Till a few years ago, words like ‘honour killings’ and ‘khap panchayat’ were unknown for most of the urbanites. But today, after reading the horrors of the same in newspapers, we are not only aware but also detest them. I often think how people can be so heartless that they are ready to kill their own offsprings for the sake of ‘honour of caste’? The brother, who grew up with his lovely sister, feels no remorse when murdering her; the mother feels no guilt when her son or daughter gets killed in front of her eyes…how is it possible? However, it is indeed possible and still happening in the interiors inspite of (feeble) government action and media reportings. Aakrosh, dealing partly with this issue, creates the right impact. It’s a terrific no-nonsense film that wonderfully exposes the system of merciless killings, the so-called ‘honour killing’!

The story of the movie: A lower caste guy, Dinu, and his 2 friends visit a small village, Jhanjhar, in Bihar and soon get disappeared. When their whereabouts aren’t known for 2 months, the pressure of the students in Delhi, where the missing guys belonged to, along with that of media increase considerably, forcing the government to appoint CBI officers Siddhant Chaturvedi (Akshaye Khanna) and Pratap Kumar (Ajay Devgn) to investigate the matter. Pratap was a localite and hence was well aware about the prevailing mindset. However, finding the truth becomes difficult for the duo. The local police and the corrupt police inspector Ajatshatru (Paresh Rawal) refuse to cooperate. A mysterious ‘Shool Sena’ operates in the area that has spread terror everywhere. The lower caste people also don’t open their mouths, for the fear of cops, upper caste people and Shool Sena. How Siddhant and Pratap find leads and progress in the investigation is what the rest of the film is all about.

Aakrosh might seem as a very serious fare. The film’s theme and the mood are indeed serious but it has been packaged as a fast-paced investigative thriller. And that’s why Aakrosh sustains the interest of the viewer from the first scene till the last. The film starts with the Ramlila scene depicted with utmost realism-curious audience watching with great interest, policemen stationed for protection, so-called VIPs at the place just for the sake of attending and talking and joking among themselves. The film gets better after Akshaye and Ajay get to know each other and begin the investigation. The roadblocks they face and how they get one lead after another is captivating. So much happens in the first half (75 mins) that you feel that some 2 hours have already passed by the time intermission comes. The best scene before the intermission is undoubtedly the rooftop chase sequence between Ajay and a suspect. Believe me, it’s one of the finest chase scenes of Bollywood!

The second half is shorter than the first hour but is nevertheless damn interesting. The film falls at certain places though but in no time picks up. Also there isn’t any suspense as such regarding the missing guys. In the beginning scenes itself, one will be able to guess who are the culprits. But that doesn’t pose a problem.

A film of this stature might fail if the climax is faulty. Thankfully, Aakrosh has an excellent climax where the duo finds the truth and punish the guilty tactfully. The film ends on a justified note.

Both Ajay Devgn and Akshaye Khanna deliver incredible performances. They are together for most of the scenes and it’s interesting to see them working together and also arguing. In short, they complement each other well. Ajay, who earn accolades for his act in Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, come up with yet another fine performance. This is a must for his fans! Same goes for Akshaye and it was great to see him on screen after a long time. And the good news is, he’ll soon be seen in 2 biggies-Anees Bazmee’s No Problem and Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan!

Bipasha Basu was excellent in the deglam role. Paresh Rawal was too good in the negative role…one of his finest performances easily! Reema Sen leaves a mark. Amita Pathak looks beautiful and does a nice job in the short role. Sameera Reddy was sizzling in the item number. There was another item song in the film, featuring Urvashi Sharma which has been chopped off. Jaideep and the actors playing Reema’s hubby, Amita’s dad, the three missing guys, Bahubali and Paresh’s senior do their job well.

Pritam‘s music was ordinary in this film which didn’t have scope for music in the first place. The only song that leaves a mark is Sameera’s item song, Issak Se Meetha. Background score is minimally used. Still many scenes create an impact. Tirru S‘ shaky cinematography creates a tremendous impact especially during action and chase scenes. Thyagarajan and R P Yadav’s action was very realistic but impressive. Some of the scenes however are too violent and gory. But it was necessary keeping in mind the film’s theme. Sabu Cyril‘s production design as usual was flawless. I especially liked the idea of using an abandoned theatre as CBI temporary office!

Robin Bhatt and Akash Khurana‘s story and screenplay was impactful. Story was well-written, inspired from real-life events. Screenplay overall was good although the interest does dip at parts. Aditya Dhar‘s dialogues were acidic and sharp. Finally Priyadarshan impresses a lot as the director. Often veteran directors fail when they switch from the genre of their expertise and try something different. However Priyan has in his vast career attempted many genres and have been more or less successful. Even Aakrosh, which is diametrically different from his recent comedies, has a topnotch direction. A great job indeed!

Some of the best scenes:
1. Ajay and Akshaye’s initial meeting
2. Ajay tells his story to Akshaye and attack in their room
3. Ajay-Akshaye at Paresh’s birthday bash
4. Ajay chases a suspect on the roofs (awesome!)
5. Amita Pathak taken by CBI
6. The lower caste settlements are attacked
7. Ajay-Akshaye get chased by Shool Sena fanatics
8. Ajay-Akshaye chase in the jungles
9. The last 20 minutes

On the whole, Aakrosh is a wonderful hard-hitting flick. It is a serious film, no doubt, but has enough doses of action and thrill to keep the interest alive and to reach a larger audience. Unfortunately, the film has opened to low collections. However, do for this one if possible. After all, its meaningful, it’s entertaining!

My rating-**** out of 5!