Satya (1998) – Movie Review

Satya (Truth – in English) is an action crime-drama film produced and directed by Ram Gopal Varma. And it is written by Anurag Kashyap and Saurabh Shukla. The film is the first of Varma’s gangster trilogy about organized crime in India.

The film follows Satya (J. D. Chakravarthi), an immigrant who comes to Mumbai looking for a job, and finds one at a dance bar. Not so long into the film, Satya gets falsely charged and sent to jail over a dispute with local goons. In jail, Satya, a man of few words, meets Bhiku Mhatre (Manoj Bajpayee), a short-tempered crime-gang leader. Impressed by Satya’s courage, and after hearing his side of the story, Bhiku arranges Satya’s release with the help of his lawyer Chandrakant Mule (Makrand Deshpande). After his release, Satya meets Kallu Mama (Saurabh Shukla), the second-in-command of the Mhatre gang. The rest of the film tells the story of Satya, who sets out to punish the perpetrators who subjected his life to misery.

Satya is the first of Varma’s gangster trilogy about organized crime in India. It inspired sequels like Company (2002) and D (2005). Satya is considered as Varma’s best directorial film to date and one of the greatest films ever made by many critics and scholars in Indian cinema. The film received critical acclaim for its realistic depiction of the Indian underworld and some of the powerful performances. Before Satya, no film had gone this closer to the underworld’s genuine portrayal. It is one of the most influential films from Bollywood, which introduced a raw genre to the audience.


Every little and lead character of the film is important which imprints on our minds for a long time. The performances by Manoj Bajpayee, J. D. Chakravarthi, Saurabh Shukla, Govind Namdeo, Makrand Deshpande, Urmila Matondkar, Shefali Shah, Aditya Srivastava, and Paresh Rawal are so real and so powerful. The solid story and the impactful dialogues take the film to different heights. The film launched the careers of many, especially for Kashyap and Bajpayee.

In every aspect, the film is just perfect. The soundtrack and score are composed by Vishal Bhardwaj and Sandeep Chowta, respectively, while the lyrics are written by Gulzar Saab. Like the film, the songs – “Goli Maar Bheje Me” and “Sapne Me Milti Hai” also has the cult following. These two songs just never get old. “Sapne Me Milti Hai” has become a song that is been played at every wedding function since then. There are two or three romantic songs, which I felt were unnecessary. I watched this film with my parents at a movie theatre when it was released. And, whenever I re-watch it, I, surely, skip those romantic songs. The film won six Filmfare Awards and a National Film Award. Everything worked well for this film, but Ram Gopal Varma deserves full credit for making it happen. A true trendsetter and gamechanger.

Verdict : This film has changed the Indian cinema forever. A must watch for its story, direction, cinematography, and performances.

Rating : 4.3/5

Check the trailer here :

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