Shameful as it may sound, honour killings still exist in many parts of the country. The misconception is honour killings are all about the murder of a female family member by one or more family members, since the perpetrators / wrongdoers believe that the victim has brought dishonour / disrepute upon the family by having a relationship with a man of different religion or social status or marrying against the parents' wishes or having premarital sex.
The fact is men are also victims of this practice, especially when it affects the reputation of a particular caste and community. Many grooms have been killed by the father or brother of the bride and this is exactly what Aakrosh attempts to highlight.
Made with right intentions, Aakrosh enlightens you on the caste system which continues to be at its rigid best, with people from the rural areas refusing to change their attitude towards marriage. Having said that, I'd like to add that Aakrosh is strikingly similar to the Hollywood film Mississippi Burning, which, reportedly, was loosely based on the FBI investigation into the real-life murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964.
After attempting a series of some pleasant, some forgettable laughathons, ace director Priyadarshan embarks upon a hard-hitting drama that draws one's attention to a relevant issue in a non-compromising approach. But there's a flipside too: This one's a dark film. Also, a number of sequences in the narrative can make you uncomfortable [the brutal killings especially] and the spoken language, at places, is harsh, acidic and volatile.
Final word? A gripping fare.
Aakrosh revolves around a lower caste guy who, along with his two friends, goes to his hometown Jhanjhar. These three students go missing soon after. The government appoints CBI officers Siddhant [Akshaye Khanna] and Pratap [Ajay Devgn] to investigate the matter.
Investigating in Jhanjhar becomes a tough task for these officers as the local police [Paresh Rawal], with the help of local bigwigs, refuse to co-operate with the two officers. Besides, the officers cannot break the ice with the locals, due to years of fear instilled in them. The effect of their investigation causes mayhem in Jhanjhar, with the wrongdoers spreading terror and killing people in broad daylight.
There's no denying that Priyadarshan is a creative thinker with an amazing ability to handle comedy as well as intense drama. In Aakrosh, the director succeeds in giving an effectual and authentic look, but there's a problem: The unnecessary length, which dilutes the overall impact of the film. The first half is excessively lengthy and the second, though crisp, could've also done with trimming for a stronger impact.
A number of sequences hold your attention and I'd like to single out the penultimate 20 odd minutes, which leave a stunning impact. Also, the chase sequences - all of them - are executed with panache, especially the one when Ajay chases a key suspect on rooftops. But, like I pointed out earlier, a film like Aakrosh is dark and brutal and therefore, has its limitations. Also, the screenplay [Robin Bhatt, Akash Khurana] vacillates between engaging and not-too-engaging moments at times.
There's not much scope for music in the film and even otherwise, Pritam's score is bland. 'Issak Se Meetha', an item song filmed on Sameera Reddy, is strictly okay. Cinematography [Tirru S] is striking, while the sepia look gels well with the theme of the film. Dialogues [Aditya Dhar] are well-worded and powerful when required.
Ajay and Akshaye, known for intense acts, deliver bravura performances. Ajay pitches in a remarkable act, establishing himself as one of the iconic actors of the country. Akshaye is superb yet again and only someone who has complete understanding of the craft could've delivered such a fine performance.
Bipasha, who was seen in Lamhaa in a deglamorised role, has turned extremely sensitive and serious towards issue-based films. Though the length of her role isn't much, she sinks her teeth in the non-glam role and delivers a really fine performance. Paresh Rawal is menacing as the uncouth cop. In fact, this is amongst Paresh's best works. Reema Sen is excellent. Amita Pathak doesn't have much to do. Jaideep Ahlawat is good. Pankaj Tripathi is perfect. The remaining actors enact their parts well.
On the whole, Aakrosh is not the standard Bollywood fare with the usual song-and-comedy routine. This one strikes a punch. Being an issue-based cinema, it will magnetize the thinking viewer and the intelligentsia mainly. It should find more flavor with the North Indian audience.