With the fire of the Mumbai rape case still burning within, another example as to how crumbled our law & order is, the release of the film Satyagraha is a perfect fit. Certainly the film (as expected) is based on the jan andolan started by Anna Hazare, but considering that the movement died out in its cradle stage, it was difficult to predict if the movie shall fly. Having foregone the negative presumptions the film has come out very well.
Prakash Jha’s socio-political inclination is thoroughly reflected through the film as a logical explanation for the surge of the movement and later for the rise of a political party is spelt. The film speaks of an ethically correct, principled teacher Dwarka Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) who loses his son to the dirty politics and then is made to do rounds of the government offices for claiming the compensation money offered by the government. Fed up of the atrocities at a time he is going through a major loss, he is arrested when he slaps the District Collector. Enter Manav Raghavendra (Ajay Devgn), a close friend of Dwarka Anand’s deceased son and an ambitious entrepreneur, who does everything in his power to free the latter. Social Media incites a revolution which is Manav’s brainchild. He goes on to shed his Armani suits and gets in the skin of a khadi-clad leader. Manav leads the fight owing to the affiliation and respect for his friend’s father. To take the social revolution to new heights he collaborates with renowned journalist and an old friend, Yasmin Ahmed (Kareena Kapoor). Looking at the ferocity of the issue and the public response, Jasmine, shuns her assignment with the Prime Minister and rushes to be a part of this revolution. Soon after, Arjun Singh (Arjun Rampal), an aspiring local politician, and Sumitra Anand (Amrita Rao), Dwarka Anand’s daughter-in-law join in the revolution. Soon Dwarka Anand is set free but his fight for justice doesn’t stop there. It is only the beginning.
The story of the film, in spite of being based on Anna Hazare’s movement, was very well-written and very well-researched. Jha’s age-old formula reflects in the film but is emotionally-packed, still the film is likely to make you teary-eyed from the beginning. The climax feels dragged and a few sequences are unnecessary yet you sail through. Having said that, one will also find that the climax is the eventually the baap of this film. As an audience adapted to Bollywood drama, you are sure to predict what comes next but you are taken aback when all of a sudden there is a love story brewing between the entire socio-political environment. Dialogues although not hard-hitting still manage to leave an impact on our minds. When you have a stellar star cast there is little you can speak of when it comes to their acting abilities. But potential candidates like Amrita and Arjun don’t have much of a role to play. Although pivotal, their role gets shadowed by the conflicts sparking between Home Minister Balram Singh (Manoj Bajpayee), on one side and Dwarka, Yasmin and Manav, on the other.
Looking at the state of affairs and how the crime is treated, with criminals being lauded and victims berated, the film comes out as a ray of hope. The story, the acting, the dialogues are energizing but the music of the film is equally invigorating. Also the prayer made famous by Mahatma Gandhi, Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, gets a new meaning with this film.
There is much similarity between the character of Dwarka and Gandhi. Not just the look but the stance, the tone, the style, the clothing reflects Gandhi in Bachchan. Touted to be a glamorized version of Kejriwal, the character of Manav nowhere lets you feel so. Manav, giving up on the property of 6,000 or so crores can be symbolic of Kejriwal giving up on his career as an IRS but the resemblance ends there.
If one focuses on the overall making of the film, it is looks to be a dramatized version taken frame-to-frame from reality and painted on a canvas with a hope that the system will change and the citizens will be instrumental in bringing about this change.