Chambal: Film Review – Pays Tribute to the Patriotic Bureaucrats

Verdict: A brutally realistic portrayal of society that tugs one’s rawest nerves.

Chambal is a film by Jacob Verghese shot in Bangalore and Kolar that talks about the barbaric, cruel, and atrocious side of power and politics. It is a candid portrayal of the plight of IAS officers, who despite being in administrative positions, have no power or control over their duties. The film casts Sathish Ninasam, Sonu Gowda, Roger Narayan, Mahantesh, and Sardar Satyam in prominent roles.

What’s Chambal About:

Chambal is about an IAS officer Subhash (Sathish Ninasam) who abides by every single word uttered in the oath he took as an administrative official. He lives, practices, and preaches by his principles without a tinge of corruption. Due to his nature, he must handle the vices of the system the hard way. He is posted in Kolar, which is the center of the land mafia. Fearlessly, he goes beyond his limitations to expose the corruption in the system, only to be discouraged at every point. He easily wins the hearts of the people in the village and subsequently, earns the hatred of the corrupted power holders. He is soon transferred to another department as his passion and determination are found to be a threat to the corrupt. But Subhash does not give up on his mission. He continues to fight day and night for the betterment of the country, earning him even more enemies, but this time, more powerful ones. How an IAS officer in charge of one district brings down the corrupted power structures single-handedly form the rest of Chambal’s plot.

What Works:

Every single shot in Chambal is a mirror reflection of our society today. It is realism in its purest form. There are no heroic action sequences, car chases, punch dialogues, or colorful dance sequences. The characters are normal people who are flawed by the system or fighting for survival in their own ways. Sathish Ninasam delivers a mind-blowing performance and he easily evokes empathy in the audience. Subhash’s determination, vision, helplessness, and struggles are beautifully and convincingly portrayed by the actor. Director Jacob Verghese has done an astounding job in bringing out the realities everyone conveniently chooses to avoid.

What Could’ve Been Better:

Chambal does not say anything that we don’t already know and the plot thus becomes fairly predictable. However, it is the brutal truth that this film deserves, which makes it worth a watch. If you are looking for suspense, action, or thrills, Chambal might not be for you. It is a story that deserves to be told until it is heard the right way.

Why You Should Watch:

Films like Chambal are the need of the hour. It is a reminder about the downfall in our moral and ethical values, probes us to think where we are headed as a society, and reflects how much we compromise on righteousness just to live life a little more conveniently. Chambal is a watch you will not regret and pays a beautiful tribute to all administrative officers who sweat their blood to cleanse our society.

Anjali Menon: