Synopsis – Satyameva Jayate 2 revolves around the fight against injustice and misuse of power. From police and politicians to industrialists and a common man, the film will explore corruption in all spheres.
My Take – Released in 2018, Satyameva Jayate, filmmaker Milap Zaveri‘s third directorial venture, following 2010’s sweet Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai and 2016’s atrocious Mastizaade, found moderate success as it wholly embraced its 70s-80s inspired aesthetics and framed it around an engaging story that pitted John Abraham against acting powerhouse Manoj Bajpayee, all the while delivering moral lessons against corruption and vigilantism.
However, this quasi sequel not only sees the return of John Abraham, albeit in triple roles, but also sees writer-director Milap Zaveri triple down on his social message delivering, resulting in triple the embarrassment, hilarity and cringe.
From doctors at a government hospital sitting on a strike, children dying due to food poisoning and lack of oxygen in hospitals, to a flyover collapsing to a girl setting herself on fire after being raped by a politician’s son, and the patriotism of Muslims being questioned, writer-director Milap Zaveri plucks almost every trending headlines and just lets the film collapse under its weight.
With every possible masala trope in play, the film’s shoddy and sloppy depiction of jingoism and vigilantism here is just outright hilarious as every message is delivered in shouting stances and tuneless metaphors with thundering background score to support.
While Zaveri claims to have been influenced by the legendary Manmohan Desai’s style of cinema, I think it’s pretty obvious how his stale, excruciatingly loud, on-the-nose, screechy and melodramatic screenplay and direction stands no chance in comparison even as a passing reference.
The story follows Satya (John Abraham) and Jay (John Abraham), sons of much hailed deceased activist Dadasaheb Balram Azad (John Abraham). While Satya is the home minister in a coalition government in Uttar Pradesh, married to Vidya (Divya Khosla Kumar), an MLA from an opposing party, his twin brother Jay is an assistance commissioner of police. Both trying to uphold their father’s teachings in the respective posts.
However, when Satya’s anti-corruption bill fails to pass in the assembly, he is left quite angered to see how his straight laced methods keep getting shot down by his fellow money and power hungry politicians. With a determination to right every wrong, Satya turns to vigilantism, avenging the wrong doers with violence and death every night.
But Chandra Prakash Maurya (Harsh Chhaya), the Chief Minister and Satya’s father in law, appalled by seeing how these acts of vigilantism are being hailed by the society and the media, wants and end to these extra-judicial killings, and assigns Jay to stop this supposed mad man from taking the law in his hands. Unknowingly pitting brothers against each other.
Backed by a shoddy screenplay, bad script and a whole lot of redundant dialogues make this film a perfect recipe for disaster. The film is an unmitigated travesty in which the characters do not speak, but howl embarrassingly silly and ludicrous dialogues with utmost seriousness.
The film also peddles dangerous ideas about instant justice and patriotism. The film invokes India’s national flag for the purpose of justifying extra-judicial means of punishing the corrupt. In the bargain, all that it does is sully the fair reputation of the world’s largest democracy.
Similarly, the conflicts are dramatized and blown out of proportion and most of the action sequences are interrupted with a prayer or with the playing of the national anthem in the background. This makes the entire proceedings appear mawkishly sentimental and hilarious at the same time. As mentioned earlier, sensibilities aside, the script is laden with cinematic liberties that want to make you cringe.
The violent methods of bringing law-breakers to book, the film suggests, are wholly justified because in the process of draining the system of all traces of corruption, some collateral damage is inevitable. Adding to the list is the banal and blatant incorporation of religious festivities and the twins adorning their orange and green outfits in the climax, with their father appearing in white ghost form to complete the tricolor of the Indian flag.
In the last few years, John Abraham has been selectively picking up roles which have helped in enhancing his stance as an actor (with the exception of 2019’s Pagalpanti), however here, in a blatant role, he doesn’t get a scope to showcase anything other than his abs and muscles. Sure, playing a triple role in a film can be a challenge for any actor, but here, Abraham seems to be playing the same version of the same guy three times over, just one with a mustache and the other with spectacles.
Divya Khosla Kumar, who makes her acting comeback after 2004’s Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo, is also as disastrous as one could have expected. Though she is probably the only character who doesn’t go loud with her dialogues but then it’s almost looks like she’s reading from the teleprompter without any expressions.
In supporting roles, Harsh Chhaya, Anup Soni, Gautami Kapoor and Sahil Vaid manage to do whatever little they have to do. On the whole, ‘Satyameva Jayate 2’ is an outdated, loud and bloated mess of action thriller with triple the mediocrity.
Directed – Milap Zaveri
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 138 minutes