Adil Khan(Arjun Rampal), is a tough cop who is transfered to the Naxalite infested Nandighat after the SP of Nandighat is axed by the Naxals along with a few hundred men. Once in Nandighat, Adil realizes that his biggest challenge is to get intel on the movement and locations of the Naxals let alone arrest them. He runs into a honey trap soon enough but escapes death narrowly. His friend Kabir(Abhay Deol), offers to help him by infiltrating the Naxal camp and he successfully does so. But as Kabir spends time amidst the Naxals he starts having a change of heart. His situation is further complicated as he starts falling for an area commander of the Naxals, Juhi(Anjali Patil). What Kabir does will not only affect the balance of the battle between the Naxals and the authorities but also bring two best friends on crossroads with each other.
Prakash Jha has been able to knit together an interesting story with enough facts and drama to keep the audience interested for the 2 hour 30 minutes runtime. The initial development is slow as he allows the characters to connect with the audiences and make them care for what happens to each of them. The screenplay provides enough answers and leaves very questions unanswered. There had to be reason behind the action of Kabir and that is provided in his nomadic and random nature and attitude towards life. His change of hear had to be even more astute or else the story would have faltered and Jha manages this as well by giving Kabir’s character enough time to get reasons to hate the authorities and sympathize with the Naxals.
There is plenty of action and most of it is done with aplomb. The weapons used and shown, the fatigues and the mannerism are acceptable. The CRPF make an appearance in almost all the actions which is spot on as the CRPF’s battalions are extensively used with police and other Paramilitary forces in Naxal infested areas. thus it can be said that Chakravyuh was well researched. The cinematography is in keeping with the mood of the film. The music is drab and outright unnecessary in some places. But the background score in some sequences are catchy. The editing is good.
Arjun Rampal delivers a strong performance. He seems to be aging well and with every film, gaining more and more confidence. Abhay Deol, though has a meatier role and does a terrific work with it. His transformations are believable and portrays a plethora of emotions convincingly. Watch out for the sequence where he confronts his friend towards the end. Esha Gupta is barely there. Anjali Patil is the surprise package and make the most of her role. Manoj Bajpayee and Om Puri are superb as ever.
Overall, Chakravyuh is a captivating watch. It is the kind of movie which puts forward a burning social issue sans the social lecture or cacophony. It is both entertaining and enlightening. After the debacle of Aarakshaan, Chakravyuh marks Prakash Jha’s return to form.