Actress: Anjali Patil, Esha Gupta
Director: Prakash Jha
Release Date: 24th October 2012
Cast: Abhay Deol, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpai, Esha Gupta, Anjali Patil, Om Puri
Director: Prakash Jha
Writer/s: Prakash Jha, Anjum Rajabali and Sagar Pandya
Plot: When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared, “The Maoists have become the gravest threat to India’s internal security”, he was undoubtedly reflecting an extremely urgent concern that the entire country feels.
And yet, this ‘enemy’ is not an outsider; these are our countrymen, our own children that are fighting our state. India is at war with itself!
Chakravyuh is the story of two best friends: Adil and Kabir. Adil Khan, a highly decorated police officer is posted to Nandighat, after a horrifying massacre of 84 policemen. Within days, he discovers that the Maoists, lead by the ruthless and charismatic Rajan, effectively control the area. They are able to swiftly thwart Adil’s most determined efforts. Despite holding a position of enormous power as the SP of Nandighat, Adil has never felt so helpless in his career.
But then, into his life, re-enters Kabir! Rootless, aimless, the quintessential rolling stone.. His only anchor in life has always been his friendship with and his loyalty for Adil. The maverick proposes an outrageous plan: He will infiltrate Rajan’s group, and be Adil’s informer. And, together they will smash the Maoist organization in Nandighat. In spite of his apprehensions, Adil agrees.
Sure enough, Kabir gets in and craftily wins their confidence, as only he can. He secretly begins informing Adil, who starts attacking the Maoists with great success. An enormous cache of arms raided, two top national leaders and 63 activists killed at an arms-training camp.. And, Rajan himself captured! Within weeks, Adil-Kabir turn the game, pushing the Maoists on to the backfoot.
But, Kabir also begins discovering a different reality. The abject helplessness of the rural poor, brutally displaced in the name of development, the fruits of which never reach them. Their land, their forest, their water snatched by their own government to allow big business to exploit the area and its people further. As the poverty and desperation rise, so does a cry of anger.. giving birth to the naxalite who believes the only way to counter this is with a gun!
Kabir also can’t help getting close to the activists; begins identifying with them. Rajan, Babu, Venu.. And Juhi. A dedicated revolutionary with a tender heart, who has seen pain like none other. She begins to fall in love with Kabir. The confusion in Kabir’s heart intensifies dangerously until he is on the horns of a ghastly dilemma. Who does he support now? Who does he fight? He finds himself in a chakravyuh from which there is no retreat now.
And yet, before Kabir can make one last desperate attempt to resolve this with Adil, events hurtle him into making choices that would put him at war with him. A war that would change the future of the region. A war that can only end when one of them destroys the other.
Brief Character Sketches:
Adil Khan (32 years)
Adil Khan is a senior police officer and the newly posted SP of Nandighat after the massacre of the former SP Kamal Kishore and CRPF officer Sarabjeet in a deadly attack by Naxalites. An honest, courageous and dedicated cop, he is also the husband of Intelligence Bureau head Rhea Menon. Together they form a formidable team and tackle the Naxal menace that has hit the state. His friendship with Kabir dates back to even before they were in college. Adil comes from an affluent family and Kabir’s low middle class background did not go very well with Adil’s father, who felt Kabir was a distraction in Adil’s road to success. But the two friends stuck to each other through thick and thin. Adil being the level headed, and calm friend has been responsible for many a good things that has happened in his friends life. From college fees, to UPS exams to joining the academy. Adil’s point of view on the Naxal menace is simple. Violence is not the answer, and anybody who is responsible for it is his enemy. As the story progresses he enjoys the information that Kabir passes from the enemy camp. But with Kabir’s changing nature and emotions, he finds himself in a tough situation. As a police officer he wants the end of violence and to restore peace in the area, and as a friend he wants his friend Kabir back. But Kabir turns out to be even more dangerous than Rajan, and that is something Adil cannot live with.
Emotional volcano – is what Kabir is. Born and brought up in low middle class background, as long as he was friends with Adil Khan, life seemed to be in some sort of a rhythm. Otherwise he is impulsive, brash, and somebody who wouldn’t stop at anything short to express his views. A flamboyant character, likes to live life up his sleeves. A daredevil by nature, he’s done some very odd and extreme jobs in his life – from being a B.Tech to making his own brand of mobiles, and has even been arrested for assaulting a police officer! Goes on an undercover mission for his friend, only to find the goal and aim of his life, at the cost of going against his friend. In Juhi and the Naxal ideologue Govind, he discovers what the real fight is about and that they’re not the enemy, but the state that terms them the menace.
Late 50’s. Comes from a wealthy family from Mumbai. A very sensitive person, first got exposed to active politics and Naxal ideology during his college years. Studied in the Doon school, graduated from the London School of economics, gave up all the luxuries of life for a cause his believed in – Naxalism. Has been actively involved and is a senior member of the party. Member of the Central Committee, Govind is responsible for the planning, ideology, recruitment and various other propaganda work of the Maoists. For the media and govt he is a terrorist, but the adivasis treat him like their Messiah. A man who fights for them, for their land, rivers and mountains. Also is a key figure who influences and guides the deadly energy of Kabir in a channelised manner.
Heads the Intelligence Bureau of Bhopal and the wife of SP Adil Khan. Adil and Rhea met at the academy and have been partners since then. Together with Kabir, the trio form a solid friendship. Despite Adil’s strong friendship with Kabir, she is the one who understands his emotional vulnerability and how dangerous he can be, if not controlled. Her extensive use of technology in Nandighat, and setting up satellite imagery is what boosts the police movement and helps Adil and team in controlling their surveillance.
Rajan (mid 30s)
Rajan is the zonal commander of Nandighat region. Ever since he entered the jungles 9 years ago, he’s taken control of things. Does not allow any police patrolling, checkposts to sustain, has virtually cut of any govt officer from doing any development work in the area. A graduate, he has dedicated his entire life to the welfare and cause of the adivasis. His intelligence network is so strong and the confidence that the villagers have in him, has stopped the govt and MNC’s to promote any activity in the area. But the advent of Adil Khan – who has promised his seniors and the Mahanta group to set up their factory, changes the situation for Rajan. For the first time he finds a formidable opponent and with Kabir acting as a mole, virtually destroys Rajan’s plans. But his vision, personality and ideals have an everlasting effect on Kabir, eventually making him a Naxalite as well.
Juhi (late 20s)
Juhi hails from a small town. She was a simple girl with simple dreams. But one event changed her life. Her brother was found with revolutionary leaflets, and dragged out of home. When she pleaded with the cops that he was innocent, they tried to molest her in return. In self-defense she was forced to kill. Her father died as well. Life left her with two choices. Either commit suicide or join the Naxals. And when she met Naxals, she found a leader with a vision, somebody who had dedicated his life for people like her. She joined the dalam. Juhi is apprehensive about Kabir in the beginning, but soon begins to respond to his charm and inquisitiveness. Sees the tough guy with a warm heart that he is, and the two connect at a deeper level somewhere. She understands his pain, dilemma and acts as an anchor in Rajan’s absence. It is only after she is arrested and raped by corrupt cop Madhav Rao, that Kabir loses it and unleashes himself. She is also the one who towards the end discovers that Kabir is a mole, and despite all her feelings towards him is ready to kill him. But when Kabir sacrifices himself for the cause at the cost of giving safe passage to Govind and Rajan, she stands by him right until the end and sacrifices her life for the cause and love.
Rating: 2/5 Stars (Two-Stars)
Star Cast: Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol, Manoj Bajpayee, Esha Gupta, Kabir Bedi.
What’s Good: Abhay Deol and Anjali Patil’s performances.
What’s Bad: Arjun & Esha’s acting; the screenplay.
Loo break: Any time in the first half.
Watch or Not?: Watch Chakravyuh for a semi-decent take on the plague of Naxalism.
Adil Khan (Arjun Rampal), Rhea Menon (Esha Gupta) and Kabir (Abhay Deol) are friends at the police training institute. But Kabir’s tempestuous ways gets him kicked out of the program. Years later, Adil decides to take up a posting in a dreaded Naxal infested area where the Mahanta Group is trying to kick start their mining project. Even with all his honest efforts, Adil only ends up getting ambushed at the hands of the Naxal leader Rajan (Manoj Bajpayee). When an injured Adil comes to meet his friend, they hack up a plan of infiltrating the Naxal group to obtain first-hand information.
Accordingly, Kabir joins the gun-toting Naxals and soon gains their trust while stealthily passing information to Adil. Kabir escapes getting caught by the skin of his teeth and has a thing or two for his pretty but fiery comrade Juhi (Anjali Patil). Initially, Kabir is the perfect double-agent, but he soon starts seeing the other side of the picture with the police and the administration abusing their powers , the police using the tribals as mere pawns and custodial rapes.
When he tries to explain the situation to Adil, it just makes them bitter rivals. After Rajan gets arrested, the group turns to Kabir for direction.
Does Kabir join the Naxals and forget his commitment to Adil? What happens to their friendship? Whose “cause” wins? Does Adil fall for the lures of the builder Mahanta (Kabir Bedi)?
Chakravyuh Review: Script Analysis
Prakash Jha, Sagar Pandya and Anjum Rajabali’s story is inspired by many real life incidents, yet they don’t hold together very well. For the most part of the movie you only see the vilification of the Naxalites. Even when the viewer (and Kabir) learns of the government’s atrocities, it really doesn’t show you the whole picture and mostly paints Naxals as monsters.
Kabir’s entry and ascent among the Naxals seems like cakewalk. The story also takes a lot of time to pick up. The story only picks up after the interval when Kabir and Adil’s conversation changes to “teri” and “hamari”, but by that time you’ve already lost your patience.
Chakravyuh Review: Star Performances
Arjun Rampal doesn’t really fit the bill as the tough cop, neither does his bristly moustache help. Esha Gupta is more of the let down. Abhay Deol manages to hold up much of the film with his dynamic act. Manoj Bajpayee has little screen time but does well. Anjali Patil really packs a surprise as Juhi and reminds you of Mahasweta Devi’s Dopdi. Kabir Bedi and Om Puri are alright.
Chakravyuh Review: Direction, Music & Technical Aspects
Prakash Jha really deserves praise for taking up something as complicated as Naxalism and almost does justice to it. The music, by Salim-Sulaiman, is alright; the item song is not anywhere near a jaw-dropper. Santosh Mandal’s editing is mediocre. Sachin Krishna’s cinematography is okay.
Chakravyuh Review: The Last Word
Chakravyuh tries to grapple with too many nexuses in the movie, but gets bogged down with the script and mediocre performances.
Chakravyuh released on 24th October, 2012.
Share with us your experience of watching Chakravyuh.