Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review: Aakrosh

Director: Priyadarshan

Starring: Ajay Devgn, Akshaye Khanna, Bipasha Basu, Paresh Rawal, Reema Sen

Rating: * * 1/2

The problem with director Priyadarshan’s recent films is that though they’ve seldom been outrightly bad, they’ve also stopped being interesting altogether. Like a practised old hand who has a certain proficiency, but too fatigued to try anything new, Priyan clearly has been making Hindi films out of habit for a while. Whether Billu or De Dana Dan or Bum Bumm Bole, all have been passable at best.His latest, Aakrosh is the most serious film Priyan has attempted in a while. And thankfully, the maker has opted for some fresh faces. Also, unlike what he is notorious for, Priyan has chosen an authentic location this time, and not tried to pass off some place in South India as a crime-ridden North Indian town. The setting is real, and cinematographer S Tirru captures the Hindi heartland well, adding the requisite atmospheric depth and texture to the narrative. The other highlight is to see Akshaye Khanna and Ajay Devgn teaming up once again after Deewangi years ago. The script itself does not allow anything spectacular to emerge out of this pairing, but these two talented actors at least ensure that the proceedings don’t dip too much.

The story is heavily inspired from the Oscar nominated, Mississippi Burning, which was about two FBI officers who go to investigate a case involving the disappearance of some civil rights activists. A hard-hitting drama, it captured up close the issue of racism and the tragic plight of African-Americans. In Aakrosh, the issue of racism has been turned into casteism that has led to several appalling incidents like honour killing in places like UP and Bihar. It’s not a bad subject to adapt, and for some time, the film stays on course. But too many filmy flourishes with loud scenes and unidimensional characters dilute the realistic tone and essential seriousness of the subject.

Siddharth Chaturvedi (Akshaye Khanna) and Pratap Kumar (Devgn) are two CBI officers given the charge of investigating a case, wherein three medical students have gone missing from Delhi. Both land up in a lawless North-Indian town, infested with goons and corrupt policemen. The chief perpetrator here is Ajatshatru Singh (Paresh Rawal). He does not co-operate with the CBI officers, and along with a local rogue group, tries to derail the investigation at every point. The whole system seems hand in glove, and both Siddharth and Pratap have several narrow escapes. There’s an inane plot involving Bipasha Basu, as Paresh Rawal’s wife, who gets slapped and kicked around by him. Then in a flashback, you see her with Devgn wearing skimpy outfits. The sub-plot makes no sense, and Bipasha is painfully unconvincing in her two bit role.

There are sporadic moments of thrill and drama, and the dialogues are good. Ajay Devgn and Akshaye Khanna look fresh and give their best shot. Yet, the narrative is neither layered nor incisive. There is a general lack of subtlety that takes away from the credibility of the proceedings. The policemen are not just inept and corrupt — they are also murderers and womanisers. Ditto with the local politicians. There’s not even a good-natured quirk in any of them to distract from their jet black characterisation.

In the end, the film looks a bit under researched and unimaginative.

The title is borrowed from the Govind Nihilani directed, Om Puri starrer that was one of the most grim films of the art film movement in the ’80s. If Priyan’s Aakrosh hoped to be anything like that, it’s obviously not. However, for those who don’t mind actioners, steeped in over-the-top drama, it’s not a bad deal either.


Anonymous rooney said...

saw the movie, recently it works for me :-)

love such movies, just hope that they had improved procedure of cbi, as i am following the cbi case of amit shah closely as spectator inb Guj High Court.

3.5/5 and recommended from my end.

ps- they should have taken a yougster star for khannas role imo

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