Chakravyuh (2012) *MQ*

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Adil Khan (Arjun Rampal) is a tough cop, who opts for a posting in the Naxal infested Nandighat area with his mind set on capturing the elusive Naxal leader Rajan (Manoj Bajpayee). However, when his efforts fail to get the desired results, Adil’s good friend Kabir (Abhay Deol), a rebellious former police cadet, offers to go undercover and infiltrate the Naxal army in order to help Adil nab Rajan.

An initially reluctant Adil agrees and the duo come up with an elaborate plan to achieve the same. Kabir gains the sympathy of the Naxals after beating up a corrupt cop and starts informing Adil about their activities on the sly. However, after spending days with them and getting to know them, Kabir starts sympathising with their plight, which puts him at loggerheads with Adil. How this affects their relationship is something that the rest of the plot deals with.

At the very outset, it must be said that Arjun Rampal has been given the perfect look for his role as Adil Khan. With his short hair, moustache and ramrod posture, Rampal convincingly plays the part of a cop. If only the same effort could have been put in his performance, Rampal would have shined all the way through. Abhay Deol as the rebellious Kabir seems too laid-back and easy-going and it is tough to imagine why such a person would volunteer for a dangerous undercover mission. Manoj Bajpayee and Om Puri are flawless as ever and Anjali Patil too shines in her short role, though the same cannot be said for Esha Gupta.

ike mentioned earlier, the plot is quite similar to Namak Haraam, except for the setting. While the Amitabh Bachchan-Rajesh Khanna starrer was set against the backdrop of labour unions, Chakravyuh is set in Naxal infested jungles of Central India. Though Jha seems to have his heart in the right place as he tries his best to explain both sides of the story, there are still a few weak links in the story. For example-why would Kabir, who is shown to be a happy-go-lucky and slightly anti-Establishment young man, choose to volunteer for a dangerous undercover mission is something that Jha does not explain satisfactorily. Moreover, the cause of the rift between Rampal and Deol during their police academy days, before they re-unite after 7-8 years, too seems quite unconvincing. Also, the film could have been crisper.

Do watch the film if you are interested in and/or curious about the Naxal issues. Also the performances are decent enough. However, don’t expect something great like Apaharan or even Raajneeti, for that matter.

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