Jai Gangaajal movie review: Priyanka shines even under Prakash Jha’s shadow

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PC’s character is so well defined in the start that you almost feel cheated to see less of her and more of Prakash as the film progresses.


Director: Prakash Jha

Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Prakash Jha, Manav Kaul, Rahul Bhat, Murli Sharma

Jai Gangaajal is set in Bankipur where people have no respect for the law and society is suppressed under the heavy weight of underworld dons. Director Prakash Jha is an old hand in bringing out the corrupt functionality of political goons in small towns. What makes it worse in this film is how the police work hand-in-glove with local MLA Bablu Pandey (Manav Kaul) and help him keep his crime under wraps. Clearly in this land, the police resort to corruption and bribery as they are clearly ‘unhappy with their paychecks’.

Here comes Superintendent of Police Abha Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) who has been given charge of this area to set things right. A senior officer after a meeting with her makes it clear ‘Everything ka knowledge hai inko’. It’s true. She knows the officers in her department, who are corrupt and who work closely with politicians. This sets the film in motion when Abha takes charge with a mission to bring about change.

Does she succeed in it? That’s the interesting part of the film for you to find out. But what can be revealed is that she is faced with many hurdles from within her own department.

The scene where Abha protects an old man and his daughter from a local politician in front of everyone, defines her character. It shows she is fearless, brave and one who will not tolerate injustice in society. What also lifts that scene is the fantastic background music and the use of slow motion. Abha, with her kicks, punches and charging lathis gets a huge round of applause from the villagers. You will be overwhelmed by Priyanka’s ability to pull off that sequence.

Movies with a political background or ones that highlight the shady state of affairs in Bihar is Prakash Jha’s forte. It is evident from his earlier films where he had surprised the audience with shocking content and some harsh revelations. The locations, the police stations, the mannerisms of character actors, the environment of a village set up comes across well researched.

Director Prakash Jha puts himself in front of the camera as a corrupt officer who wakes up to moral values too late in the day. He gives himself a last chance after a shocking incident turns an eye opener for him.

However, there are few concerns about the film. Prakash is dealing with too many issues at the same time and that leads to the film losing steam at times. Also, one expects to see more of Priyanka and her cop role. However, the film then focuses on the personal self-discovery route of Prakash’s character which was a little too stretched.

Priyanka’s character is so well defined in the start that you almost feel cheated to see less of Abha Mathur and more of Prakash as the film progresses. Wasn’t this film about her in the first place?

Murli Sharma impresses as an effeminate man. Ninad Kamat and Rahul Bhat manage to leave an impact too. Manav Kaul pulls off the villain effortlessly.

As for Priyanka’s performance, she will make women cops proud. Wish we could see more of her in the film.

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