Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgan, Amrita Rao, Manoj Bajpai, Arjun Rampal, Kareena Kapoor Khan and others
Direction: Prakash Jha
Year of Release: 2013
Nikhil’s Rating: ***
Satyagraha directed by Prakash Jha, is a political thriller set against a backdrop of a corrupt government and the people taking steps to vanquish it. Amitabh Bachchan essays the role of Dwarka Anand – a school principal who believes in the Gandhian approach to repair the government. Manav Raghuvandra, played by Ajay Devgan, is a Businessman by profession and is a friend of Dwarka Anand’s son. Arjun Rampal is a person who wants to delve into politics but be a driving force for the well being of his community. He is Anand’s ex student. Manoj Bajpai plays the corrupt minister Balram Singh who treats his post as a private business. Yasmin Ahmed, essayed by Kareena Kapoor Khan, is a reporter for a TV news channel.
All is well up to the point where Anand’s son – a construction worker – dies in an accident.
The government promises compensation. Will the government give Anand his due? Or would he stand up against the good-for-nothing government?
The narrative is based on real-life incidents – primarily the Anna Hazaare Andolan and his fast. In addition to this it acts as a mirror showing the Indian government’s real deeds. It also sheds light on the sad state of the infrastructure in our country. It is a film that gives a thought-provoking message about how India would turn to dust – if action is not taken by one and all. I would add that Satyagraha is an important film to be released, especially at this time when the current Indian Government has been, by and large, known for corruption and nothing else!
Prakash Jha wraps this message into a two and a half hour movie. He has also made use of the media, social networking, and other methods to communicate what he intended to achieve in this movie. His story is interesting but feels dragged in the second half. His direction is good but could have been a little better post-interval. Needless to say, the editing could have been tighter. Other technical aspects such as the make-up and costumes are very good, especially Amitabh Bachchan’s post-intermission. The Cinematography by Sachin Kishn is really good, evident in the scenes involving crowds.
As far as acting goes, Amitabh Bachchan as the principal Dwarka Anand, delivers a riveting performance in every scene. Ajay Devgan is also good, and gets every nuance of his character. Kareena Kapoor Khan is sincere as her role demanded. Amrita Rao has a good role and does justice. But the pick of the actors according to me is Manoj Bajpai as Balram Singh, who delivers an exceptional performance. He is not the conventional angry villain, but gave me goose bumps with his subtle humor.
All said Satyagraha is an entertaining one-time watch. With power-packed performances and a social message, this one is for the future generation who would like this country to change, all for the better.