may not find the end very gratifying. But that’s okay. The entire movie pretty much makes for it.
Why Should You Watch This Movie:
Jai Gangaajal is a typical truth-always-triumphs kind of a movie. It will definitely give you a certain satisfaction, when the good wins over evil. The performances are quite nice. Prakash Jha has aced this as a director, just like he aced Gangajal earlier. Watch it for the dirty politics, blatant crime, Circle Babu and Madam Sir. But majorly, do watch it for Jha, the actor. He has brought out the turmoil of a guy who does what he does but cannot ignore the inner voice of his conscience. All in all, it’s a super entertainer for the weekend.