Nothing you read in this review of Milap Zaveri’s Satyameva Jayate 2 will be as funny as some of the events in the movie.
Take your pick: John Abraham breaking a coconut with his bare hands. Abraham lifting a bike with its rider still on it clean off the ground. Abraham enduring numerous blows while the national anthem is playing in the background since he cannot disrespect it. Abraham, Abraham and Abraham (it’s a triple role) preventing a helicopter from taking off.
The John Cubed project should have been a satirical comedy. Instead, writer-director Zaveri sets out to give a deadly earnest and deadly dull lesson on corruption and righteous crime. Except for a sequence in which one of the Abrahams bares his upper half and then jokes about it, humour is as scare in Satyameva Jayate 2 as coherence.
The first Satyameve Jayate (2018) starred Abraham as a vigilante who kills corrupt police officers. In the new movie, Abraham is both Satya, the home minister of a state, and Jay, a police officer. Abraham is also their father, the warrior-farmer Balram, who lost his life in the fight against graft.
Despite being in charge of law and order, Satya is unable to prevent crime. He hides his famous face under a hoodie and stalks various criminals. Jay is given the job of tracking down the justice seeker.
Zaveri throws everything in his powers at his barren canvas. The dialogue is screamed rather than spoken and competes with the blaring background music. By shooting the same scene from ten angles and deploying rapid zooms and editing gimmicks, Zaveri hopes that the rampant tackiness will not be apparent.
When in doubt, invoke the gods: there are incantations and prayers from the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths. About the only thing that leavens the film’s queasy advocacy of instant justice and public lynching is Zaveri’s efforts to champion secularism.
Even here, Zaveri can’t help himself. My blood is the colour of the tricolour, the senior Abraham thunders. If Satyameva Jayate 2 had many more of these moments, and Zaveri had the imagination to direct a pastiche rather than a preachy movie, we might have been entertained, not bludgeoned.