A Prakash Jha movie promises many things. Dusty small town streets, open jeeps with goons carrying hockey sticks & spears, the village chowk, a local MLA -usually corrupt & the greasy cop and a largely frustrated protagonist….
And his movies also promise well etched out roles, with the protagonists having layered characters- Ajay Devgn in Gangaajal rails against the corruption, but is repulsed by vigilantism. In Apaharan, Ajay Devgn is an initially reluctant criminal & the change in his nature is beautifully brought out. In Rajneeti, all the key characters have shades of grey & both Aarakshan & Satyagraha pack a punch.
Jai Gangaajal in comparison is simply competent- and does not stack up against his other work.
The story line is predictable, the direction tight with a fast paced if repetitive screenplay- a number of scenes are so similar that it seems pointless.
Unlike Gangajal or Apaharan, the dialogues are routine- except for the typical hinterland way of using english phrases, there is nothing spectacular. The violence is seriously toned down, without any attempt to use “less is more” to add to the drama or impact.
The biggest disappointment is however Priyanka Chopra’s role- with such a talented actor, Prakash Jha could have and should have been able to deliver a power packed movie. The story allows no scope for her to demonstrate her range, there is no attempt to show her railing against her superiors, except for a 45 second sequence near the end, no frustration against her corrupt colleagues- she tells them repeatedly she knows what they are up to but does nothing to bring them down. No shades to her character, no softer moments, even her disgust against the corrupt cop who causes the death of a young girl, does not convince. Her part could have been written much better and shown some depth.
Manav Kaul as the villain is superlative, his slimy manner and soft menace is chilling, however somehow the movie does not lift his role, Murli Sharma as the transgender is the pick of the bunch, his effortless performance is by far one of his best.
However the best performance of this film is by Prakash Jha, he is perfect as the middle aged corrupt cop, but one who is still can feel for the safety of a young girl & her brother. With very little violence or drama, he plays BN Singh most naturally, his self loathing is evident, his redemption believable, however even his role feels half cooked….
Came out of the movie, feeling a bit cheated, with such great talent, it is almost criminal that no one was able to showcase their full potential, and the movie felt just a tad incomplete- it has to be criminal that Katrina got more powerful lines than PC!
And coming out, I missed Ajay Devgn & Nana Patekar in a Prakash Jha movie, they somehow lift the script and maybe that makes the director lift the movie to a different level….