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Film Review - Jaago

Chitra Parayath
03/09/2004

Director: Mehul Kumar
Cast: Sanjay Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Manoj Bajpai, Puru Raaj Kumar, Baby Hansika Motwani

Filmmaker Mehul Kumar displays a total lack of sensitivity and sensibility in dealing with the issue of child rape in the film Jaago. Mehul Kumar had earlier made Krantiveer and Tirangaa, both of which addressed issues of corruption in high places and social degeneration.

Jaago is based on a true-life incident that shocked the nation in 2002 when a mentally challenged teenaged girl was raped on a Mumbai suburban train. The crime had five witnesses who, it is reported, sat by passively while the child was molested.

In this film, Baby Hansika Motwani plays Shruti, a bubbly nine year old adored by her parents Shraddha (Raveena Tandon) and Shreekant (Sanjay Kapoor). One evening her dance class at school runs late and the child is locked in until midnight. When she is let out, she insists on taking the train to her home unaccompanied by the school peon. Three young men, high on illegal drugs spot her riding unaccompanied on the train and rape her. An old man, a woman and her young daughter who are threatened into silence at knifepoint by the rapists witness the appalling incident.

The child dies after being brought to the hospital and the parents begin to look for answers to the heinous crime with the help of the lone honest, upstanding cop in Mumbai, officer Kripa Shankar (Manoj Bajpai).

Kripa Shankar clashes heads on with powerful politicians and power brokers and manages to gain the trust of the witnesses (after tracking them down) What ensues is pure farce, Bollywood style. The inspector, practicing the most unusual and unorthodox tactics ever, urges the mother of the victim to dress provocatively and ride the same train her daughter was molested in. Well, what do you know; the rapists board the same train and with the three witnesses present, proceed to harass Shruti. Due to a technical hitch, the cops are not at hand to rescue her and she ends up killing one of the attackers and is taken away to prison.

The cop, meanwhile is battling evil, corrupt civil servants, lawyers, business owners etc to ensure a just trial for the victim. To cut a long story short, the dad of the young victim polishes off the second rapist in a fit of rage and we are witness to an impassioned speech by the cop (vintage Bajpai) where he implores the world, the judge and everyone else to awaken and smell the coffee.

Just desserts for the lone remaining perpetrator (the parents are invited to put him to death!) and we have the judge hanging up his coat fully awakened, thanks to Bajpai’s cry of Jaago!

The film also stars Akhilendra Mishra and Puru Raajkumar (in sp. appearance). The story, screenplay and dialogues of the film are written by K.K.Singh, the film is has no song and dance tracks, the background score is composed by Sameer Sen.

Final Verdict - Two thumbs down!



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