Critic’s Rating: 3.5
Cast: Ajay Devgan, Akshaye Khanna, Bipasha Basu, Paresh Rawal
Duration: 1 hour 55 minutes
Priyadarshan takes a break from his staple diet of comedies and moves to serious territory with Aakrosh. Now this isn’t an alien zone for the filmmaker who has already proved his forte with tackling themes of gravitas in films like Gardish, Virasat, Kala Paani and his National Award winner, Kanjeevaram.
In Aakrosh, he goes topical with his attempts to unveil the horror of the recent spate of honour killings, which have relentlessly made headlines. The disappearance of the three college boys in the small hamlet is linked with a love affair that goes sour due to the insurmountable caste barriers that govern social life in this not-so-distant terrain. What follows is a deafening culture of silence and a brutal cover up where anybody who dares to speak up is summarily done away with by the caretakers: the cops, headed by Paresh Rawal, the local ruffians and the politicians.
The film works primarily because it is paced like a high momentum thriller. Both the investigating officers, Ajay Devgan and Akshaye Khanna, spend most of the screen time chasing leads, witnesses and crooks, albeit in different styles. While Akshaye is a level-headed CBI officer who prefers to play mind games, Ajay is the hot-headed, testosterone-driven action man who prefers to use his fists and his feet to get things going.
The high point of the film are the chase and fight sequences, reminiscent of some hard-balled Hollywood action cuts. The duo complements each other well and makes a gritty pair of investigators on screen. Add to this, a fine act by Paresh Rawal as the unabashedly corrupt cop and you have a testy triumvirate that holds the film together engrossingly.
For romance, there is the short and sweet Ajay-Bipasha track that pops in as dramatic relief. Bipasha actually doesn’t have much to do and does seem to be miscast as the much-abused, bruised and battered wife of Paresh Rawal. But Aakrosh is essentially an all-guys act, with Ajay, Akshaye and Paresh providing enough punch to keep the drama racy, riveting and topical too.
Go for some serious stuff. The hot-headed boys of Aakrosh don’t let you down.