CHAKRAVYUH movie review: Arjun Rampal tries too hard, Abhay Deol doesn’t try hard enough

Prakash Jha’s political thriller is unintentionally funny and much worse than his previous film Aarakshan

Noble intentions cannot make up for a bad film, and director Prakash Jha’s Arjun Rampal-Abhay Deol-Esha Gupta-Anjali Patil starrer Chakravyuh is one such attempt. While the subject of Naxals is relevant, important and should be talked about by the public at large, Jha’s film is an embarrassment in the garb of an issue-based film. The biggest letdown of this film is the lazy writing credited to Jha, Anjum Rajabali and Sagar Pandya. The holes in the plot are huge and we wonder how three writers couldn’t see them at the scripting stage itself.

The film is about three friends – Adil Khan (Arjun Rampal), Kabir (Abhay Deol) and Rhea Menon (Esha Gupta) – who meet after about seven years. The director tries to establish Kabir as a loony guy, but when the film begins you can’t imagine how loony he will get towards the end. Adil and Rhea are cops married to each other and Kabir is their BFF. Adil is a brave heart cop who agrees to be transferred to a Naxal-infested area and win the trust of the tribal people who are more scared of the cops than the terror mongers. Adil walks up to the one of the villagers, applies an ointment on his wounds and follows that up with a speech. This is the scene when you first giggle at the unintended comedy.

Kabir is one of the most poorly and bizarrely written characters in recent times. No doubt he wasn’t seen promoting the film wholeheartedly. Kabir has no agenda in life; he is projected as a drifter. For reasons best known to the makers, Kabir gives up whatever he has been doing, breaks into the house of a Assistant Commissioner of Police (Adil) and volunteers to help him nab the commander in chief of the Naxal group, Rajan (played very convincingly by Manoj Bajpayee). There is nothing in it for him and he could be shot down by the dangerous Naxals. Now the giggles start increasing at the sheer silliness of the writers.

As you must have guessed from the trailer, Kabir joins the Naxals to become Adil’s informer, but ends up becoming one of them. Despite his changed stance, he keeps diligently informing Adil about Rajan’s activities till he almost destroys the very people he has been feeling sympathetic for. This is when the giggles turn into guffaws. The climax is so hilarious that you might be rolling in the isles laughing so hard that you might cry.

Bajpayee as the naxal chief and Anjali Patil as Juhi – the second-in-command to him – shine. Anjali is the best discovery, and due credit to Jha for giving the newbie such a meaty role. Thic actor could go on to become the Seema Biswas of the newer generation. But these are probably the only two things we can rave about.

You might wonder why Esha Gupta hasn’t been mentioned in the review so far; the reason is that she is barely there in the film. But when she does appear, especially in the climax scene, you can’t help but laugh. A lot of money and hard work has gone into this well-intentioned film, but wish the writers had come up with a story that merits all the effort. Shooting Chakravyuh might have been a logistical nightmare for the makers, but watching it is a much bigger nightmare for the audience. Watch it only for Anjali Patil’s shenanigans and the unintentional comedy.

Rating: 1/5

* Poor – Avoid!

** Average – Give it a shot if you are desperate!

*** Good – One time watch!

**** Very good – Must watch!

***** Excellent – Don’t miss!