Free Press Journal

Movie Review: Jai Gangaajal – All water under the bridge


Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Prakash Jha, Manav kaul, Rahul Bhat

Director:  Prakash Jha

Rating: * * ½ 

Prakash Jha and his mainstream counterparts have played this tune many times over. The blood-thirsty mob, the righteous cop, the corrupt politician egging his henchmen on to commit hara-kiri and a bad cop trying to come good are the elements that make up Jha’s ‘Jai Gangaajal’ meant to be a brand extension of his earlier hit, the Ajay Devgn starrer ‘Gangaajal.’

Abha Mathur( Priyanka) , Stationed in rotten Lakhisarai, is a fearless cop but she finds herself caught in the cross hairs of a dirty corrupt politician Babloo Pandey(Manav Kaul) who has his brother Dabloo (Ninad Kamat) and a eunuch( Murli Sharma) for vicious henchmen – and that’s the main thread in so far as there is one. Social issues that high-light the rich-poor divide are crammed into the narrative as a sort of fillip. White collar greed, debt-ridden farmers, lack of law and order in cities ,agitating civilians find space but there’s little meaning derived from all that grandiose inclusion. After the opening moments, the film balloons into an all-out chaos of incidents defined more by grandstanding dialogues than any sensible or logical development. What starts off as a film glorifying feminine power suddenly bifurcates into a source of absolution for a once corrupt male colleague B N Singh( Prakash Jha) . His sudden transformation doesn’t come off as credible because it comes too soon after Abha’s intervention. Thankfully the female cop manages to stay in uniform and doesn’t resort to the usual Bollywood tricks of singing and dancing to an item number. She has her moments of power when she thrashes the bad guys. And Priyanka gives it her all making it look quite convincing. Prakash Jha also impresses in a strong emphatic role.

Jha made his directorial debut with the award winning ‘Damul’ set in Bihar and most of his films-at least his big budget ventures have been set in the same region with themes that connect to that of his first film. ‘Gangaajal’ highlighted the Bhagalpur Blindings while ‘Apaharan’ was themed around the Kidnapping industry. The others like ‘Satyagraha’ and ‘Rajneeti’ focused their lens on student rebellions and politics. And the most common thread between all his films are the roles cops and politicians (read establishment)play in the scheme of things. While his first few were hard-hitting, the latter ones tended towards the feeble and convoluted. ‘Jai Gangaajal’ falls into the latter category. It traverses done to death territory, lacks novelty and is extremely superficial in it’s content and intent. Frankly, it’s hard to get a rise out of this one.