There are films that try to deliver a rather thoughtful debate, with both sides expressing their valid points. And as hard-hitting and emotionally-draining a movie we would have loved to catch, Chakravyuh ends up trapped in its own circles of outdated banalities. The main question it sets out to seek- “How does the termite of Naxalism affect the commoners’ wood?” remains unanswered till the very end.
The news-inspired plot does display a shade of reality. Adil Khan (Arjun Rampal), is transferred to the heart of Naxalism in Nandighat, after Rajan’s (Manoj Bajpayee) Naxal team massacre 84 policemen. After a series of failed attempts, Adil requests his idealist friend Kabir (Abhay Deol) to enter the enemy’s domain and share with him all the accessible inside information. As per the plan, Kabir skillfully interprets some police communications, thus impressing Rajan and Juhi (Anjali Patil), who welcome him in their clan. Once into the group, Kabir gets a perspective on the second side of the coin, and chooses to go against his friend. When Rajan gets caught, the team looks up to Kabir as their leader. What follows is a clash of ideologies with very bad (seriously!) visual effects.
In the performance category, Anjali Patil emerges a true winner. Abhay Deol and Om Puri are pretty decent in their respective roles, while Arjun Rampal could exercise a few more expressions- he just doesn’t quite come across as the tough cop. Manoj Bajpayee has you hooked in his very arrival, and continues his brilliance throughout. Esha Gupta is okay-ish. The music is alright, but not hummable. Prakash Jha’s rendition, considering that the script was based on as delicate a topic as Naxalism, is commendable- but a better stress could have been laid on intelligent writing.
All in all, Chakravyuh is a bad example of adding too many ingredients in one simple recipe. What promised to be a chef’s signature dish, ends up being just-another-thing on the menu.