Satyameva Jayate Movie Review: All action, where's the emotion?

By Sonil Dedhia | Mumbai

Satyameva Jayate isn't entirely joyless. Zaveri writes dialogues that are certain to inspire applause. But, given that it is sculpted to be a masala entertainer, the film is heavy only on action, not emotion.

A still from Satyameva Jayate

Satyameva Jayate
A: Action
Director: Milap Zaveri
Cast: John Abraham, Manoj Bajpayee
Rating:

In a Gotham-style Mumbai brimming with blatantly corrupt cops, a vigilante [John Abraham] turns punisher by first giving them a sermon, and then setting them on fire. As they go from khaki to khaak, harassed citizens applaud with delight. A bright DCP [Manoj Bajpayee] is roped in to investigate a series of killings. What follows is a cat-and-mouse chase with an Abbas-Mustan-esque twist.

Satyameva Jayate is reminiscent of films from the ’70s and ’80s, which entailed hardcore action sequences and enjoyable dialogue-baazi. It couldn’t even deviate from the era’s formulaic theme — revenge drama. Writer-director Milap Milan Zaveri makes a conscious effort to reinvent himself from his previous works, including the likes of Masti (2004), Grand Masti (2013) and Mastizaade (2016). Thankfully, we’d say he succeeds. However, at 142 minutes, the film is incoherent, devoid of logic, repetitive and largely predictable.

The script fails the makers and the premise is buried under an avalanche of mediocrity. What could have been a gripping thriller turns out to be a power point presentation of similar looking scenes. It is thus a boon that Zaveri gets his casting on point. Abraham flexes biceps as Bajpayee puts in enough meat into his act to suffice for the two of them. But, you can’t deny that Abraham knows how to make films of this genre successful. The much-discussed self-flagellation scene deserves a special mention.

It is gory, but shot remarkably. Abraham looked convincing when he lifted a bike in Force, and justifies this act when he rips a tyre with his might. Sadly, he romances action way more than he does his love interest Aisha Sharma. Sharma, on her part, needs lessons in acting. Even though Bajpayee’s frustrations are depicted aptly, he is a talent that seems to have been underutilised here. The film isn’t entirely joyless. Zaveri writes dialogues that are certain to inspire applause. But, given that it is sculpted to be a masala entertainer, the film is heavy only on action, not emotion.

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