‘Gangajal’ directed by Prakash Jha paints a frightening picture of rural Bihar, where violence and killings seem to be regular & top echelons of the Police is as corrupt as the Politicians and the evil traders who unleash havoc & terrorize the commoners. Jha’s other notable works like ‘Rajneeti’ and ‘Apaharan’ too are gritty films set in Bihar depicting the lawlessness in the state.
The film deals with the posting of an upright and fiery cop Amit Kumar (Ajay Devgan) in such a rural district Tejpur. Subsequently his arduous struggle to rid the place of its crimes and unlawful activities form the core of the narrative. Devgan delivers a fine performance as Superintendent of Police, and this ought to rank as another memorable cop role in Bollywood, which has earlier seen such fine performances from Amitabh (Zanjeer), Om Puri (Ardh Satya) & Dilip Kumar (Shakti) in the past.
I would have given a better rating to this work had the depiction of violence and gore been contained, so essential in popular art owing to the violence in our modern society.
I feel filmmakers who make films on such violent themes ought to take a cue from the angry films of Mrinal Sen (Padatik, Calcutta 71 & Chorus) where issues of Naxalism, youth unrest and class struggles were brought out without actual exchange of blows and gunfire onscreen but through newsreel footages, documentary images & stills and voiceovers.
The supporting cast of the film includes Gracy Singh, Mohan Joshi, Mohan Agashe, Anoop Soni & others.