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Satya Bol

IT IS one of those films that remain obscure for lack of publicity and relies on its contents to do the needful in terms of appreciation and accolades. You may not even have heard of it. But if you do manage to catch it, its worth the while you spend in the theatre trying to understand for the nth time how the police force in this country, particularly in a city like Mumbai, has to deal with crime and criminals. And in the process perhaps lose the perspective about right and wrong, justice and injustice, winners and losers.

The line between doing the right thing or politically correct thing is very slim, often blurred. Which is probably why this overused subject constantly inspires film-makers to try and portray reality.

Gritty and unpretentious, ``Satya Bol" lags here and there punctuated by lengthy dialogue (though not preachy) but in totality takes you by surprise each time decisions have to be made. This is also what life is about.

You never know which way it will go! The right of passage of a young man into the murky world of crime fighters is what Satya Bol is about. Jayant Barve (Manish Singh) starts as a callow young man in the police force in Maharashtra, particularly Mumbai.

He believes that talking well to wrong doers can perhaps change them. And there is Shinde (Shayaaji Rao Shinde) a senior who lives by the gun and with an eye on the front pages of newspapers. He believes violence is the only way to flush them out.

Soon Jayant learns about the corruption that has pervaded the system but cannot come to terms with it. He finds himself behaving just the way he abhorred and succeeds in alienating a loving wife who is unable to understand his mood swings.

The film as a whole has rawness in terms of presentation and content. It is not a disadvantage as it presents something that one can understand and relate to.

The director Sanjay Upadhyay obviously has films like ``Satya" and its genre in mind as he is unravelling the pressures of working in a system such as this. The visuals are touched by gloom and realism heightened by the background score. There are songs thrown in for glamour.

Newcomer Manish is suitably gauche and looks vulnerable as a rookie would. His may not be the face that will launch a thousand films but then for this project he fits the bill perfectly. Shinde is the quintessential rough guy who feels admiration very reluctantly and thinks with his anger. He does a good job and so does Tina Parakh as Jayant's wife. She plays the hurt and bewildered wife with the least pretensions and comes across as a very good actress.

CHITRA MAHESH

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