SATYAMEVA JAYATE (2018)

  • Release Date: 15/8/2018
  • Director: Milap Milan Zaveri
  • Cast: John Abraham, Manoj Bajpayee, Aisha Sharma

Satyameva Jayate tries to be a vigilante film that is aimed at not only the whistleblowing and cat-calling frontbencher but also the elite class with a healthy dose of family drama, patriotic undercurrents and sly attempts at thrills. However, with a straight-faced, square-jawed John Abraham who doesn’t move a single muscle of the very little acting prowess that he has and Manoj Bajpayee slipping further down the ladder of his renowned acting abilities, Satyameva Jayate turns out to be an insufferable watch which will even make the very inane of front-benchers apprehensive and question its viability.

Veer (John Abraham) repeatedly kills corrupt police officers in brutal fashions. Shivansh (Manoj Bajpayee) a decorated and morally correct police officer is brought in to nail Veer who has quickly attained a cult following. In the meantime, Veer falls in love with Shikha (Aisha Sharma), a veterinary doctor. As Veer and Shivansh go about doing what they feel is necessary, the body count rises and points to a reason buried deep in the past.

On paper, the idea for Satyameva Jayate doesn’t look bad. But the manner in which the film is executed and the awfully bad performances and dialogues don’t let it go anywhere. The film begins with a murder and ends with one. Every kill of Veer is built up in slow motion with him mouthing unnecessary jingoism about matchsticks, fire, corruption etc. The buildups are so overcharged and unnecessarily dramatized that they lose their punch right off the bat. The action sequences would have worked well had they been envisioned keeping in mind the fact that gravity exists and that there is a limit to a man’s strength no matter how angry and distraught he is. Add to that the almost caricature-ish nature of the villains and you have a recipe for disaster.

John Abraham did quite well in Madras Café. For the first time in that film he was able to emote and to see him in a role that rendered him as a vulnerable and real character was nothing short of a revelation. But ever since that film, he seems to have had enough of acting and with every subsequent film, has been slipping further and further down in the rut. Satyameva Jayate is another case of him carrying a single expression on his face throughout the runtime of a film. It’s another one of those films where he is shown walking with a swagger in slo-mo towards the camera as stuff either burns or blows up in the background. He tries to be uber cool with the heroine and shouts his lungs out to cover-up for a lack of emotional depth and range. The only thing good about him is his toned body which unfortunately cannot make up for all the rest that is lacking.

In between the Aligarhs and Gangs of Wasseypurs, Manoj Bajpayee keeps doing the Tevars and Baaghi 2s. What caught my attention in his rendering of Shivansh was the fact that he was actually recycling traits of many of his previous characters and trying to make a new character out of them. He fails miserably in doing so. Dialogue delivery has been one of his fortes and that very forte takes a beating in this film. I was nearly rolling on the floor laughing when he yells at John and asks him to come down to a police station so that they can square their accounts. That scene was unintentionally funny. Add to that the casting blasphemy of making him the elder brother of John and both of them sons of Chetan Pandit and you take away from him any semblance of making a character out of Shivansh.

Let’s not raise the topic of the heroine of the film, Aisha Sharma. The lesser is said about her the better. I really didn’t understand why she was there in the first place. Her character is there just so that the primary antagonist could be brought to a particular spot. I am sure, Veer could have thought another way around it. Oh! And her dialogue delivery and expressions are Oscar worthy if I may add.

Milap Milan Zaveri, whose biggest previous film was Maastizaade starring two Sunny Leones has this awkward habit of repeating sequences. The suicide of Chetan Pundit is shown innumerable times. The police pledge is repeated to the extent that it becomes irritating and he also makes it a point to spell out each and everything as if we were toddlers. The film totally lacks sense. The action and the manner in which justice is served is also highly implausible. The things that the protagonist does makes no sense at all. The Tajdar-e-Haram song is a prime example. The question that I asked myself was why Veer would take part in such a song that brought him out in the open when he was mostly killing by ambush. A similar question came to my mind when they show CC TV footage of John killing in a petrol pump but that topic is never brought up again.

Films like Satyameva Jayate are generally likable when they are done with even a semblance of credibility and respect. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with this film. Satyameva Jayate believes that John’s star power will be enough to drive this fuel-less and soul-less vehicle. Terrible acting, tacky action, a total lack of believability and respect for the viewers are just some of the reasons that make Satyameva Jayate a miss-able affair.

Rating: 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)

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