Satya is a really gripping tale about the Mumbai underworld. Although you should be warned, it is not a typical Indian film with over-the-top songs, love triangles and melodrama. Many other films in this genre have been made before (Parinda) and after (Vaastav, Company) but this is definitely the best.
The movie is about Satya (played by J.D. Chakraverty), an average Joe who goes to the big city for work but ends up behind bars for standing up to a sleazy gangster. In prison he meets and befriends the charismatic Bikhu (brilliantly performed by Manoj Bajpai) who leads his own gang, and from then on its no turning back from a world of violent crime. Amongst it all, there are one or two moments of light comedy (thanks to Bajpai) and a tender love story between Satya and his neighbour's daughter, played by Urmila Matondkar.
Director Ram Gopal Varma depicts the Mumbai underworld in a dark yet very nuanced way. Much of the film looks at the day-to-day lives of the characters with their families, showing them in a very human light, a far cry from the crazed Bollywood villains we usually love to see. But the take home message is still clear - they are engaged in illegal and immoral activities that threaten the functioning of a progressive society. The cast is further backed up by Paresh Rawal, one of my favourite actors. I rate it 5 stars and put it in the same bracket as Amitabhs "Deewaar".