Rating : 5/10
Release Date : 30th August, 2013
Time : 154 minutes
Director : Prakash Jha; Writer : Anjum Rajabali, Prakash Jha; Music : Various
Starring : Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee, Amrita Rao, Girish Sahdev
It says the right things, talks about the issues with our system, talks about the issues faced when you revolt, also mentions briefly the choices faced during such a revolt (to align with a political party or not, to choose violence or ahimsa) and even, especially via Manoj Bajpayee, injects some amount of humour in the proceedings. Its also loud, preachy, tedious, stretched and comes with an unsatisfactory ending, and even has an item song and a ‘love’ track.
Retired school teacher, perennial do-gooder, educator to the poor, Gandhi-vadi Amitabh Bachchan finds reason (a just cause according to most of us) to revolt against the system. Is thrown behind bars. And then decides to make the issue, not personal (ignoring his own cause) but rather chases systemic change against a political-bureaucratic nexus that is absolutely unwilling to budge. He is joined in this battle by his daughter-in-law, Amrita Rao, an ex-student, ex-rowdy turned do-gooder, Arjun Rampal. By a rich businessman and worshipper of capitalism, who suddenly converts, Ajay Devgn and by leading news reporter / editor, Kareena Kapoor Khan. A lawyer and a police officer also play significant roles
Arrayed against this group is the ruling state coalition party, with Home Minister, Manoj Bajpayee as villain in chief and Vipin Sharma, Girish Sahdev and assorted others.
You will see nothing that you haven’t seen before, in terms of what the baddies do. Using the cops to arrest protestors, break up gatherings, use of paramilitary forces, water cannons, tear gas. Framing false charges. And also nothing new, in terms of what the good guys attempt. Candlelight vigils, facebook pages, posters, marches, mobile marketing and even self-immolation and a fast unto death.
I liked the fact that there were some debates during the revolt, with Kareena expressing a POV different to that of the male leads. The acting is universally good, even though the characters are all more than a bit melodramatic, all slightly unreal in their black & white-ness. The plot just stretches, meandering its way to a largely unbelievable climax. The movie has its heart in the right place but it’s the charisma of the leads that probably makes it watchable, but only just.