A cop has been burnt to death in his own home. A delivery man arrives to hand over a toaster and the constable on duty makes a comment about the gadget and the toasted man. It is spectacularly in bad taste, like so much of Satyamev Jayate, which brings back the worst of Eighties cinema– the dialoguebaazi, violence and familiar twists. Only now, when a cop pulls out a gun and shouts “kanoon apne haath mein mat lo,” the effect is unintentionally comic.
When Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, heck, even Sunil Shetty did those conveyor belt revenge dramas, the frontbenchers cheered. When Manoj Bajpayee and John Abraham distort their faces and shout, they look phony.
Veer (Abraham), an artist and beach-cleaning do-gooder by day, captures corrupt cops in his free time, gives them a sermon and sets them alight. He also makes charcoal drawings of their agonized faces!
DCP Shivansh (Bajpayee) is summoned, because he is smart and honest. All he figures out is that the serial pyromaniac is picking on cops from stations the names of which begin with the letters in Satyamev Jayate ( S for Santacruz, A for Andheri, T for Thane and so on…) They probably never watched CID on TV, or they would have known the advances made in forensic science. Veer leaves finger prints and probably DNA all over the crime scene, and the supercop Shivansh just yells at him over the phone. Any regular Hindi film viewer would guess at the twists way before they arrive, and know at least some of the bombastic dialogue will be repeated at the end, with “maine kaha than na” added on.
The film is idiotic in the extreme—even the worst commercial Hindi films have acquired some degree of sophistication by now. It is possible that Zaveri (of Masti and Kya Kool Hain Hum infamy) intended to pay homage to Bollywood’s own B-movies. If so, he could still have gone easy on the horrific violence. He could have added some humour, and dropped the totally pointless item song.
John Abraham was probably thrilled with scenes of ripping up tires with his biceps and going bare-chested in a frenzied muharram sequence, but what exactly did Manoj Bajpayee read in the script to have accepted this dumb role?
Director: Milap Milan Zaveri
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, John Abraham, Manish Chaudhary, Aarti Sharma and others
About Satyamev Jayate
Satyamev Jayate is idiotic in the extreme—even the worst commercial Hindi films have acquired some degree of sophistication by now.
Posted on Aug 15, 2018
Deepa Gahlot is one of India’s seniormost and best known entertainment journalists. A National Awardwinning film critic, Deepa has watched more movies and theatre than most people in the country. An author of several books on film and theatre, she has had an extremely successful run as head of theatre and film at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, during which she helped nurture several original productions. For Xyngr, Deepa Gahlot reviews theatre and cinema.