Chakravyuh: A let down from Jha

MUMBAI: In 1973 Hrishikesh Mukherjee made Namak Haraam, an adaptation of the English film Becket (1964) an all time classic. Namak Haraam was a classic of its time too and since then, every filmmaker worth his salt has dreamt of making his own version of Becket. While many toyed with the idea, no one could put together a script worth half a Becket. Now that Namak Haraam and Becket are faded from memory and unknown to today‘s generation, Prakash Jha has taken the plunge. His latest offering, Chakravyuh, is a rehash of the great classic.

Earlier, Jha took liberties with three classics: the epic tome, The Mahabharat; the all time Hollywood classic, The Godfather; and Shyam Benegal‘s classic, Kalyug, to make his Raajneeti. This time he tries Becket at his own peril. The film is woven around the Naxal problem in India vs corrupt politicians and trigger-happy policemen. In that, the police have a carte blanche: kill a Naxal when you see one, rape his woman to complete the ‘justice‘. That is how Chakravyuh proceeds.

Arjun Rampal and Abhay Deol are bum chums. Rampal is one born with the proverbial silver spoon but he uses that spoon to feed his poor, no-background friend, Abhay Deol. No footage or effort is wasted on establishing their friendship, how it happened or the depth of it. The director says that they are great friends who will waste their life on each other so you accept it; period.

When Rampal joins the police academy (since when did rich boys chose this profession?) he forces his pal Deol to join too. Also in the academy is Esha Gupta, Rampal‘s lady love. They both qualify but Deol is a rebel and is rusticated for attacking an officer. After that, he vanishes from the scene for the next seven years while Rampal and Gupta pass out with flying colours. As the film begins, they are married; he is a super cop now and she heads the intelligence wing! She is in police uniform at all times; he is inevitably in mufti and riding an SUV. That is about as much glamour as you can afford in this kind of a film.

Rampal and his police keep falling prey to same old ploy where an ‘informer‘ plants the Naxals‘ whereabouts, the police attack and are picked off like sitting ducks by the Naxals. Rampal is hit by a bullet and that is when his bum chum, Deol, suggests he penetrate the Naxals as a police mole to help Rampal defeat them. Deol, having joined the Naxals to help his pal destroy the movement, soon starts empathising with the Naxals‘ problems. He realises that they are the ones denied justice. He takes up the cause of the discriminated and goes on to become their protagonist at the cost of alienating his friend and benefactor, Rampal.

The equations have changed, friends have become foes. But, sadly, the film has lost its plot by now. There are encounters between the police and the Naxals and the process goes on and on. This film has no story to tell really. From script to execution, everything about it is poor; include the star cast to that which has no draw. What is a principled, educated policeman like Rampal doing protecting his corrupt masters, the politicians? How does the title fit in?

The cast of Chakravyuh reads like the maker‘s office roll call, consisting mainly of Jha‘s regular faces. It does not matter if they don‘t really fill the bill. Of his main players, Rampal, Deol and Gupta, none has a well-defined role. The only one who steals a march is the little known Anjali Patil. Om Puri and Manoj Bajpayee don‘t help much because of their sketchy characters. And it is high time Murali Sharma changed his expressions and mannerisms. The music is a letdown and the film offers nothing in the name of entertainment.

Prakash Jha‘s story, screenplay, direction and the very idea of making this film fails to justify why anyone will pay 200 to 300 rupees to watch it.

Chakravyuh is poor beyond redemption.

Latest Reads
Jay Pandya joins Legend Global Studio as CEO

Mumbai: Jay Pandya has joined media company Legend Global Studio as chief executive officer, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to this, Pandya was associated with OTT platform Zee5 where he was head of content acquisition and partnership for more than five years. He previously worked with...

Movies Hindi
Siddharth Roy Kapur re-elected as president of Producers Guild of India

Mumbai: Roy Kapur Films founder and MD Siddharth Roy Kapur has been re-elected as president of Producers Guild of India at the 67th annual general meeting (AGM) of the association held virtually on 29 September. Reliance Entertainment's Shibasish Sarkar was named as vice president of the industry...

Movies Hindi
ITC Kitchens of India to feature on Inox’s menu

Multiplex chain Inox Leisure Ltd on Wednesday announced its partnership with ITC Ltd's Ready-to-Eat gourmet brand Kitchens of India to introduce a redefined, innovative F&B experience across all multiplexes of Inox in India.

Movies Movies On Mutiple Platforms
Cinema halls, drama theatres to reopen in Maharashtra from 22 Oct

Mumbai: Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced that cinema halls and drama theatres in the state will be allowed to operate starting from 22 October. Theatres will have to adhere to the norms set by the government to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. The state government...

Movies Hindi
Taapsee Pannu-starrer 'Rashmi Rocket' to directly premiere on Zee5

Mumbai: Video streaming platform Zee5 is set to premiere Tapsee Pannu-starrer sports drama "Rashmi Rocket" on 15 October. The film is produced by Ronnie Screwvala, Neha Anand and Pranjal Khandhdiya under RSVP and Mango People Media.

Movies Hindi
Prime Video to stream original film ‘Sardar Udham’ in October

Mumbai: Amazon Prime Video has announced its new original film "Sardar Udham," which will begin streaming in October. “With every story that we present on Amazon Prime Video, we ensure that the narrative is replete with emotions and depth that finds a place in the heart of every viewer,” said...

Movies Hindi
Viacom18 Studios, Dharma Productions ink four-film distribution deal

Mumbai: Viacom18 Studios on Wednesday announced its partnership with Dharma Productions on four Hindi films meant for theatrical, broadcast, and streaming distribution. The titles which are part of this deal are in various stages of production and are expected to release over the next 18- 24 months.

Movies Hindi
2021 global cinema revenues drop to half of pre-pandemic levels

The total revenues generated by the global cinema industry are set to reach only 50 per cent of 2019’s pre-Covid revenues according to Omdia’s latest Cross-Sector Windows report.

Movies Hindi
T-Series, Reliance Entertainment ink a 10-film deal at Rs 1K cr investment

Mumbai: Film production houses T-Series and Reliance Entertainment have joined forces to produce more than 10 films together across varied genres with an investment of approximately Rs 1000 crore. The production houses together will produce big-budget tentpole projects as well as mid-small budget...

Movies Hindi

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required