Hard Hitting Tit-For-Tat Saga
Ratings – * * * 1/2
Director Priyadarshan is considered a specialist in rib-tickling comedies or light entertainers as the filmmaker has churned out a large number of such genre of movies successfully in the past decade viz; Hera Pheri, Hungama, Garam Masala, Malamaal Weekly, Chup Chup Ke, Bhagam Bhaag and De Dana Dan to name a few.
However, he opens an altogether new chapter with Aakrosh. Although the director has provided some hard-hitting sagas in the past both in Bollywood, but this is the first time he has tried his hand in serious issue-based drama and has made an action thriller out of it. So does he succeed in the new venture? The answer (according to me) is positive as the film succeeds in generating thrill, throwing light on the issue of caste differences and caste politics and in giving a message of equality.
The intenseness develops right from the start when three Delhi University students go missing in the village of Jhanjhar. An ex-army officer Pratap Kumar (Ajay Devgan) and CBI officer Siddhant Chaturvedi (Akshaye Khanna) are handed over the task to investigate the case of the missing students after it becomes a national issue. Soon, Pratap and Siddhant realize their helplessness in a lawless land governed by the hooligan inspector Ajatshatru Singh, his comrades and local politicians. How Pratap and Siddhant, both diagonally different from each other, handle the investigation amidst a hopeless situation forms the rest of the story.
The biggest plus point for Aakrosh is Robin Bhatt’s screenplay, which keeps the audience glued to the screen throughout. The action sequences add thrill and gel well with the goings. Even Bipasha Basu and Ajay’s love story fits well without disturbing the continuity or dislodging the hard-hitting nature of the film. Overall, it’s the screenplay and the dialogues (Aditya Dhar) that make Aakrosh what it is.
Despite a number of plus-points, the film appears dry (especially to the entertainment hungry audience) in some portions. Some heroic deeds in between and some more punch dialogues by the two male leads would have added more mazaa for the audience.
The subject of the movie makes Pritam’s music go unnoticed. Sameera Reddy’s item number Tere Ishak Se Meetha is noticeable but because of the situation.
Ajay Devgan once again proves why he is a master in portraying serious and intense roles. It’s a pleasure to keep your eyes on him whenever he appears although he doesn’t mouth too many dialogues and speaks more via expressions and eyes. A real treat for Ajay’s fans. Akshaye Khanna was required to underplay his character and he does that exceedingly well. Although he plays second fiddle to Ajay, he shows his class in a number of sequences.
After playing a comic guy in a number of Priyadarshan’s flicks, Paresh Rawal this time plays a hardcore, ruthless and corrupt police officer and does that with utmost perfection. One just loves to hate him in this role where he also keeps his comic avatar intact. Bipasha Basu and Reema Sen also do well in supporting roles. Amita Pathak acts well in a cameo.
This hard-hitting saga by Priyadarshan surely deserves a watch. However, the film’s box-office collections do not look healthy as is the case with almost all serious films these days (when will the audience come out of the hangover of mindless comedies and romantic films?). Hence, this well made effort relies on word-of-mouth to succeed at the box-office, which looks unlikely looking at the box-office records of films released in last year or two.