Aakrosh – Review
Posted by Editor on October 16, 2010 | No Comments
FILM – Aakrosh
PRODUCER – Kumar Mangat
DIRECTOR – Priyadarshan
WRITER – Robin Bhatt, Aakash Khurana
CAST – Ajay Devgan, Akshaye Khanna, Bipasha Basu, Reema Sen.
MUSIC – Pritam Chakraborty
Loud, feverish and soul-less, is by far the best way to describe this film that aches to be as potently arousing as Mississippi Burning (its soul and blood sibling, the identical twin, if we may) was. The setting and its earthy, brutish-ness of the Indian hinterland gives Priyadarshan ample space to play with the volume of high drama and he exploits it to the maximum squeeze.
Ajay Devgan and Akshay Khanna are investigating officers deployed to investigate the disappearance of three young boys in the dark, dreaded world of chaos and disorder that is Jhanjhar. While they unearth clue after clue in the increasingly hostile environment of this netherworld, they uncover a dark nexus of evil-doers among those who are meant to be the protectors. The battle becomes a war and the stakes keep rising. Petty victories and losses keep tipping the scales and clues tumble by the sheer force of the screenplay while Akshaye Khanna continues to screech at the hapless villagers to come forward and help.
Aakrosh, wraps itself in the issues of honour killing but does a double flip on itself and forgets its theme as soon as an opportunity to build drama comes up. It tries to weave in the caste-issue (what better Indian counterpart to the African-American black and white issue) also continuing that strain just an opportunity for the dalit hero to vent his anger.
Having said that, Aakrosh, stays true to its pace and the presence of its leads drives the film forward confidently. The faulty writing leaves them floundering about their characters and their relationship with an extremely poor and pretentious attitude towards the dynamics of a working partnership between hot-blooded equals. The mention would have been unwarranted had the screenplay and direction not consciously tried to achieve that. The failure is much more glaring.
The writing also seems to be in a time-warp with the voice and tone of socialist dramas of a decade back. The gore is desperate and so is the helpless-ness of the situation. Monotonous and clichéd tracks with ‘realistic’ outcomes stitch the film together in a bid to make it true to its context. It only ends being staid, plaid and said too many times before.
Although high-octane and gory, Aakrosh is anything but intense. It is gut-wrenching but not hard-hitting, suspectedly because of the lack of conviction. The female leads fill in as subsidiary characters subdued, helpless and the ultimate symbol of the underdog (even though Bipasha Basu, the khadi clad sati-savitri, torture-bearing woman is suddenly seen as the hotpants girl in a flashback song, the drastic transition, of course left unexplained.) Jamuniya’s (Reema Sen) reality is much more stark and fierce and much credit goes to the actress for having lived the contained intensity with conviction.
Paresh Rawal, as the bad man, is a refreshing change from his slapstick, burlesque and hammy self. The menace and steely evil he manages to pack in is reminiscent of his hey-days and makes the film a tighter drama than it otherwise would have been. This, however isn’t redemption. The film is chokingly loud and insincere to its cause and craft, so much so that the energy and enforced dynamism of the lead pair cannot invest it with much.
In a building drama of events that tries its best to stay true to the original by a very dutiful copy paste screenplay, Aakrosh culminates in the anger of multiple shades. The anger of the common man with his helpless state and the exploitative system and the anger of the common audience with his helpless state of consuming the constant trash served to him in the name of cinema.