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Satyameva Jayate 2 review: This John Abraham-starrer is a harrowing attack on the senses!

12:57 AM Nov 28, 2021 | Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri

For some reason, improbable as it may sound, there were moments in Satyameva Jayate 2 when I was reminded of Manmohan Desai! Of course, Milap Zaveri’s torturous film has none of the lovable chutzpah of the incredible impossibilities that littered the films of that king of madcap entertainers. But picture this: One of the Johns is donating blood to his wife when hoodlums attack him. The blood transfusion continues while he battles the goons with one hand, his other hand-tied to the IV!

Or this: A few goons are molesting a girl on the road. Enter one of the Johns. The leader of the pack says he wouldn’t dare to fight them, but for the police uniform, he is wearing. So, we have John unbuttoning his shirt (it brought back memories of Vinod Khanna doing the same thing in Amar Akbar Anthony – but that, I think, is more because, by this time, I was desperately hanging on to anything in a bid to retain my sanity in the face of the aural and visual assault the film is).

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Of course, what unfolds here defies description. But let me try: John begins by telling the goon: ‘Why don’t you admit that you want to see my body – everyone around here does.’ And there’s a nod at the viewer here (we are supposed to clap). After the elaborate getting-the-shirt-off ritual with the camera capturing his body from various angles, accompanied by ear-splitting (the film knows no other kind) background music, we have the fight sequence.

But the best part is still not done. Bang in the middle of the fight, we have the National Anthem playing – don’t ask why. And John just stands still in attention while the goons – unpatriotic as they are – keep hammering away. For the duration of the anthem, John keeps taking the blows stoically and retaliates only when the anthem gets over, with a seeti-maar line: ‘Tan mann dhan se badhkar Jana gana mann.’

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And these are just two of the innumerable atrocities that the film inflicts upon the viewer. From the opening sequence in the parliament where a bill to fight corruption introduced by Home Minister John (who is also a caped-crusader vigilante by night) is defeated to the introduction of the maverick policeman John, who believes in dispensing immediate justice to the post-interval flashback involving their father, John, this one is a monstrous travesty of a film. How many John Abrahams can a viewer cope with before you say ‘enough’?

Over 140 minutes, the film unleashes every horror conceivable – and always at full tilt. To even talk of the script would entail admitting there’s some sort of writing at play. There are rhyming dialogues dime a dozen, each one more execrable than the other. Sample the juxtaposition of baap ka tope with maa ki kokh, as one of the Johns threatens to maim a goon for life. And there’s no way to tune out, too – with everything operating at the decibel levels it does in this film. That’s why I started thinking of Manmohan Desai to somehow survive the onslaught.

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It’s been ages since we have had a triple role – that staple of the 1970s and ’80s Hindi cinema – and this film harks back to the worst of that era in every aspect. There’s one line that one of the Johns keeps belting out to the baddies here – ‘If you engage in Gabbar-like acts, there will be consequences’ – which I hope will come back to haunt the makers of this atrocity.

What Gabbar did is child’s play when seen against what Milap and company have in store for the hapless viewer. Every time a film like this come across – and we have had a few in the last few months – I console myself that it couldn’t get any worse. Let me just say for now: With just a month left to go in 2021, it probably can’t get any worse this year.

TITLE: Satyameva Jayate 2

CAST: John Abraham, Divya Khosla Kumar, Gautami Kapoor, Harsh Chhaya

DIRECTOR: Milap Zaveri

WHERE: At a theatre near you

RATING: BOMB (Bottom of the barrel)

(Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri is an award-winning publisher, editor and a film buff)

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