Review: 'Jai Gangajal' - Jha plays safe with his tried and tested formula
Friday, March 04, 2016 17:37 IST
By Santa Banta News Network
Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Prakash Jha, Manav Kaul and Ninad Kamat

Director: Prakash Jha

Rating: **1/2

In this sequel to his 2003 release, 'Gangaajal', Prakash Jha plays safe by sticking to what he knows best, exposing the ugly underbelly of the political scenario in Bihar. He does manage to spring a surprise, not by introducing anything exceptionally novel in the script, but by launching himself as an actor in the film. Jha plays a pivotal role of a corrupt police officer, Bhola Nath Singh aka B.N. Singh in this one.

SP Abha Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) is strategically transferred to the lawless land of Bankipur district in Bihar. A politician (Kiran Karmarkar) has helped her family in childhood and so puts her in the `important" posting, hoping that she will help him to help the 'goonda raj' of the local MLA Bablu Pandey (Manav Kaul) thrive.

Abha, however, turns out to be more upright than they expected her to be. She intuitively mistrusts her immediate junior B.N. Singh and single-handedly tries tackling the 'goondaism' by Bablu and his brother Dabloo Pandey (Ninad Kamat) as they go around usurping acres and acres of land. Abha is chafing against the system, non co-operative seniors and juniors till a tragic incident changes the situation dramatically.

Even though Priyanka is believable and extremely sincere in playing an honest to the fault cop, she's handicapped with a clumsily etched out role and she unfortunately ends up coming across as someone who is not too really as bright and agile as her position suggests. There are certain scenes, like the one where she daringly canes a sidekick right in the middle of a busy street, which shows us what Priyanka would have been capable of if she had a more intelligently written role. Those stray scenes also remind us of the command that Jha as a director has while executing strong scenes of this kind. But ironically Abha seems to have lost out on Jha the actor, because the film is evidently designed to centre around Jha's character and his journey.

The story (by Jha) tackles an extremely disturbing trend of mob lynching, but what is also disturbing is that the story teller himself seems to be sympathetic with the mob and appeared to have no clear ethical stand on it.

Manav Kaul is very good as ever, but it is Ninad Kamat who steals the show as he brilliantly plays the role of ruthless Dabloo Pandey, who wouldn't stop at anything to achieve what he wants.

One must admit here that Jha surprises with his ease in front of the camera and decent acting abilities, but quite often the camera focuses a little too indulgently on him. Jha yet again successfully revisits the world he's so familiar with, the rampant hooliganism, the fascinating and colourful lingo that we are all familiar with, largely thanks to Jha's earlier films. At two hours forty minutes, the film is a bit too long and tends to get predictable at many parts.
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