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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Review: Even John Abraham's action prowess can't save Satyamev Jayate

It's an out-and-out commercial movie, and while Abraham's action scenes are a highlight, the script lacks originality

John Abraham's character has a cross to bear in Satyameva Jayate. Photo / Supplied 
John Abraham's character has a cross to bear in Satyameva Jayate. Photo / Supplied 

Ever seen a street fight which ends in a whimper? John Abraham’s Satyamev Jayate is just like that: it's a movie that falls flat after an explosive start.

The street fight starts right next to you, without warning, and escalates sharply with harsh words that are gross and yet titillate, and some fisticuffs to add more drama. Then the protagonists realise somewhere in the back of their mind that this is heading nowhere and start backing out, but do not want to be seen chickening out so amble on.

That's what this movie is like.

The scrap that is Satyamev Jayate relies heavily on rehashing cult classics, and Milan Jhaveri as writer-director impresses on the imitation job, but only to begin with.

There are two brothers who end up on opposing ends of the law a la Deewar, there is a pledge that serves as the driving force like in Agneepath and the use of Sanskrit to raise the aura in impact scenes, which was Singham’s touch.

The movie starts with a nice tempo, with Veer Rathod (played by Abraham) going on a spree killing corrupt cops to avenge his father, while Manoj Bajpayee squares up as deputy commissioner of police Shivansh, an honest cop who believes in toeing the official orders.

The dialogue and the drama in plotting the initial deaths of the corrupt policemen are convincing, even if there is an overdose of killing by lighting up live pyres with a matchstick. It is a surprise actually that no related company did placement advertising during all these scenes, as is the norm.

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Debut actress Aisha Sharma lends the romantic angle to Veer’s life as Shikha, but she has a coarse voice and no acting skills to boot. She ends up being identified as the estranged daughter of the top police official, played by Manish Adhikari, another stone-faced actor.

Even though Shikha has a hateful relationship with her father, the villain comes running to her rescue when Veer uses her as bait after his cover is blown.

But when the commissioner is about to be exposed, a fight scene ensues, and the baddies end up being flung around like bees while Abraham copies Salman Khan’s trademark of ripping up his shirts and flaunting his muscles.

A dance number is also conveniently thrown in without having to work on it plot-wise. The 1990s hit number Dilbar Dilbar is remixed and presented by Nora Fatehi, a Moroccan-Canadian model with belly-dance moves. The song has more than 20 million views on YouTube and is the only small talking point in the music department from this film.

To be fair, Abraham did indicate that this will be an out-and-out commercial movie. But one wonders how much difference a little more thought in the script, and a bit of originality would have made.

Satyamev Jayate translates to mean truth prevails, but authenticity is lacking here.