“Satyameva Jayate 2: Highpitched, High-Energy Flagwaving Melodrama” – A Subhash K Jha Review

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Satyameva Jayate 2

Starring John Abraham, Divya Khosla

Written & Directed by Milap Zaveri

How does he do it? Which energy-boosting drink does Milap Zaveri consume to whip up such a high-level energy in every shot?

Satyameva Jayate 2 is like a ceaseless string of high-pitched climactic sequences that roll out one after another. Just keeping up with Milap Zaveri’s energy level is exhausting for the audience. But he won’t let us off the hook. His anti-corruption tirade is loud and crude. But it’s also the harsh reality of modern India where every day a new scum and a scam is unearthed. Every week one more newly constructed bridge falls, and every day a child gets raped(these statistics are dubious, just like the Indian politics and bureaucracy).

Meet Zaveri’s twin heroes Jay and Satya, both played by John Abraham and hence hard to tell apart besides one wearing spectacles and other showing his muscles. Jay is a cop who reaches on time every time a criminal act is about to occur. In his introductory sequence when the molester challenges him to present himself without his khaki uniform, Jay happily whips off his shirt and does a muscled ramp walk right there on the streets.

The advantage of having John Abraham as your leading man is that the hero can strip anywhere anytime without looking awkward. Jay’s twin brother Satya is a fully buttoned-up solemn stone-faced politician whose anti-corruption bill gets booed down in parliament.

But never mind. He can go out on the streets and kill every potential socio-political offender without batting an eyelid. And that includes highly corrupt fellow-politicians who feed contaminated food to little children in madrasas…

Dangerous territory, you say? Fiqar not! Milap Zaveri loves every community, every religion…every sector of Indian society get a voice in the narrative. When an evil bureaucrat flings the Holy Quran in the air, our hero catches it. When a woman is fatally injured a Sikh Man(played by the ever-dependable Gopal Dutt) undoes his turban and uses it as a bandage…I am sure there is a Christian and Parsi act of good samaritanism somewhere in this “16,000 feet long celluloid flag”(a picturesque description of Manoj Kumar’s paean to patriotism Upkar) which I must have missed. Or maybe Milap has saved them up for Part 3 and 4.

Satyameva Jayate 2 is a bigger bloodier bulldozer of an anti-corruption film than Part 1. Striking doctors are struck dead, conniving cops come to a sticky end, and ruthless businessmen are burnt to death. In the second-half when we are introduced to a third John Abraham(yes there’re 3 of them) Zaveri feels the going to be too heavyhanded. So he introduces some comedy into the relentless acts of vigilantism.

How? You may ask. Please don’t. There are things that Milap Zaveri can do that no filmmaker can dream of. Not even Zaveri’s role-models Manmohan Desai and Rakesh Roshan. The ‘comedy vigilanteism’ features a sleazy cop being beaten black and blue by our hero while the cop laughs his head off. “As if part 2 of a hit franchise is going on,” someone comments.You get the reference?

My second-favourite performance in this violent ode to vigilantism is by the cop in the comedy scene played by Arpit Mishra. But my most favourite performer this time is a young Marathi actress named Bhagyashree Limaye who rips the screen apart as a gangrape victim screaming and burning for justice. I think she gets the high-pitched sur of Milap Zaveri’s melodrama better than anyone else.

And there is Divya Khosla Kumar playing the politician-vigilante hero’s wife. In a product bursting with clamorous flag-wavers, she is comfortingly serene.

Everyone gets to sprout Milap Zaveri’s rhyming couplets that serve as dialogues. It is all about tann-mann-dhann…jana gana mann… A message with a whole lot of fun.

In a society where bureaucrats behave like Bollywood superstars and politicians act as though they are gods, we need Satyameva Jayate to make some noise.

Bring on Part 3.

Our Rating

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