|Prakash Jha has a habit of making films on socially relevant and debatable topics that have always been a sore point in the democratic functioning of our great country.
With our myriad opinions and viewpoints, we have always had divided notions over sensitive issues of Rajneeti, Apaharan, Aarakshan or Naxalism. Hence, to make a movie on them and by and large be successful in portraying them in a way which does not pinch either sides of the diaspora, is a marvellous job.
With Chakravyuh, which deals with naxalism, Jha holds his own. Remarkably, the movie never allows you to settle down; it keeps you on tenterhooks - even the classic confrontational scenes between the ardent son of the soil, SP Adil Khan (Arjun Rampal) and his best friend, the wild son gone to the other side of the law, Kabir (Abhay Deol).
Om Puri is as easy on the eyes as ever, with a wonderful cameo-esque performance.
Manoj Bajpai is reliable, portraying the role of Rajan, the zonal commander of the "Lal Salaam". He exudes the character and speaks with the dialect spoken in the tribal heartlands of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, which is very realistic. He surely is on a roll since his Gangs of Wasseypur days.
Anjali Patil (playing the role of a naxal) deserves applause for a standout performance.
The lead actors do fine a fine job, though I surely missed Ajay Devgn in this film of his favourite director.
The wide camera angles capturing the guerrilla warfare between the police and the naxals are a highlight of the movie. The company trying to start a mega budget project in the forested habitat of the poor tribals and the related issues of rehabilitation and the fight for rights have an uncanny resemblance to the shelved TATA project at West Bengal or the Vedanta project in Orissa.
It's here that the film does manages to show what goes on in thousands of such villages, uprooted at the cost of development - "development" that would have yielded the right results but for the corrupt bureaucracy and the nexus between the politicians and the growth-hungry industry moguls.
The anger, desperation and helplessness are used to perfection by the people who motivate them to pick up arms and fight to establish their own "azad chetra" (free country). These people ultimately hold sway over these poor unsuspecting souls and are feared by them till death. They are the ultimate sufferers.
The film never gets judgemental, but it surely gives rise to a plethora of thoughts in the minds of those leaving the multiplexes at the end of a wonderful and hard-hitting movie. It says: "This disease that has since long weakened the democratic foundations of our country and sacrificed thousands of policemen and innocent tribals is a serious concern for the internal security of our country."
Steps should be taken urgently to address this issue with sensitivity and understanding. The internal war India fights every day has to stop for good.
For now, Lal Salaam to the director for an honest attempt! Deserves a watch.