Jai Gangaajal helmed by Prakash Jha is a gritty drama whose central premise revolves around the plight of farmers who are being forced to commit suicide due to their exploitation by the system which is in connivance with land mafia, politicians and cops. Prakash Jha is known for making films that are soaked in realism revolving around prevalent social issues. After making Gangaajal which revolved around cops in 2003, Jha made several movies which focused on varied sociopolitical issues like Apaharan (2005), Raajneeti (2010) , Aarakshan (2011) , Chakravyuh (2012) and Satyagraha (2013). Now, in 2016 he is back with Jai Gangaajal whose basic premise revolves around land grabbing by the mighty politicians and also the binary of good cop and bad cop.
Mind you, Jai Gangaajal is not a sequel to Gangaajal as its characters are entirely different although it treads down the same path as far as the subject of the film is concerned. One thing is for sure that Jha knows the political badlands inside out by heart and hence is able to helm the subjects revolving around the same efficaciously. In Jai Gangaajal, he has taken up the issues of farmers suicides, molestation, land mafia working under patronage of politicians and rampant corruption prevalent in our police department. The basic premise of the film is based on universal theme of good versus bad with lot of potential in it but unfortunately, the film works in parts. Jai Gangaajal is the story of a honest,upright police officer who refuses to bow down in front of corrupt system which not only include land mafia, politicians but also some of her colleagues. Though, the protagonist of the movie is Priyanka Chopra but the actor who walks away with the cake is Prakash Jha who has portrayed the character of a corrupt police officer who has a change of heart in the latter part of the film. What makes the film alive and kicking is its dialogues, some well captured scenes and earnest performances from its cast.
The screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Prakash Jha who has interlaced the narrative with several social issues. Despite a very predictable plot, it is the screenplay and dialogues that make this film rise above the ordinary. The film is based in Bankipur where a politician Babloo Pandey (Manav Kaul) rules the roost. He has a younger brother Dabloo Pandey (Ninad Kamat) who is into real estate and land grabbing. All their unscrupulous activities are covered by a corrupt cop B.N.Singh (Prakash Jha) who has made millions by shielding their activities. When a senior cop questions the integrity of Singh, he is transferred at the behest of a minister. As elections are around the corner, the same minister sends Abha Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) to replace the cop thinking that she won't interfere in the unscrupulous activities of Pandey brothers. But, Abha turns out to be a honest,upright officer who not only wants law and order to be reinforced in the lawless town but also leads from the front. Her moral policing has a positive effect on some of her colleagues who have been corrupt earlier. Meanwhile, a power company decides to open a power project in Bankipur for which they require huge chunk of land. Babloo Pandey forces the local farmers to sell off their land for the sake of project. One farmer family refuse to sell their land and the farmer is picked up by cops for non-payment of loan and he commits suicide. Now, his daughter refutes to part with the piece of land and an angry Dabloo kidnaps, rapes and kills her. This infuriates B.N.Singh who has a change of heart and decides to confront Dabloo. Will Abha be able to restore law and order in Bankipur, Will Singh help Abha in nailing down Babloo Pandey is what forms the rest of the story.
Priyanka Chopra simply nails it as Abha Mathur with her intimidating screen presence. She has delivered an outstanding performance as the tough cop. It is because of Priyanka's acting prowess that the character of Abha Mathur looks so believable. Watch out for her in the scene where she she beats up a molester right in the pubic view. Power Packed Performance.
Manav Kaul has portrayed the character of notorious and sinister politician to the hilt in the movie. Manav has this amazing knack of playing the antagonist without going over the top which is his biggest asset. After Wazir, Manav has come up with another superlative performance and wish to see him more frequently on big screen.
It won't be wrong to say that Prakash Jha has turned out to be the surprise element of the film as an actor. Prakash gets to play a layered character to which he has done full justice. Jha seems to have imbibed the finer nuances of a cop right from body language to dialect and portrayed them efficiently on-screen.
In the ensemble cast, Rahul Bhatt, Ninad Kamat, Murali Sharma and Ayush Khedekar have delivered noticeable performances.
The musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Salim-Suleiman is strictly average but the numbers have been used effectively as background score for scenes. The cinematographer of the movie is Sachin Krishn who has done a fine job. The movie has been edited by Santosh Mandal who has kept the run-time of the movie to 158 minutes. I feel more crisp editing by chopping the duration of some scenes could have worked in favor of the movie as the second half seems a tad long. As a director, Prakash Jha is a name to reckon with especially when it comes to crafting movies based on sociopolitical issues. In Jai Gangaajal, Jha is let down by the predictable plot but he somehow makes upto it by crafting some well captured scenes and extracting the best from his cast.
Though, Jai Gangaajal is not in the league of original Gangaajal yet it can be watched once for the earnest performances delivered by its starcast, some well captured scenes, hard hitting dialogues and social issues imbibed in the movie.
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