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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Satyameva Jayate Review: John Abraham Sets Fire to Corruption

Satyameva Jayate exhibits John Abraham back in doing what he does best… in a heart-racing action thriller that will have you questioning right and wrong.

Abraham launches on to the screen as a kind, caring and immensely moral character, he has loved and lost and now wants the corrupt to pay, in this vigilante movie style.

In a city of 200,000 policemen tasked with the safety of the people of Mumbai, a significant number don’t necessarily have the “cleanest” of vardis (uniforms).

When four such ‘dirty’ police inspectors are burnt alive in a series of merciless killings, the entire police force is rocked with terror.

The media is searching for answers. The public is on the fence over these killings. These crimes reflect Vir (John Abraham) as a person. Bold, Calculating and Unapologetic.

He’s not scared of killing or dying. It was clear that he had an agenda. A reason, a drive behind these deaths and he was far from done.

Fearing the next attack, the Commissioner calls upon one of their best bet to catch Vir.

DCP Shivansh (Manoj Bajpayee) is what a proper policeman looks like – Strong, Courageous, Patriotic and most importantly, “Clean.” And of course, he’s the best at what he does.

What follows is a succession of events that will test his Probity to the fullest. He is up against Vir, who is a vigilante and will stop at nothing to complete his mission.

Will Vir be successful in concluding his twisted message? Or will Shivansh’s integrity and ethics become his biggest strength and Vir’s biggest weakness?

The concept of a man committing a wrong act for the greater good is quite an intriguing concept. Plus, this concept is compelling enough for the viewer to question the moral compass.

Moreover, there are some soul-stirring dialogues like: “This is India. Here, the truth does not win, only power does” and “Ab Duniya Mein Koi Bhi Mard Yeh Taana Nahin Marega, ‘Tune Choodiya Pehni Hai Kya?’”

These lines are socially relevant, thought-provoking and are set to play on the audience’s mind. In addition, the use of word-plays in the dialogues fit nicely with Satyameva Jayate‘s context and enhance the commercial appeal.

Speaking of commercial appeal, it is lovely to hear and see the full version of the ‘Dilbar’ song. Visually, Nora Fatehi does a great job and her hips definitely don’t lie!

As expected with any John Abraham film, the action sequences here too are full-throttle and this is definitely his most violent movie yet. So if you’re squeamish at seeing people being burnt alive, this may not be your cup of tea.

However, a regressive script lets the film down. The movie appears to be stuck in the 90s and it seems like films such as Agneepath and Deewar have an influence on this action flick.

Also, there seem to be various loopholes in the direction, especially in the minute details. For example, there is a surviving victim of Vir, who is at large. Despite this, there is only one cop guarding the victim. Surely, there should have been much tighter security given that a ‘serial killer’ is on the loose?

We see John entering a police station to attack another victim. He bumps into Manoj Bajpayee as he walks out and after the penny drops, Manoj tries to run after him, hoping to find him. Surely, he could’ve just checked CCTV camera footage afterwards to get a clear visual.

I know we are supposed to ‘switch off our minds’ during masala films, but surely that is no excuse to omit logic from a film?

What is good, though, is John Abraham and Manoj Bajpayee’s performances. Despite their characters being on opposite sides of the spectrum, there seems to be a great camaraderie between the two actors.

Individually, both John and Manoj are excellent. John to begin with packs a solid punch as Vir. He is like wine as he matures as an actor with every movie. I think we should see him portray more such dark roles in the future.

It is a given that Manoj Bajpayee is a legend and he proves it again in Satyameva Jayate. The actor is effortless in portraying the role of the pious and honest police officer, Shivansh.

Aisha Sharma makes her Bollywood debut in this Milap Zaveri film as she plays Shikha – Vir’s love interest and she fits the bill, though I don’t feel the romantic track is necessary for the film.

In my opinion, the movie would’ve been better if we saw Vir as this darkish character as it is this personality which shapes the movie’s narrative.

Raazi actress Amruta Khanvilkar delivers another impressionable performance, though in a very brief role in this movie. I think she is capable of being a sole heroine!

On the whole, despite its flaws, Satyameva Jayate is a well-intentioned venture. It highlights that the country is changing, but change has to happen at a grassroots level i.e. through the police force’s attitude.

It’s a shame that there are quite a few loopholes, but the film is nonetheless a decent one-time watch.

⭐⭐⭐ (3/5 stars)

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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