It was past 12 noon. City Bhubaneswar. Venue Inox. More than 350 volunteers of city based NGO Rhythm Of Nation organised a special movie screening of ‘Satyagraha’ calling for infusion of young blood in politics.
Students of colleges, schools along with their teachers attended the movie screening. The movie Satyagraha was chosen considering the political message in-grained in the movie, which was in sync with their ideas of motivating the youth against corruption, as the NGO members believed. As soon as the movie concluded, they came out of theatre sloganeering against the rising instances of corruption in the country.
Even as it was a genuine move, I don’t know what impact the movie created on the minds. Because, after watching Satyagraha in a different theatre on the same day I felt no rage. It was difficult for me to sit in the theatre for 153 Minutes.
One question kept lingering in my mind: Prakash Jha, Why this Satyagraha? Why did you do this to us? I am not a film critic. Rather than trying to find faults with a movie, I always appreciate the good points. But, this time it was just not possible. Some say, because we knew what was going to happen may be that was the reason film didn’t click. Wasn’t it clear in Madras cafe that the ‘ex-PM’ will be assassinated, then why did our hearts race with every passing moment.
Over the years, Prakash Jha has become the kind of director who gathers huge stars, takes an issue from the headlines, but does nothing much beyond that. This time he has gone too far. The scenes in Satyagraha are not loose, but lost. The tragedy is that we want to take this ‘Satyagraha’ seriously.
Things happen so easily and so differently in Satyagraha. A man who preaches Gandhian principles goes and slaps the District Collector. Aggression by force was never a Gandhian principle. You slap somebody and a revolution begins. Like really?
A formerly corrupt policeman declares he is turning over a new leaf. At another point, an industrialist (Maanav, played by Ajay Devgn) writes away his crores because he doesn’t want to be labelled as a corrupt capitalist.
Characters aren’t developed but their traits, instead, are marked out with a highlighter. Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpai look like they are from Aarakshan as their roles in Aarakshan and Satyagraha are the same except for the change in their profession. Undoubtedly, Amitabh Bachchan’s performance remains flawless as ever, but, it was difficult to watch a brilliant actor like Ajay Devgan slip out of his avatar . There was some heavy duty romance between the ABP reporter Yasmin played by Kareena Kapoor and the tycoon Maanav (Ajay Devgn).
However, ABP News seems to be the only channel covering the Andolan in full swing. Besides, our star reporter has special privileges as she can be part of a campaign that can happen only with the reel reporters and not with the real ones.
Satyagraha movement seems to be of a bunch of people, who knew very well how to rally public support but were clueless on how to take on the system, how to bring the change. They have a rage that goes nowhere.
The “slap on the face of the system” is actually a slap on the face of audience who went to the theatre with expectations. Oh yes! This food of thought is for the fast-food generation, as The Hindu says. But, wasn’t it the same fast food generation who went head over heels in praise of films like ‘Ship of Theseus’ or ‘Paan Sing Tomar’ . Why blame the young India for Jha’s mistakes?
While the concept might have looked solid on paper as the screenplay is written by Anjum Rajabali, Prakash Jha and Rutvik Oza – on screen it’s a flop show.
There is no denying the fact that very few other filmmaker dare to even touch such relevant social issues. But, Prakash Jha – we expect better films from you. One can only hope that the filmmaker who created waves with films like Gangajal and Rajneeti will again create magic with his next upcoming film in December.
Satyagraha Movie Review