Bollywood has always been fascinated by its western counterpart for when it comes to inspiration, it simply plagiarises Hollywood flicks and simply Indianises its context to suit local sensibilities. Directed by Priyadarshan and co-written by Robin Bhatt, Ajay-Akshaye starrer ‘Aakrosh’ is a remake of Alan Parker’s Oscar nominated film ‘Mississippi Burning’ (1988).
Apparently, ‘Aakrosh’ is a scene-by-scene rip off of Parker’s masterpiece with the former based on Indian milieu. If in ‘Mississippi Burning’, two FBI agents go to South America to investigate the sudden disappearance of three prominent civil rights activists, in ‘Aakrosh’, two CBI officers go to a village to investigate the sudden disappearance of three medicos.
However, the racial conflict of ‘Mississippi Burning’ is simply moulded into cast politics in ‘Aakrosh’, where Shool Sena (a gate group) kills a lower-class boy and his family for eloping with a higher-caste girl. In order to investigate the case, two officers, one a Brahmin and other a Dalit, one a hot tempered guy and the other a stickler for rules unite to fight against the atrocities of upper-caste establishment.
Everything is fine with ‘Aakrosh’ till it stays faithful to ‘Mississippi Burning’, however, trouble starts brewing the minute it tries to be original - and herein comes typical Bollywood stuff - Pratap (Ajay Devgn) and his love life, a juicy item number, over the top stunts where Pratap stands over the top of a speeding car and crossing train tracks by jumping beneath a fast train.
For purists, ‘Mississippi Burning’ is a riveting Afro-American racial drama with menacing characters. On the other hand, ‘Aakrosh’ does not believe in sticking to one theme as it too has its own inconsistencies. It seems Priyadarshan is afraid of dabbling in an out-and-out socio-political drama sans any embellishment (read stunt sequences, arson, item number et al). The film buoys between realism and a typical Bollywood potboiler.
‘Aakrosh’ has moments of brilliance but most of these are hackneyed, yet it comes across as a power packed film dwelling upon age-old socio-political issues with some riveting performances by Ajay Devgn, Akshaye Khanna, Bipasha Basu and Paresh Rawal.
Ratings: Three cheers for this one!