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.
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