Since 200 Hallo Ho is based on a real story, I think it is important to know that story first. I will try to break this review into parts so that I can tell you about the actual crime that took place in Nagpur in 2004, whether 200 Halla Ho managed to cover the events as they happened, and 200 Hallo Ho as a film. Let’s begin:
Akku Yadav – The Criminal and his Lynching
Akku Yadav was a notorious criminal in Nagpur who had made life a living hell for Dalits of the village. Popular for crimes like rape, murder, and extortion, he ruled the village for around 13 years till he was killed by a mob of women (in hundreds). Since the police had turned a blind eye as they were happy with the money that was coming their way, Yadav committed crime even in the daylight. Out of fear, villagers did nothing about it. Women suffered the most as they were gangraped every now and then, sometimes even in crowded places, in full public view – from pregnant women to minor girls, no one was spared by Yadav and his gang. He would even pick women from their homes to rape them. He once brutally killed a young woman in front of her teenage daughter. The woman was dragged out of her house while the family was having dinner and stabbed to death. Her fingers and ears were then chopped to take off her rings and earrings. There was a woman he raped right after her wedding and then there was another who was raped a few days after giving birth. All of this was happening in front of the families and villagers – rape, murder, torture, extortion – every crime had spectators. Neither did police stop him nor could the families save their loved ones.
Fast forward to Usha Narayane, a young woman, who wasn’t living in Nagpur for a long time, had returned to the village. An educated, working woman who couldn’t tolerate this nonsense filed a police complaint against Akku Yadav after he threatened to murder her friend’s family and the friend refused to do anything about it. When Yadav came to know about the complaint, he along with 40 other men surrounded Narayane’s house with an acid bottle and threatened to throw acid on her before raping and killing her. As nothing worked against him, this young woman turned on the gas cylinder and threatened Yadav to kill everyone gathered around her house including herself by lighting a matchbox.
Seeing one woman’s brave stand and fight against a gang of criminals, the villagers stood for her, chased Yadav, and burnt down his house. Akku Yadav then ran to the police for protection. To save him from the angered mob, the police arrested him. He was not only safe but seemed like he was having the time of his life in custody. While he was being presented in the court, he once again threatened a woman saying he would rape her as soon as he comes out of the jail to which the police laughed. The rest is history.
A mob of 200-400 women entered the courtroom and brutally murdered Akku Yadav. His penis was chopped off, his fingers were found in some other corner of the courtroom. The women passed the knives to each other so that most of the women could get a chance to stab him. He was stabbed around 70 times that day. After the incident, the women celebrated Akku Yadav’s death and took complete responsibility of murder.
Police then tried to shut the case by randomly picking and jailing 5 women from the village including Usha Narayane who wasn’t even present when the lynching took place. On the basis of lack of evidence against the women, all the arrested ladies were then acquitted.
200 Hallo Ho – The Film’s Comparison with the Case
Firstly, the story is slightly changed for the movie. In reality, where Usha Narayane was also arrested by police along with other women; in the film, Asha Surve wasn’t even an accused in the case. Making it a typical Bollywood story, she is the heroine here with a love interest, Umesh Joshi (played by Barun Sobti), a lawyer who is defending the lawyer. Secondly, in 200 Halla Ho, Asha Surve is shown following her friend where she sees her getting raped and files a police complaint the next day. As per Wikipedia, Akku Yadav and his gang had threatened to murder Ratna Dungiri and her family after demanding money from them. She wasn’t raped, not on that day at least.
Also, as per the film, Usha Narayane threw chilli powder on Akku Yadav and his gang when he entered her house to threaten her after the police complaint. She also threw kerosene on one of his gang members and burnt him. That is not what happened with Usha Narayane.
Given the case is so complicated, I am sure that the stories we read on the internet or watch as a film might not match the real incidents, but these are the discrepancies I noticed in the published articles and the movie.
Since I also read the story online, if you are interested to get more details about the real story, you can read it on Wikipedia.
200 Hallo Ho Review
For a crime that brutal and for a criminal that sick, 200 Halla Ho is dull, fails to understand and make audience understand the intensity of Akku Yadav mob lynching case, and tells you nothing about the real incident. If you watch the film without reading about Akku Yadav, you would only wonder why a mob of women killed this man so brutally? Was this murder planned? Why are the police behaving so weird? Do they just want to close the case? To what extent were the police involved? Why did a retired judge who is heading the Fact Finding Committe show no seriousness towards such a brutal crime? There are many answered questions. Half of which can only be answered by reading more about Akku Yadav, the case, and the women who were suffering at his hands.
Nagpur mob lynching, the murder and what led to the murder was so spine-chilling, disgusting, and infuriating that only reading about it numbs your mind. This film couldn’t do justice to those women, the ones who suffered and the ones who fought. Even the most powerful characters delivered weak performances. The one performance that shocked me the most was of Amol Palekar. As a retired judge who is heading a committee to find facts, he showed absolutely no interest in this character and the case. One could make an entire film on the murder of this particular character. Highly Disappointing!
Rinku Rajguru played Usha Narayane in the film. When I read about Usha’s bravery, I was speechless. I just couldn’t imagine what she might have gone through on that particular day when 40 men gathered around her house threatening to rape and kill her. I can’t even imagine what her energy would have been at that time that she managed to change the entire village and Akku Yadav’s fate single-handedly. As I said in my Hundred review, Rinku Rajguru is still a beginner. She cannot shoulder the responsibility of such a strong character, at least not now, at this stage of her career. When you make her the face of the film where the caption reads, ‘the voice of the oppressed,’ you better cast someone who feels like a woman of substance, a powerful personality, not someone who delivers even the most intense and emotional dialogues with a straight face.
Speaking of Barun Sobti, one can only wonder what was the purpose of Umesh Joshi. He is wasted in the film.
And as I always say, Zee5 stories are excellent but their execution is not. Sometimes, it feels like these streaming platform owners have decided the ranks and content standard among themselves which is why everyone is happy with where they are. None of them are trying to grow or outrank their competitors. The only strategy everyone has adopted is – Quantity over Quality! This might work in the short-term but in the long run, it will only harm the brand’s reputation.
Streaming On: Zee5