There seems to be an overdose of cop fares. The recent past has witnessed KHAKEE, AB TAK 56, POLICE FORCE, KAGAAR, AAN, GARV and DEV. Now SATYA BOL.
Like its predecessors, SATYA BOL not only looks at the tough and stressful life a cop leads, but it goes a step further - it also peeps into the conscience of a man sporting the uniform. It follows the same path, yet is different in a way.
Also, the difference lies in the fact that debutante director Sanjay Upadhyay hasn't gone overboard in making it look like a documentary on the police force.
Jayant Barve [Manish Singh] gets his first posting in Mumbai after graduating from the Police Academy. But as he gets involved in his work, he is exposed to the dark underbelly of the city.
In his colleagues, he sees different extremes of approach of handling a problem. There's Shinde [Sayaji Shinde], a gun-totting cop. There's KB [Sachin Khedekar], a chilled out cop. And their chief Pradhan [Rajendra Gupta] operates to his own convenience.
Solace comes in the form of Sandhya [Tina Parakh], whom Jayant marries. But their happiness is shortlived!
One incident changes the course of his life. Jayant becomes a part of the murky game. The guilt drives Jayant crazy and in his endeavour to come clean, he succumbs further into this whirlpool of lies and conspiracy.
Set in Mumbai and laced with Maharashtrian flavour, SATYA BOL catches your attention from the word Go. Sequence after sequence and several incidents later you actually start feeling like a part of the story. The identification being immense, the goings-on hook you instantaneously. And the interval point raises the expectations of an equally intriguing second half.
While the first half is engaging in entirety, the second half is uneven. The husband-wife angle, though merged well in the plot, acts as a speed breaker in the narrative. In fact, the [sad] song filmed on the couple looks forced and should be deleted rightaway. This song sets in boredom, frankly!
Even the end, when Manish and Sayaji corner the gangster and the conflict that ensues, isn't too convincing and seems abrupt. A better culmination would've only enhanced and elevated the climax.
Debutante Sanjay Upadhyay is a director to watch. He knows the grammar of film-making right and knows how to create an impactful scene. However, his choice of the subject is debatable, for a number of films have already been attempted on the men in uniform and hence, there's no novelty whatsoever.
Besides, films of this genre find limited patronage outside Maharashtra, with the Mumbaiya flavour restricting its appeal to a major extent.
The film makes a point to highlight the stressful lives the cops lead without deviating to unwarranted tracks. But from the audience point of view, this aspect has its share of limitations. For, in the process of depicting reality on screen, the film tends to get dark, grim and violent, making you restless after a point.
There's not much scope for music in a film like this, but the couple of songs [Aadesh Shrivastava] that are merged in the narrative are alright. The item song [filmed on Perizaad Zorabian] is first-rate, in terms of tune and execution. The background score [also by Aadesh] is effective. Cinematography [Dhananjay Kulkarni] captures the mood well. Action scenes [Raam Shetty] look straight out of life. Dialogues [Sanjay Upadhyay] have razor-edge sharpness.
Manish Singh looks the character and that works. Although he makes a decent impression, he scores in that one sequence when he confronts Sayaji Shinde towards the pre-climax. Tina Parakh looks charming and makes an impression in this male-dominated flick. She too leaves a mark in the scene when she walks out on Manish.
Sayaji Shinde is the star of the show. His characterization, aided by fiery dialogues, give him that extra edge. This is amongst his finest works! Rajendra Gupta is fabulous as well. He enacts his part without resorting to being loud. Sachin Khedekar proves yet again that he's a dependable actor.
Anant Jog, Rajesh Khera, Sulbha Arya and Neena Kulkarni lend adequate support. Perizaad Zorabian sizzles in the item song.
On the whole, SATYA BOL is a sincere attempt at making a hard-hitting fare, minus the usual commercial frills. At the box-office, too many cop films have hit the marquee in the recent past and this aspect will prove to be a stumbling block for SATYA BOL. Besides, the Maharashtrian flavour in its content will restrict its prospects to Maharashtra mainly. Lack of face-value will also act as a major deterrent outside Mumbai/Maharashtra.