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Reviews & Ratings for
Satya More at IMDbPro »

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39 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

One of the most intelligent movies ever made about gangsters

10/10
Author: Simon Booth from UK
13 May 2002

SATYA stands out from the normal Bollywood romance fair, being a rather dark and gritty look at the crime underworld of Mumbai. The movie follows the fortunes of a guy called Satya (lit: "Truth") in the underworld, and the subtle script explores the theme with a lot of depth.

Satya himself is a wonderful character, one of my favourite screen characters ever in fact. Part of this is due to his fantastic beard, but the depth and humanity his character and the performance of J.D.Chakravarti have contribute a lot too.

The script and direction of SATYA show a sharpness that cuts to the core of its subject matter in a way that the song and dance routines of the blockbuster movies from any country do. The 3 hour running time allows it to develop and nurture its themes very thoroughly. The result is one of the most palpably intelligent movies ever made about gangsters.

This is no romanticised "cool of the killer" type movie, it's a pretty honest and thought provoking look at a lifestyle that hopefully nobody reading this has direct involvement with.

Strong recommendation to see!

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21 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

The one truly great Hindi film of the 1990s

10/10
Author: shardik from Mid-World
3 July 2001

I am not a big fan of Hindi films - infact I'm not a fan of commercial Hindi films at all. But then there's Satya, Ram Gopal Varma's classic 1998 Indian mafia fan is brilliant, innovative and despite certain directorial flaws is nonetheless so vastly different from the run of the mill Hindi films (ie. 99% of Hindi films) that it is unforgettable. It is 175 minutes long, the typical duration, but it grabs you instantaneously as you follow the journey of Satya who comes to Mumbai to make a life for himself.

Before getting into a long winded review, I shall just point out a few plusses and minuses of this great movie. The minuses are minor and are nothing compared to the mishaps in a normal hindi film.

Plusses: - Manoj Bajpai, Manoj Bajpai and lastly, Manoj Bajpai. This is probably the single best acting performance by an Indian in the 90s. The realism and flawlessness he brings to the role is amazing. He does to go a bit over the top, but without losing any of his characters identity (hell, Pacino has been doing it for years now). - The rest of the cast. Urmila is incredibly refreshing as the innocent girl next door with the usual handicapped Dad and perennially miserable Mom. Saurabh Shukla as Kalu Mama is brilliant and comes quite close to Bajpai performance-wise. The realism he brings is equally breathtaking. Just seeing the scene where he, Bajpai and Govind Namdeo (Bhau) literally makes you a member of the gang, standing there and smiling along with them. - The plot is largely excellent. - (see weakness #2) Golimaar and Sapne Me are hilarious musical numbers

Now for two minor flaws: - Ram Gopal Varma's directorial synchronization of music and plot is often out of sync. A classic example is during the scene after the gangland shootout (when Kalumama first sees Vidya and Satya). There are certain other flaws as well in his direction as well. - Barring numbers from classic Hindi films (known for their music), I have never been even a remote fan of Hindi film singing and dancing. I feel three out of five songs in this movie are totally unnecessary and I would've enjoyed an "all-out" realistic film for a change w/o any songs. Having said that, the film is all the more memorable due to the two main numbers: Goli Maar and Sapne me milti hai - mainly due to Bhiku's gang and their histrionics.

All in all a refreshing Hindi film that made me a part of the main gang for the three hour duration and left me wanting more. I hope this inspires a revival of GOOD hindi films as was in the late 70s and early 80s.

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18 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

In my books Satya along with Sholay jointly hold the position for the best Hindi movie ever made.

10/10
Author: sanamlove from calgary, Canada
22 October 2004

Ramgopal Varma's hard hitting film on the Bombay Underworld. This movie is a classic from scene one to the climax. When you see this movie you will see history in the making. A hard hitting story of a person from nowhere , Satya. How he joins the underworld gang led by bhiku mhatre. This movie gives one message hard 'CRIME NEVER PAYS'.The scene where chander(snehal dabi) tells a joke, the scene where bhiku mhatre satya vidya and pyaari go for a dinner, the scene where yedda scares the music director romu sagar, the theatre scene, the climax, all these scenes will go down in the history of Indian cinema as classic scenes. Urmila Matondkar as Satya's Girlfriend and Shefali Chaaya as bhiku mhatre's wife are excellent. J.D.Chakravarthi is brilliant as Satya. Manoj Bajpai gives an excellent and award winning performance as bhiku mhatre.He has managed to make the character of bhiku mhatre an immortal one like late amjad khan did for gabbar singh. Govind Namdeo is brilliant as Bhau. Co-script writer saurabh shukla is superb as kallu mama.It is so nice to see that first time writers saurabh shukla & anurag kashyap wrote such a brilliant script. A special mention must be made of the best cameo since rajesh khanna's cameo in andaz, by paresh raawal as commissioner of police.Satya was supposed to be made as a songless film but co-producer Bharat Shah felt that no distributor will buy the film and it will be too tense. Music director Vishal Bharadwaj and lyricist Gulzar were roped in to provide the music for this film and they did a brilliant work. The song 'Sapne Main milti hai' and 'kallu mamma' are too good. This is one of the very few brilliant movies of the 90's.

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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

CRIME NEVER PAYS

10/10
Author: milind from Bombay, India
5 July 1999

Ramgopal Varma's hard hitting film on the Bombay Underworld. This movie is a classic from scene one to the climax. When you see this movie you will see history in the making. A hard hitting story of a person from nowhere , Satya. How he joins the underworld gang led by bhiku mhatre. This movie gives one message hard "CRIME NEVER PAYS".The scene where chander(snehal dabi) tells a joke, the scene where bhiku mhatre satya vidya and pyaari go for a dinner, the scene where yedda scares the music director romu sagar, the theatre scene, the climax, all these scenes will go down in the history of indian cinema as classic scenes. Urmila Matondkar as Satya's Girlfriend and Shefali Chaaya as bhiku mhatre's wife are excellent. J.D.Chakravarthi is brilliant as Satya. Manoj Bajpai gives an excellent and award winning performance as bhiku mhatre.He has managed to make the character of bhiku mhatre an immortal one like late amjad khan did for gabbar singh. Govind Namdeo is brilliant as Bhau. Co-script writer saurabh shukla is superb as kallu mama.It is so nice to see that first time writers saurabh shukla & anurag kashyap wrote such a brilliant script. A special mention must be made of the best cameo since rajesh khanna's cameo in andaz, by paresh raawal as commissioner of police.Satya was supposed to be made as a songless film but co-producer Bharat Shah felt that no distributor will buy the film and it will be too tense. Music director Vishal Bharadwaj and lyricist Gulzar were roped in to provide the music for this film and they did a brilliant work. The song "Sapne Main milti hai" and "kallu mamma" are too good. This is one of the very few brilliant movies of the 90's.

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28 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Rivals and outdoes "The Godfather"

10/10
Author: alsacecypr from New York
12 July 2004

I've been newly introduced to Indian film, so I'm no expert. But clearly it is more than just Bollywood. Viewing "Satya," after previously seeing another film by Ram Gopal Varma, "Company," I would have to say that Varma is one of the greatest filmmakers now working. With these two movies that are deft, unsentimental, and at the same time not hard-boiled, he seems to add something unique to the gangster genre: the emotionally rounded portrait of the gangster, the gangster inside-out.

Unlike American gangster movies of the 30s, which "Satya" and "Company" remind me of somewhat, Varma's movies are more philosophically ambitious and do something more difficult: they manage to be moral without moralizing. And differently than Coppola's "Godfather" trilogy, where people seem born into a life of crime, Varma shows them becoming criminals and the results of the choices they've made.

I should also say, from the point of view of entertainment, Varma's films are riveting and earn every second of their "Bollywood" length. They do not have unnecessary "filler." Even the de riguer musical numbers "work" and have arrangements and choreography you could imagine on a hip New York stage.

If it hasn't already happened, Varma is ready to be discovered by the festival circuit. I myself am ordering everything I can find by him on DVD and can't wait to check out his other work. Films like "Satya" and "Company" are surely not a fluke.

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A piece of art by the master

8/10
Author: Peter Young from Earth
27 June 2009

Satya is a realistic drama which tells the story of its title character, a simple orphaned guy who tries to live life honestly and make a fair living, but is unable to. Only when he enters the underworld, the most dangerous and seemingly dreadful place, does he find financial success, friendship and love. But when he tries to run away and return to his previous simple world, he finds out that all doors are closed for him. Satya is a film that brings very distinct points to its subject matter in comparison to previous films dealing with similar themes. The film is not about underworld. It's about a guy who finds himself trapped in the world of mafia. It's about the pluses and minuses of being involved in such a terrible world. The film is very authentic, and everything in it, from cinematography to music, contributes to this style almost perfectly. The characters are all simple and easy to relate to, they all have dreams of a better life. The story of each character is presented through the eyes of Satya in a minute and unique way.

Satya has been blamed for depicting Mumbai as a dirty city of crime, terror and violence. Ram Gopal Varma has also been accused of trying to glorify the mafia. But this view is according to me incorrect; the film clearly shows that anyone who enters this world will end up living under constant threat for his life and eventually find himself killed in the most dire of circumstances. The success, the friendship, the love the film's hero finds, all of it is lost in one unfortunate chain of tragic incidents: the death of his friends, the rejection of his girlfriend, and ultimately his own defeat. That's the result and that's what Varma probably tried to convey. Obviously the hero is portrayed as a good human being and you feel for his ill-fate, but that's to be expected. It's of course partly his own fault, but it's mainly a situation created by circumstances.

The acting is terrific. The most sincere performance is that of Manoj Bajpai, who is simply outstanding. He paid attention to both the dark and the bright sides of his character. Urmila Matondkar sheds her well-known image and transforms into a simple dreamy girl in this film. She lets go of her sex appeal and intensity and skillfully creates a sensitive young woman who believes that a better life does exist. An out-and-out excellent performance. Shefali Shah has an extremely small role with little importance. Yet, she is flawless in every possible scene and makes the best of what she is given, which is commendable. The only actor who is not as emotionally convincing is ironically the main protagonist, played by J.D Chakravarthy. He is average in everything he does and was not really a great choice for the part. Satya, while not a film that works for everyone, is an extraordinary film and one of the greatest from its genre. A must-watch.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Arguably the best Indian movie ever

Author: Mushtaq_Ahmd from SFO, CALIF
19 January 2003

After being a fan of English movies for some time, there are not many Hindi movies that one would REALLY appreciate. And if one does, this movie would be the first one. It would be almost impossible for Varma to come out with a movie as good as this once again. This movie is fundoo (aka EXCELLENT) from acting, direction, music point of view. Hats off to Varma. Keep up being different.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Realistic

9/10
Author: Nitin from India
22 May 2004

Such was the power of this movie that people in the movie house were actually jeering when the occasional song came around(even the mandatory "rain song"). A sight very uncommon in Indian cinemas!!

The movie scored highly over the others in it's genre mainly because of its realistic portrayal of incidents like shooting, fighting etc, without being overly dramatic.

Ironically, the name of the movie is derived from it's principal character Satya, but the real hero of the movie is Bhiku Matre, played by the IMMENSELY talented Manoj Bajpai. The character Satya is just the central hinge around which the movie rotates.

The violent scenes in the movie are shot in a typical Hollywood style, and it's just shoot at sight everywhere.

Just when you start to get the feeling that it is IN to go around with a rod in your pocket, the morality lesson takes over and the gun-slingers eventually meet their end.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Classic underworld movie

Author: anubhavhanjura from California, US
10 May 2000

Here is a movie that would go a classic as far as indian films go. A true rendition of the underworld saga of "Mumbai". Mumbai ka king kaun-Manoj Bajpai. A brilliant performance. Also, a masterpiece background score by Sandeep Chowta. One movie that could have given a good run for money to any of it's hollywood peers.Of course, if cinema knew no language:-)

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

one of the best indian gangster movies.

Author: gautam.kishanchandani. (gautamkc@yahoo.com) from bombay
28 December 1999

this film is easily one of the greatest indian gangster films.this film along with "parinda" are great examples of the indian film noir/gangster genre. it has good performances from the entire cast with MANOJ BAJPAI'S performance being the best. another great aspect of the film is the amazing background score by SANDEEP CHOWTA. DONT MISS THIS FILM.*****[out of 5]

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