Film: Ab Tak Chhappan 2
Cast: Nana Patekar, Vikram Gokhale, Ashutosh Rana, Gul Panag, Raj Zutshi
Director: Aejaz Gulab
The encounter specialist of Mumbai Crime Branch is back from oblivion to re-establish the rule of law in the maximum city. But there is a big glitch. He's been missing in action for a long time, and he's obviously lost his grip on the system.
Remember the ending of Ab Tak Chhappan where Sadhu Agashe (Nana Patekar) goes rogue and bumps off some top members of Mumbai's underworld because his battle was no more an impersonal one. Ab Tak Chhapan 2, and there are no surprises here, takes off from here and moves to a coastal village. Agashe now leads a regular, not-so-eventful life. The Maharashtra government is now headed by people who walk the talk to curb crime, and are desperate to have Sadhu back in the dirty game. He obliges and starts the cleansing process without realising that it’s once again going to be a personal clash. Like the original, this one too, is about the unholy politician-police-underworld nexus.
With such a close similarity to the earlier film, it’s not possible to not compare the two films, especially when they have different directors: Shimit Amin wielded the megaphone for the first part.
Agashe has aged gracefully, but his department is still stuck in medieval days: They are being bumped off by the more suave and technically better mafia at will. The enemy is no longer limited to the backwaters, but masquerading as politicians and ready to ramp up their modus operandi. Now, such a scenario demands a daredevil cop who is not scared of getting his hands dirty, and he also needs the system’s support. Nana Patekar walks the thin line between the black-and-white with meticulous planning, but he is not aptly supported by the system. A thing which is also right for the film’s screenplay which doesn’t allow the supporting characters to grow as per the requirement. Ashutosh Rana hasn’t been given any chance to match up the intensity of Yashpal Sharma (a cop in the previous film). In fact, Sadhu Agashe’s mentor Pradhan (Mohan Agashe) gets more opportunities to flaunt his acting skills. This tactic hinders the film from becoming a multi-layered story like the previous one.
In the first edition, Sadhu was up against both the criminals and the moles in the police department. This time, it’s more straightforward and hence more centred on Nana Patekar. It may appear a good technique on the director’s part, but it also restricts the story from offering subtexts.
To put it simply, the conflict line of Ab Tak Chhappan 2 is ‘one honest cop versus the system.’ Vikram Gokhale, who plays a jagirdar in the film, very candidly says in one of the scenes, ‘system ka tu ek chota hissa hai, aur main system hoon.’ This, in my opinion, is a tricky situation as the conflict becomes so direct that even one lousy sequence could put off the audience, something which happens during semi-climax.
The bubble is burst at the most inopportune time. Manoj Bajpayee’s Shool turns out to be the reference point of the film’s most anticipated events. Overacting, stunted graph of the journalist’s character (Gul Panag) and unimaginative writing for Jagirdar’s (Vikram Gokhale) role affect the climax in a big way, and it's here that the film loses its hold.
Watch: Ab Tak Chhappan 2 trailer
Thanks to his intense screen presence, Nana Patekar is the one who keeps all the blocks together, but he couldn’t save a weak resolution, and I am not even talking about the wrong political approach. It’s a film that keeps preaching about Gandhian philosophy only to resort to violence and some more violence.
Ab Tak Chhappan 2 is solely dependent on Nana Patekar and he doesn’t disappoint, but he alone is not enough to save a film that is almost a replica of the original. However, it offers thrilling scenes and a good first half. On second thoughts, I think it works in the wrong way because the first half raises the expectations and then the film loses the steam. Still, it’s not an unwatchable film. You’ll like it if you don’t want it to compete with LA Confidential or Training Day or Sehar or Ardh Satya.
(Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha)