Jai Gangaajal review: Priyanka Chopra shines in this predictable drama

Updated on Mar 05, 2016 07:35 PM IST

Priyanka Chopra’s Jai Gangaajal is set in Bankipur where MLA Babloo Pandey is calling the shots. Priyanka manages to save Bankipr but fails to save the audience of this predictable thriller.

Priyanka Chopra plays IPS Abha Mathur in Jai Gangaajal. The film’s a complete throwback to Gangaajal except Abha Mathur replacing Ajay Devgn’s Amit Kumar.
Priyanka Chopra plays IPS Abha Mathur in Jai Gangaajal. The film’s a complete throwback to Gangaajal except Abha Mathur replacing Ajay Devgn’s Amit Kumar.
Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

Jai Gangaajal

Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Prakash Jha, Manav Kaul, Ninad Kamath

Director: Prakash Jha

Rating: 2.5/5

Poor villagers running around and open gypsies trailing them has become a trademark of Prakash Jha’s filmmaking.

So, it doesn’t come as a jolt when the Priyanka Chopra-starrer Jai Gangaajal opens on a similar note. In fact, it would have been surprising if Jai Gangaajal would have begun on a different track. And, of course, there would be a double-meaning song disguised as a folk song playing in the background. Well, this is what it takes to be Prakash Jha. You need to be commercial as well as niche in your approach. Isn’t this what he has been doing in Raajneeti, Aarakshan, Chakravyuh and Satyagrah?

Jai Gangaajal Review | Priyanka Chopra the new Dabangg in old storyline

IPS Abha Mathur (Priyanka) has been given the independent charge of Bankipur after five years of serving at the secretariat on CM-in-waiting Chaudhary’s (Kiran Karmarkar) insistence. But, these lucrative postings don’t come easy to honest cops and thus Abha gets a readymade challenge in the form of local MLA Babloo Pandey (Manav Kaul).

Priyanka impresses as a tough cop. (YouTube)
Priyanka impresses as a tough cop. (YouTube)

But, we know Jha and thus there has to be a social angle. Samanta Industries wants to buy land in order to inaugurate their new factory, but activists and some villagers are opposing the forceful acquisition. Now, the local administration has to take a stand, but that doesn’t seem possible in the current set-up where every cop is on Babloo Pandey’s pay-roll.

You must be remembering Gangaajal (2003) by now. And just to take all your doubts away, let me tell you that corrupt cops are led by circle officer Bhola Nath Singh (Prakash Jha) who still believes in the power of ‘khakee’. Did you just say Bachcha Yadav?

Yes, it’s a complete throwback to Gangaajal except Abha Mathur replacing Amit Kumar (Ajay Devgn) from the original. It’s another version of Gangaajal with a different starcast. Seeing Ajay Devgn as the current police commissioner was quite a possibility.

But, can’t a rehash be also a good film?

It’s a throwback to 2003 film Gangaajal. (YouTube)
It’s a throwback to 2003 film Gangaajal. (YouTube)

It impresses in the beginning. We witness a ruthless ‘Chota Vidhayak’ Dabloo Pandey (Ninad Kamath) ruling the area with an iron feast. Wanted in many cases of extortion, rapes and murders, he sets the perfect stage for Priyanka’s arrival. She comes and takes things under her control within minutes. Such is her charm that you give Prakash Jha some room to repeat the Gangaajal characters for a while. A fight sequence brings out her grit and respect for constitution-bound law. It feels like the arrival of a savior, a star, but there begins the unfolding of BN Singh’s character.

Prakash Jha is the hero of Jai Gangaajal if screen time is our consideration. In any case, you need to spread wings to make a 158-minute film engaging. But, it has to be said that Jha has done justice to his role. He is restrained in dialogue delivery and really effective in emotional scenes. The narrative keeps dragging with strange terms such as ‘Madam Sir’ and ‘Suicide Murder’.

Read: Maha CM’s wife turns singer for Priyanka’s Jai Gangaajal

Read: 6 Films that explore the dark lands of UP, Bihar

Read other film reviews here

It seems the idea is to create an isolated world which is uncertain about its future and the usage of words. The constant urge to back these terms up with scenes also hampers the flow of the narrative. As a result, a powerful scene comes up and then vanishes into oblivion without providing a build-up to the next one. In the process, we get individual sequences that work on their own, but couldn’t gel as a whole.

The unilateral fight for justice goes on and on only to hit a familiar roadblock: How heroic should be the hero? And there’s a tussle between the director-actor Jha and Priyanka Chopra. Who said directing a star is easy!

Watch: Priyanka Chopra in Jai Gangaajal trailer

The storyline of Jai Gangaajal doesn’t offer anything that you haven’t seen before. This holds true even if you have watched only Prakash Jha’s films. But, it has tear-inducing moments and Priyanka Chopra ensures they keep coming at regular intervals. Once again, the dark underbelly of the Hindi heart land has been explored with explosive dialogues and superficial sensibilities.

Jai Gangaajal is just another attempt at making a blockbuster, but it lacks the depth of Gangaajal and Apharan. Still, there’s enough for the audience to keep whistling and clapping. Priyanka Chopra is the new ‘Dabangg’.

(Interact with Rohit vats at Twitter/@nawabjha)


    Rohit Vats is a film journalist who loves to read in between the lines. He can spend hours watching films and cricket matches. Also a script consultant.

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