Raman Raghav 2.0 Film Review: Twisted And Torturous

| June 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

raman raghav
Sriram Raghavan had made a film on serial killer Ramanna (year 1991) that stalked the streets of erstwhile Bombay in 1960s. He murdered 41 unknown people, just like that and was sentenced to death. Later his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Raghuveer Yadav had essayed the role of that psychotic killer. Infact the whole project was funded by Bombay Police, in all 4 lakhs rupees for Sriram Raghavan to make that film just after his FTII diploma(this was shared by Sriram Raghvan) in one of his tete-tete couple of years ago. That film I had an opportunity to see in that session. It was realistic to say the least.

Raman Raghav 2.0 is Anurag’s Kashyap’s take on the serial killer Raman aka Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui)but its not his story. Its just the inspiration for Anurag Kashyap’s own interpretation of as to what goes on in the mind of a serial killer. Not only the serial killer who has no moral compass, but also the cop on the hunt for serial killer, one crime branch officer Raghav (Vicky Kaushal).

Ramana is foxy as per his own admission, and loves to kill on God’s command. He gets his high on seeing the blood and gore. Raghav is licenced to kill in line of his duty, and he gets his high snorting coke and banging girls. For Raman the catharsis is in seeing the pain and blood. Raghav is seeking release in sex and drugs.But Raman feels Raghav is searching in the wrong place for peace. He is of the opinion that Raghav is more like him, his alter-ego, his soulmate. For him also violence –brutal,senseless and sudden resulting in the death is the panacea.

This leads to cat and mouse game between the hunter and the hunted. The face-off between them couple of times gives us the glimpse of their motivations and machinations.Both are haunted by the demons of the past. A repressed rage at the authority figures in their childhood, that traumatised and victimized them. In case of Raman its physical and sexual abuse, in case of Raghav its his oppressive father.

So far so good. The premise is fine though nothing original and unusual about it. The motivations and intentions too are predictable. It’s the way the whole screenplay has been structured and its eventual unfolding on the screen, that leaves you disturbed and unsettled—at times repulsed too.

Screenplay writers Vasan Bala and Anurag Kashyap have divided the whole story into eight chapters (a kind of backhanded acknowledgement of Quentin Tarantino).Each chapter has its own issues, but basically it all boils down to violence-unsolicited, sadistic,brutal, perpetrated by both –law breaker and law upholder. Yes, it is peppered with abusive language, which is, lets accept and face it, the staple of Anurag’s films.

But does it all make for an engrossing outing, forget about entertainment. As such entertainment in such a dark subject is unexpected, though few one-liners and remarks by Nawazuddin’s Raman do tickle in an otherwise dull and drab scenario. Overall it is an exercise in self-indulgence and taxing on your patience. The very setting of the underbelly and slums of Mumbai upsets your visual senses. At the same time it alarms you to the wide chasm between glass and concrete jungle of highrises, and dilapidated,plastic covered tin-roof shanties of Mumbai.

Anurag Kashyap is more at home exploring this terrain, as he did earlier in Black Friday and Ugly too.He seems to be obsessed with the dark side of human beings where there is thin line of tipping to the animal within. In his world everyone has a criminal lurking within. What and where he reaches the breaking point where the demons within are set free to play havoc, is what differentiates one from the other.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui steals the march over everyone, though there are just few of the main characters. He gets into the skin of the character and really makes you detest and abhor him. Vicky Kaushal’s Raghav is just about Ok. His half-baked characterization takes away from any layered interpretation of his role. The very fact that he is a senior officer with Police Force and is openly indulging in drugs and womanizing, and still not on the radar of his seniors, does not suspend your disbelief. So you don’t feel any sympathy for his character.Debutante Sobhita Dhulipala’s character also leaves you unsympathetic towards her at times cool-at times poor me persona.

Its Ram Sampath’s suspenseful background score that peps up the proceedings. Jay Oza’s cinematography through the backlanes and alleys of Mumbai’s slums and overall dark,claustrophobic mood is definitely creditworthy.

This is not a film for a weak-hearted. Nor it’s a family fare. Certified by FCAT it means that as per the present guidelines,it must have been either refused or recommended with some glaring cuts by Examining Committee of the much maligned CBFC. Well Anurag Kashyap has his own reasons for mining these kind of stories , and taking up cudgels with the Certifying body, but it seems more like as if he is delving into his own psyche under the garb of revisiting the mind-set of a psychopath!

Raman Raghav 2.0 has it all—the incest and the sodomy reference, the authoritarian paternal setups, the drugs,sex,violence to unhinge anyone of his moorings. Its dark, desolate, depressing and drugged. Even the presence of Nasazudding Siddiqui and his bravura performance cannot lift your sagging spirits.

Rating :Ratings-2-stars

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Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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