Satyameva Jayate takes us back to the golden era of masala films and brings back the angry young man with a vengeance. It’s unabashedly mainstream commercial Bollywood in every sense, but falls in the bracket of plot-driven masala entertainment like Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Sunny Deol, and Sanjay Dutt better movies in this realm from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Revolving around Vir’s (John Abraham) crusade against corrupt cops, where he adopts the most-violent methods in the book to extract his version of justice, and DCP Shivansh’s (Manoj Bajpayee) quest to nab him before he brutally snuffs out the life from any more such police officers (even though deep down he’s doing it only out of a sense of duty rather than a desire to protect his dirty-to-the-bone colleagues) – Satyameva Jayate weaves a adrenaline-fueled narrative around this plot, backed by a simple yet engrossing script, and embellished by some surprising good twists and turns, eventually coming up with the goods that should plaster a wide grin across the visage of anyone looking for a fun time at the movies.
The action on display hits you hard, the punchlines draw copious whistles and claps (Milap Zaveri again displays his flair for filmy lines, and if you don’t mind such dialogues, then you’d readily buy into them), and John Abraham makes for the perfect laconic action hero out for revenge (it’s his presence, power, and punchlines that trump his performance, and absolutely no complains there), with Manoj Bajpayee sportingly hamming it up for the sake of his role. And the interval block reminded me of a solid South potboiler (the kind which their audiences still wholeheartedly embrace). Adding more spice to this chatpata curry are two terrific twists that you don’t see coming (the third is quite predictable), where Zaveri the Director makes his presence felt.
The major letdown comes in the form of not a single hummable track, which is essential for such films, unless you count the remixed version of Dilbar that wouldn’t be to everyone’s liking. Nora Fathehi certainly sizzles and smolders in the song, but the music has little going for it.) The editing could have been tighter (a common complaint for most Hindi film, regardless their genre), but Maahir Zaveri at least never allows the pace to slacken for the film’s 141-minute runtime. Nigam Bomzan’s camerawork is nothing fancy but serviceable for a venture of this kind. Aisha Sharma too needs to do a lot of work on her dialogue delivery, but her performance hardly derails the film.
A few grievances aside, Satyameva Jayate is like an oily but scrumptiously tasty dish for lovers of hardcore commercial masala films (certainly much better than what Baaghi 2 tried to do with the genre), and those who love this genre that’s quintessentially Bollywood, should not miss the film under any circumstances. If you’ve not been a fan of such films in the past, then this makes for a good introduction on account of it being one of the more sensible ones in the genre.
However, if you still can’t digest such films, then it’s better to not give it a shot keeping in mind that it’s just not your cup of tea, rather than criticizing Bollywood for making a film that majority of the masses want (single screens and even multiplexes in smaller towns and rural areas will go crazy over it). If you don’t have a problem with Tom Cruise scaling the Burj Khalifa or driving one helicopter into another in the snowy Himalayas and still survive the crash. or Christopher Nolan building world after world and staging explosive gun-battles in people’s dreams (make no mistake, I even love those films), then there’s no need to turn up your nose at what a major part of Hindi cinema is traditionally all about (revenge, punches, punchlines, larger-than-life heroes, nasty villains, and full-blown masala).
Coming back to the film, it ends up as completely dhassu, in-your-face, no-holds-barred masala fun, and makes no bones about it. It’s not without flaws, factual inaccuracies, or plot loopholes, but fans of such movies will gleefully overlook them and be drawn into the heady concoction of entertainment that unfolds on screen. So, don’t get surprised by my rating, because a.) I haven’t watched a good masala Hindi phillum (audiences in the interiors still like to call such works as “phillum”, instead of film…like, “Kya phillum hai, bhai. Mazaa aa gaya.”) and b.) I love it when a film knows what it wants to do, sets out to do exactly that, and ends up doing what it sets out to do. Satyameva Jayate isn’t quality cinema, but neither does it pretend to be. Capeesh!
Movified Rating: 3.5/5
Images Source: JA Entertainmen