If you witness the trend of Prakash Jha’s cinematic journey ( Gangaajal, Apaharan, Aarakshan, Rajneeti..), you are assured of the fact that weaving out an engaging yet entertaining social and realistic tale to his audience is his prime forte. In the current trend where most of the directors are churning out mindless entertainers to reach the coveted 100 cr club, the prolific filmmaker has always maintained his focus on realistic and gritty cinema. His latest offering Chakryavyuh too deals with the burning topic of Naxalite Movement, encompassing several elements pertinent to Naxalite ideology that are pertinent in today’s times. But Chakravyuh meets the fate of Jha’s previous flick Aarakshan- a relevant story faltering completely due to poor execution. Jha tries to stuff in too much in this 3 hour cinema, making Chakravyuh a completely stretched and inconsistent film.
Chakrayuh revolves around a upright and gallant police officer Adil (Arjun Rampal), who takes in charge of the ardous task of tackling the menace of Naxal infested area. Aiding him in this mission is his dear friend Kabir (Abhay) who believes in leading life kingsize. Kabir proposes to infiltrate into the Naxal camp, and to become a spy cum informer for the police. Adil accepts, and Kabir transcends the journey with the Naxals, only to realise the problems that has plagued them , and understands their ideology with their leaders ( Om Puri, Manoj Bajpayee). His burning conscience shifts his loyalty towards the Naxals, and creates a rift between the friends. Hence begins a clash between two best friends turns foe with completely contrasting ideologies.
Chakravyuh ‘s engaging premise completely goes off track primarily because they are several redundant characters and subplots which are interspersed in the narrative. So we see a collage of greedy politicians and industrialists and corrupt cops, coupled with platitudes of freedom and justice. Director Prakash Jha focusses so much on these elements that he fails to bring out the actual issue of Naxalite problem with authenticity. Agreed his intentions are noble and the research done by the coterie of writers ( Anjum Rajabali, Jha) is evident from the premise, but its Jha’s lack of vision that mars the film completely.
A serious film like Chakravyuh deserves no songs, but Jha tries to woo the masses with an item track filmed on Sameera Reddy, which is completely inconsequential. Action scenes are good, but are too much to digest, making this film a bit gory and brutal.
Chakravyuh boasts of promising actors, and rendering complete justice to their parts is Abhay Deol and Manoj Bajpayee. Abhay Deol, in particular, enacts his role with full honesty. This is a first for him with Jha and he is in perfect form, rendering his character with shades of vulnerability and determination. This is definitely one of his accomplished works. Manoj Bajpayee, as usual, is in his sublime form. Playing the role of a ballistic Naxal leader, the intense role seems to be tailor made for his calibre, and he comes out with a stupendous performance.
Arjun Rampal is decent, though its evident in several scenes that he tries too hard to emote. Nevertheless, he comes up with a restrained performance. Esha Gupta, as Rampal’s wife cum cop, is completely wasted. Om Puri is commendable, and so as Kabir Bedi. Supporting characters , including Murli sharma and SM Zaheer, render justice to their roles.
Despite a decent and engrossing premise, Chakravyuh is victimised because of its inordinate length and clumsy execution. Jha makes a socio political drama into a inconsequential and boring affair, only to overshadow its core theme. A Dissapointing affair, Chakravyuh is strictly a one time watch!
Watch it out for : The performances of Manoj Bajpayee, Abhay Deol and Om Puri..And a relevant theme!