Star cast: Ajay Devgan, Akshaye Khanna, Bipasha Basu, Reema Sen, Paresh Rawal.
Plot: Ajay and Akshaye come to Jhanjhar village to investigate a murder case. They realise, it is a case of honour killing. How they solve the case and get to the root of the social evil is revealed in the film.
What’s Good: Performances of Ajay, Akshaye, Paresh Rawal.
What’s Bad: The grim drama, the monotonous screenplay.
Verdict: Aakrosh will not add anything to the honour of its cast and crew.
Loo break: Several.
Big Screen Entertainer and Zee Motion Pictures’ Aakrosh (A) is a story about honour killings. A lower caste boy, studying in a Delhi college, had gone to his village – Jhanjhar in Bihar – with his two college friends. These three young boys go missing and it is some weeks now since they have disappeared. The government appoints army officer Pratap Kumar (Ajay Devgan) and CBI officer Siddhant Chaturvedi (Akshaye Khanna) to solve the case of the missing boys. The investigation becomes very difficult for the two officers as corruption in the police force in Jhanjhar is rampant. Ajatshatru Singh (Paresh Rawal) is one of the most corrupt police officers there and he has the support of the local politicians and landlords who run a Shool Sena which exploits hapless villagers with its atrocities perpetrated on them. The police personnel, of course, turn a blind eye to the wrongs inflicted by the rich and powerful on the villagers.
Even the exploited public does not help in the investigations as the local inhabitants fear for their lives. Then, one day, Pratap and Siddhant get lucky when they interrogate Roshni (Amita Pathak), the daughter of the most powerful and the richest person of Jhanjhar. Geeta (Bipasha Basu), who is married to Ajatshatru Singh, also helps in the investigations. Although Geeta is Ajatshatru Singh’s wife, she still loves Pratap Kumar who wanted to marry her but couldn’t as he belonged to a lower caste. How Pratap and Siddhant blow the lid off the evil of honour killings is revealed in the climax.
Robin Bhatt and Akash Khurana’s story is issue-based and their screenplay stays true to the story. However, by its very nature, the story is grim and depressing because of which the drama becomes dull and drab. Pratap Kumar and Siddhant watching helplessly the police officers of Jhanjhar indulge in corruption and illegal activities gets on the audience’s nerves after a point of time because they are, after all, men of authority. Also, even if one were to take away the point of honour killings from the story, its treatment wouldn’t change materially which, effectively, means that the film is like any other murder mystery. That is to say, the film, in the true sense, appears to be a usual and routine murder mystery with absolutely nothing new to offer except, perhaps, the build-up around it, in the media, that it is based on the burning topic of honour killings. No doubt, the topic of honour killings may make the audience in places like U.P., Haryana and Bihar sit up and take note but the film is not likely to shake the audience across India. Also, because there is so much violence in the film and because most of the characters keep shouting their lungs out, the film will not hold much appeal for the multiplex audiences.
This is not to say that there are no plus points in the film. Ajatshatru Singh’s dialogues are entertaining and provide relief but that may not be enough. In fact, dialogues, penned by Aditya Dhar, are interesting, generally speaking too. Some of the action scenes, composed by B. Thyagarajan and R.P. Yadav, are raw and exciting. The climax scenes are entertaining, if only because they mark the victory of good over evil.
Ajay Devgan acts wonderfully, speaking through his eyes, expressions and body language as much as with the aid of dialogues. Akshaye Khanna also performs beautifully, conveying his frustration and helplessness in the major part of the drama. Both complement each other very well. Bipasha Basu doesn’t have much to do. She does fairly well what is required of her. But one fails to understand why she is shown to be so subservient to her husband as to suffer his womanising habits and violent attacks on her silently. Paresh Rawal shines. He looks every inch the corrupt police officer he plays with aplomb. Reema Sen is effective as Jamunia. Amita Pathak has her moments of drama. Atul Tiwari leaves a mark as the authoritarian and cruel father of Roshni. Vineet Sharma plays the Man Friday of Ajay Devgan and Akshaye Khanna with the right amount of energy. Rajendra Gupta is good. Sameera Reddy leaves an impact in a sexy song-dance. The rest of the cast lends adequate support.
Priyadarshan’s direction is appropriate and goes with the script. But the script has a lot of commercial limitations. Pritam Chakraborty’s music is alright but the absence of at least two hit songs in a grim drama as this is sorely felt. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are okay. Song picturisations (Pony Verma, G. Kala and B. Selvi) could’ve been far better. Camerawork (by Tirru S.) captures well the mood of the film and the ambience of the locality where it is based. Sabu Cyril’s sets are quite realistic. Arun Kumar’s editing may be neat but scenes are too lengthy. The film could’ve done with deletion of scenes of a running time of at least 20 minutes. This would’ve made the drama more taut and less loose. Action scenes are enjoyable, especially in the climax. Chase sequences are very excitng. Production and technical aspects are apt.
On the whole, Aakrosh is more grim than entertaining. Since entertainment is the catch word in films today and because the public likes to watch entertaining fare, this film loses out on that count. A loser! At the box-office, it will have a run which will not be exciting or inspiring enough for the kind of issue it tackles. The dull period (for the box-office) will also take its toll on the earnings.