March 4: Prakash Jha has earned himself a name in Hindi cinema for exhibiting realistic take on society’s shoddiest elements which thrive on corruption and crime. His latest to join the wheelhouse is Priyanka Chopra’s ‘Jai Gangaajal’, where PeeCee essays the role of a firm SP appointed in a corrupt-ridden city of Bihar..
While most or all of Jha’s erstwhile movies celebrated the victory of good over bad, and relied heavily on the universal binary of good cop and bad cop – the story in ‘Jai Gangaajal’ did not have much variance. And actually, this is not a sequel to Ajay Devgn starrer ‘Gangaajal’ – ‘Jai Gangaajal’ is an entirely new project, however, it runs deeply in a narration which focuses on a similar subject.
The legacy of Jha was only propelled by the fact that this one was spearheaded by a female lead, Priyanka Chopra having nailed last year’s ‘Bajirao Mastani’ – did shine in this one, but only on certain occasions. But whenever she did, she nailed it hands down. That director-turned Jha would nail his part just as much, or perhaps even more than Priyanka – was little expected of. And this takes the entire charm of this movie to a different level. Jha has done his bit exuberantly.
So in the corrupt-ridden district of Lakhisarai, there is a bunch of cops, lead by Bhola Nath Singh (Prakash Jha) that do little to bring the real duty of ‘khaki’ in its place and let corruption run deep in the district. It’s only when the stern, no-nonsense SP Abha Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) enters the picture and takes over, do we know that some good will be raked out of that ‘wardi’. But antagonist Bablu Pnadey (Manav Kaul), who plays the notorious politician, along with brother Dablu Pandey (Ninad Kamat) have other plans – and right from showcasing serious issues plaguing the country like land grabbing and farmer suicides – the movie tackles these aspects with deftness. Here Jha’s screenplay deserves a mention, which is sharp and focussed. The music score by Salim-Sulaiman enhances the narration a bit, but occasionally interrupts. Though Priyanka Chopra as a tough cop delivers brilliantly, she could have offered a bit more perhaps. Her sketch of Abha Mathur was believable – but at times too prim and loaded with the burden of being too sanitized. She does packs a few punches with her dialogues, but again, Jha is the one who completely brims in his portrayal of a cop who has straightened his act. There are a couple of scenes which are powerfully scripted.
‘Jai Gangaaja’ triumphs, but sadly, only at places – at other times you are inevitably reminded of ‘Gangaajal’, only wishing if the movie had the same flesh and rawness as the one before. That said, watch ‘Jai Gangaajal’ merely for its performance by Jha and Chopra and some of the other supporting cast. As far as the story is concerned – it’s the the same old wine in new bottle.