Satyameva Jayate 2 movie review: Triply annoying than the last

Satyameva Jayate 2 nods to classics like Bulandi and Sooryavansham, but lacks their emotional force.

Published: 27th November 2021 09:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th November 2021 09:28 AM   |  A+A-

A still from John Abraham-starrer 'Satyameva Jayate 2'.

A still from John Abraham-starrer 'Satyameva Jayate 2'. (Photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

Three years ago, a little-known indie art film called Satyameva Jayate was released. At least that’s how I remember it, given the toils and spoils of its sequel. Milap Zaveri is a director whose only true competition is himself. Only Milap can top Milap—and thus, by extension, one John Abraham beat another. Hence the ground for Satyameva Jayate 2, which is doubly loud, triply muscular, and eight times as insufferable.

Uttar Pradesh – and the rest of India in general ­– is in ruins; children are dying outside hospitals. State Home Minister Satya Balram Azaad (John) tries to push an anti-corruption bill through the assembly. He fails, recites a sad poem about the country, and leaves. His embarrassment is exacerbated by the fact that his wife, Vidya (Divya Khosla Kumar), voted against him. “It’s a politician who opposed the bill,” she tells reporters with a straight face. “Not his wife.”

Faring a little better in life (stay with me) is Satya’s twin brother, Jay, also played by John. A khaki-clad brute, Jay has what Urban Dictionary describes as Patriotic Derangement Syndrome (PDS). Thrashing goons at a function, he suddenly stops, transfixed by the ‘Jana Gana Mana’ that’s playing. Meanwhile, there’s a third John, a hooded vigilante, going about town. Is he Jay? Is he Satya? Is he the ghost of Mumbai Saga’s box-office performance back for revenge?

A double role is a natural magnet for brawny action stars. John, attempting a tripler, is hardly distinguishable across the turns. When Satya and Jay attend a wedding, in similar clothes, I lost track of which is which. Their father, Dadasaheb Azaad, was a slain reformer—without the crop of facial hair, he could just be one of the boys. It’s a blankly wasted gambit, the characters appearing more like clones than separate individuals.

The setting of Uttar Pradesh infuses the film with a sham urgency. Nary a newspoint is left out: rape, murders, the shortage of oxygen in hospitals. But while the film’s inherent narrative chaos might be a comment on the state’s affairs, there are also evasions. Lucknow, where the film was shot, is never named—it could well be called John-pur. Satya’s party is in power, yet he looks utterly helpless. The villains are usually businessmen or smaller politicians. The anti-corruption rants are so bad, they would’ve grated in 2011. The whole tone is excessive, exploitative, and exaggerated. Not very satya at all.

Milap, of course, would defend this wreck. Rhyming ‘murga’ with ‘durga’, he’d say, is exactly what audiences want. His filmmaking has devolved spectacularly over the years. He’s no Shankar, who can do exaggerated violence with a sense of terror and scale. John’s fighting style remains unchanged throughout the film. Once a patron of hard-hitting cinema (Vicky Donor, Madras Café), the actor now just prefers to hit people hard.

Satyameva Jayate 2 nods to classics like Bulandi and Sooryavansham, but lacks their emotional force. The song sequences are patchily edited. The only two comic scenes feel like ad breaks.‘Appetizing’ is a descriptor I rarely use, let alone for a Milap Zaveri film. Today, though, I must accept defeat. Satyameva Jayate 2 made me hungry—in the worst way imaginable.

Movie: Satyameva Jayate 2
Cast: John Abraham, Divya Khosla Kumar, Anup Soni, Zakir Hussain
Director: Milap Zaveri
Rating: 1/5


Comments(1)

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

  • Satyendra

    Satmev jayte2 movie
    1 month ago reply
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp