Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Prakash Jha, Manav Kaul, Murli Sharma, Ninad Kamat
Direction: Prakash Jha
I am so disappointed with ‘Jai Gangaajal’ – clichés abound, the dialogues are dated and the narrative spirals down a predictable path post interval.
When I saw Priyanka Chopra stride in wearing a black pathani suit it looked like she was the hero of this cop story. But as the plot unfolds you realize that this story has been stretched too long to make a point.
So while you have Priyanka play Abha Mathur, the upright IPS officer, who is capable of thrashing goons single-handedly, it is her deputy who outshines her. B N Singh (Prakash Jha) is corrupt but not evil and he is charming as the smooth operator. He understands how the law of the land works and he has historically played his cards well. His approach his nuanced and his portrayal natural. Seeing him do this part with such aplomb, I wondered why he hasn’t been before the camera more often.
Priyanka essays her part with conviction and without heightened drama but her character lacks context. The approach to her part is so linear that it is difficult to relate to her completely. We see her boldly take on criminals, politicians and corrupt colleagues but we never get a sense of her frustration with the system. Running into a wall every time you try to do some good has got to be infuriating?
Not just the heroes, even the villains of this police story belt out solid performances – whether it is Manav Kaul, Ninad Kamat or Murli Sharma - specially Sharma, as the effeminate right-hand man of the politician, he is the next best thing after the prisoner who gave away Hariram Nai (in Sholay, 1975).
The solutions of India’s many problems are not simplistic – so a mob lynching can’t be the only solution to bring justice to poor farmers, neither can you uproot corruption overnight from a system steeped in it. Since, the problems aren’t simple, the resolution needs nuance, which is where this story falters. As long as they were bringing to front the problems, the first half plays out well but the second half is long, verbose and basically, boring.
The film is not a complete waste of time, there are instances where you want to get up whistle and cheer for Priyanka. Watch it for the performances; there are quite a few commendable ones here.