Director: Milap Zaveri
Writer: Milap Zaveri
Cast: Gautami Kapoor, John Abraham, Nora Fatehi, Divya Khosla Kumar, Anup Soni
Editor: Maahir Zaveri
Satyameva Jayate 2, written and directed by Milap Milan Zaveri, is many things but it’s not a film. You could view it as an expansive showreel for John Abraham’s body. He plays three characters – a father and his twin sons. All three have granite muscles and abs that seem sculpted from stone. In one scene, the cop character is taunted by a hoodlum he is beating up that he is hiding behind his vardi. To which, the policeman says, ‘saaf saaf bol body dekhna chahta hai. Teri galti nahin hai. Public ki bhi yehi demand hai.’ He then proceeds to take his shirt off while the camera swirls around his impressive torso. In other scenes, there are tight close-ups of John’s biceps. John might be playing a dad but he doesn’t have a dad bod. It doesn’t matter what decade the action is set in or whether the character is a cop or home minister or anti-corruption crusader, John’s formidable physique stays intact. His personality doesn’t change much either. The three avatars are interchangeable.
You could also view Satyameva Jayate 2 as a tour of the problems that plaque the country. Because Milap hasn’t really written a script. He’s stitched together assorted scenes that expose corruption, atrocities against women and children, venal politicians and policemen. A beggar child burns himself to death. A woman is raped. Children die after eating adulterated food. A government hospital refuses to treat a severely injured patient. It’s a gallery of horrors that can only be fixed with one of the John characters stepping in. Thankfully, a version is always around, with fists ready to inflict damage. In a sense this film also provides the definitive answer to the question – How many John Abrahams in a film is too many John Abrahams? I think three is the limit.
Or you could see Satyameva Jayate 2 as a tutorial on how not to make a movie. Milap takes pride in calling himself a ‘mass’ film director. Which means that he aims to deliver entertainment. I’m a lover of mass movies but the problem with this one is that it is singularly not entertaining. Satyameva Jayate 2 starts with a visual of the Tricolor and then over the next 138 minutes, the film batters us with ear-splitting background music, grotesque visuals, feeble dialogues that are desperate to land punches and superbly hammy acting. The worse offender is Divya Khosla Kumar who plays a politician. I suspect she believes that the way to construct an intense performance is not blinking at all. So she widens her beautiful eyes and delivers lines without the slightest expression.
After some time, the assault became so relentless that I became lightheaded and started to find humour in the proceedings. There’s a scene in which one of the Johns is giving blood to his wife when goons attack him. He decides to take them on with one-hand because the other is hooked to the IV which is transferring blood from him to her. No, I’m not making this up. In another scene, another John character stops fighting because the National Anthem starts and he has to stand still. The bad guys of course aren’t so patriotic so they keep trying to injure him with a cricket bat and even a large table. But he just stands strong while ‘Jana Gana Mana’ plays. It’s truly the stuff of comedy. But I will say this for John – he really works hard.
This film has been described as an ‘official spiritual sequel’ to Milap’s 2018 blockbuster Satyameva Jayate. I am not sure what it means. I had described the first film as soul-crushing and excruciating. But I was wrong. That film is Sholay compared to this one.
The opening credits of Satyameva Jayate 2 include the inscription ‘Love you Nora Fatehi’. I know why they put that in. Because her dance number ‘Kusu Kusu’ is the best thing in the film. For a few minutes, we get a breather from the nonsensical movie and marvel at the seemingly impossible ways in which her belly can move. I was grateful for the break.
I don’t recommend it, but if you do watch Satyameva Jayate 2 at a theatre near you, don’t forget to wear a mask.