Prakash Jha seems to have taken the baton from Anna Hazare to ignite a spark of change (read revolution) from within the system. The director who is well-versed with the political games peels off a layer to expose the corrupt underbelly of politics.
SATYAGRAHA, his latest political offering, is based in Ambikapur, somewhere in India. Daduji (Amitabh Bachchan) is an upright man, working towards the upliftment of his village. His son is an engineer with the government and Maanav (Ajay Devgn) is his childhood friend. Maanav has dreams of making it big in the corporate world, wanting to start his own business and amass millions, which he does. Daduji does not quite like the greed with which Maanav goes about his dreams. Both have different ideals.
A portion of the flyover on which Daduji's son is working collapses, killing a few laborers and injuring many others. Prima Facie
, it appears to be an accident. But there are political dealings from the time the design has been approved to when the contract is given to a relative of the ruling Home Minister.
Before the dust can settle down from the flyover mishap, Daduji's son dies in an accident. The Rs 25 lakh promised by the government for the late engineer becomes a task for his widow to claim from the Collector's Office. Nothing moves here without a bribe. Daduji storms into the Collectors Office and when he is insulted, slaps the errant officer. He is imprisoned. This slap resounds throughout the nation. CHECK OUT: Will Amitabh Bachchan's SATYAGRAHA create a revolution like Gandhiji?
The officer who got him arrested had failed to fathom the implications of his actions. A movement takes place to free daduji, spearheaded by Maanav and a rowdy student of Daduji who was once expelled from school, Arjun Rampal.
For a moment, you get sucked into the turbulence of what is happening on screen. Jha does not indulge in histrionics. All his characters are well etched. Daduji is a simple, ordinary citizen who only wants what is his right. Maanav, whose only link to a family is his friend killed in an accident, makes it his mission to bolster this cause, first with his millions, then with his principles.
Arjun Rampal as the youth leader stays on the periphery of the story line. Amrita Rao as the widow and Manoj Bajpayee as the bull-headed politician too top the list of protagonists. Add to it Kareena Kapoor as the political television journalist. Jha plays with his principal characters with guile.
is the maalik
the naukar, says Daduji. A transparent system is what the movement is all about. Asking the government to give to the poor what is their due is not asking for much. Or is it? ''Kya ho raha hai yeh desh ka,''
Daduji silently mutters during his fast.
You would have witnessed what is brought alive on screen in small doses with your daily brush with authorities. The nation witnessed this when Anna Hazare 'fasted' against an inept system.
The bottom line or the message for the youth and the nation that Jha sends across is to fight the system from within the system. Root out corrupt politicians and join hands to build a better nation.
Good thought, it's the need of the hour. People's power cannot be underestimated. CHECK OUT: Ajay Devgn - Gandhiji was a very aggressive and violent person
Watching SATYAGRAHA fuels in you the desire to pray for a better tomorrow. To pray for better governance, for politicians with no criminal past and a government that is for the people.
It also fuels in you the desire to know what happened to Anna Hazare and later
Arvind Kejriwal. And this thinking is what makes you revisit the film in your mind and find a few loopholes in the script.
What Jha shows was witnessed on television by India and the world. What remains an intrigue is why the movement lost steam and where Hazare and Kejriwal are today? If Jha had to peel off another layer, SATYAGRAHA would have delved deeper into what every Indian wants to know today.
While the movie does invoke in you some feelings, you do feel cheated that it does not attempt to answer the bigger question.