Aakrosh - Movie review

Published: Oct 16, 2010, 08:27 IST | Sarita Tanwar

A film based on honour killings was an interesting concept. Add to that, the exciting promos and a talented cast, Aakrosh came with certain expectations

A; Drama/Action
Dir: Priyadarshan
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Akshaye Khanna, Bipasha Basu and Paresh Rawal

What's it about:
A film based on honour killings was an interesting concept. Add to that, the exciting promos and a talented cast, Aakrosh came with certain expectations. Sadly, barring a few moments of thought-
provoking drama, the film falls short and treads into the mundane. The Hollywood inspiration, Mississippi Burning (1999), was a fictionalised version of the shocking murders of three civil rights workers by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi on June 21, 1964. Priyadarshan's Aakrosh is about three boys who go missing in North India, and are suspected to be murdered. After pressure from student bodies, the CBI deputes Pratap Kumar (Devgn) and Siddhant Chaturvedi (Khanna) to investigate the case. Like Mississippi Burning, in this one too, the two cops have different styles of functioning. While Pratap wants to ensure justice at any cost, Siddhant prefers to play by the book. Standing in their way is local cop (Paresh Rawal) who is backed by big guns. How Pratap and Siddhant overcome the odds to nail the culprits forms the crux of the film. 

What's hot: Priyadarshan's shot-taking deserves special mention, especially in the dramatic scenes. The caste differences and their effect on people (ranging from fear to hatred) in rural India is well captured. The film has a gritty feel and the director succeeds in making you cringe in many sequences. From the police torture to the apathy of politicians/bureaucrats to the terror caused by the Shool Sena, the scenes and characters are real to the core. The first half, despite being long, keeps you glued with gripping narrative. The film has a dark, grungy look that fits the subject and enhances the proceedings. Priyan also ensures his lead actors stay true to their characters. Reema Sen (from Maalamaal Weekly) springs a surprisingly fine performance. Paresh Rawal hasn't been this menacing in years. Akshaye Khanna is perfect as the idealistic officer who only bends the rules when the situation demands it. Ajay Devgn's brooding Pratap Singh is a delight. He peaks his intensity at the right time, without allowing himself to drift into the melodramatic space. The Akshaye-Ajay combination is one of the film's highlights.           

What's not: Priyadarshan attempts a film on honour killing but he needed to be clearer on what honour killing is all about. In comparison, the short story in Love Sex Aur Dhokha was far more effective on the same subject. The screenplay by Robin Bhatt and Akash Khurana is filled with predictable moments. What could've otherwise been a powerful drama-thriller ends up as yet another formula film that doesn't offer a new perspective. In the second half, you want surprises, story movement and the characters to rise above the ordinary, but you are left disappointed. There is an Omkara-esque item song and chase scenes that belong in a Jackie Chan flick. The pace is definitely a problem. The film also needed more originality. Most of the film is a copy of the original � the love angle to scenes like Pratap grabbing the front of a baddie's pants, charring trishuls instead of the crosses. As the film progresses, the drama becomes dull and boring. Priyadarshan also needed to focus more on the detailing the temples of South India can't be passed off as places of worship in the North. The swaying palm trees are jarring too.

What's that! The happy love song between Bipasha Basu (in minis, skinny jeans and biceps) and Ajay (Golmaal 3 hairstyle) sticks out sorely. It's almost as if it has been stolen from another film (All The Best) and planted in Aakrosh. Also, did her hair have to be so just-stepped-out-of-the-salon?

What to do? It's a copy with a desi twist. If that is something that thrills you, go for it. ST

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