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Monday, October 29, 2012

I really cannot decide what disturbed me more in the movie- the repeated gunshots and eye-for-eye game of murders, or the fact that it’s all true. Prakash Jha’s Chakravyuh has a name befitting the story. You can go in but then never come out. 

The story begins with a bloody massacre of policemen by Naxals in the forests of Nandighat, a region ruled by the rebels. In spite of all the dangers of merely being in the region, SP Adil Khan (Arjun Rampal) agrees to be posted in the region where someone’s always planning to kill him. Adil is the righteous policeman who couldn’t care less about his own safety, always puts duty first and listens to no one. Not his wife (Esha Gupta), nor his childhood friend Kabir (Abhay Deol). 

At this point I began to notice how ruggedly handsome Arjun Rampal looks in uniform. But again, back to the story. Mr.Righteous Khan dares to go to villagers governed by Naxals and give them the idea that they can actually live without fear of being killed! (How outrageous!) The Naxals led by Rajan (Manoj Bajpayee) are not happy, and killing the SP goes first on their to-do list. They almost succeed too. 

But then enter Kabir. With his casual charm and adorable voice (that guy can make anything sound cute!) he presents Adil with an alternate plan to tackle the issue. Send Charming Mr.Dimples to the Naxal group to be their Comrade, and get them to trust him enough to share all their information and he can keep the police informed of all their movements, make their capture sound like a children’s game of hide and seek. 

The plan actually works; Kabir the Abhimanyu gets into the Chakravyuh with his conversational skills and intelligence, after he breaks a policeman’s nose, gets shot a couple of times and wanders ‘unintentionally’ into the forest. Within no time he is Comrade Kabir, stealing information from the camp and passing it on to Adil, while stealing glances at Juhi (Anjali Patil). 

All is going well with the plan, and Adil audaciously boasts in front of the media that he has developed Intelligence that knows everything the Naxals are up to. Meanwhile Kabir is busy getting close to his comrades, understanding their ways, and falling in love with Juhi. Slowly, from Kabir's view we discover the horrific truth and the reason behind this bloody mutiny, and all the questions it raises in Kabir’s mind. For the first time in life he has to choose between right and wrong, and he can’t. 

The actors have done a fine job of portraying the serious situation, while Manoj Bajpayee especially excels in his role as Rajan. He is not evil; he does not enjoy the violence. He is agitated of being cheated and deprived of a good life since birth, and is simply fighting for it. Arjun Rampal is one of the few actors who can don the police attire and pull it off, and does a great job with it. Abhay Deol, as I said before, makes everything sound cute even if he is seriously threatening to kill someone. But still, he is a wonderful actor and suits the role. Meanwhile Esha Gupta, as a policewoman, as a policeman’s wife and a Naxalite’s best friend, does nothing much but pout. But that’s okay; Anjali Patil makes her presence felt loud enough for both the women. 

Prakash Jha has portrayed the issue of Naxalism without taking stand for or against any side.  The film boldly raises questions like are all Naxals evil killers, and captures the emotional turmoils of youngsters who are so agitated with the system that they are forced to pick up the gun and yell Lal Salaam! For someone who studies the subject, the movie almost speaks their mind. For someone who has no idea what lies beyond their own little urban world, the issue is explained from scratch to make sure it is understood.

All in all, the movie is a complete package of suspense, romance and some statistics and bitter truths about our troubled country. India has entered and is stuck within this Chakravyuh of Naxalism, and still does not know how to come out. 

Rating: 3.5/5


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

And there is a footstep I could follow.
And now there is just snow.
And there is a flash of light.
And it’s darker even more.

Where’s my big revelation
That I had a heartbeat ago?
Why, now, is everything dark,
And filled with snow?

Yesterday I complained,
Of a room too bright, a sweater too warm and light
Of soup too tasty and bread to fluffy and white!
Today I sit, cold and confused
Alone, my unhappy mind left loose.
I muse
About yesterday and all that I had,
“How imperfect it was, so bad!
How could I be happy?
I have so much to lose!”

And I had it all, but I complain.
And I lose it all and complain again.
And the light and footprints disappear,
And I’m left clueless again.

(This is just the sensible part of my mind yelling at the other, whiny unhappy part of my mind.. nothing too serious!)

Dialogues in my head

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

“What would it take to get
That hint of a smile on your face,
That twinkles of your eye stand out in the haze?”

“It is already there, don’t you see?
A wall of indifference
Is all that’s between you and me”

“It’s not what’s there, but what is not.
But I sure sense a lost happy-song
That’s gone for I wonder how long..”

“Read me for what I say, read me for what I do.
But my happy-song only plays
In my happy place, unknown to you!”

“Give me a smile that lights up the room,
Give me a giggle that jingles like chimes,
Give me a laugh that so mesmerizing that
I may forget to rhyme!”

“Quit searching me for answers,
And for scattered joy.
Just don’t ask me why.
Ask me if I’m fine, don’t wait for a reply.
Quit trying to read me,
That’s all I want you to do.
Because the happy-song I lost,
Plays in my happy place unknown to you!”