Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Shobhita Dhulipala
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Anurag Kashyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0 begins with a bit background on the 1960s serial killer Raman Raghav who had carried out 41 murders mercilessly on the streets of Mumbai. ‘The film is NOT based on him’ says the disclaimer in the end. And Kashyap and co-writer Vasan Bala remain true to their words as the film opens in a seedy nightclub in Mumbai in 2013. The scene has ACP Raghavendra Singh (Vicky Kaushal) high on cocaine, eyeing lasciviously the leggy Simi (debutant actress Shobhita Dhulipala). The scene is juxtaposed with a scene in a murky chawl where Raman (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) stands with a hammer and looks at a bleeding, pleading man. Both Raman and Raghav come from completely different backgrounds, yet they are both menacing in their own ways.
Right at the beginning, Kashayp establishes well that Raman is a merciless, inhuman, psychotic character who really has the vaguest of the reasons to kill. But as the story progresses, you realize why he is choosing his targets and to reach out to whom. Meanwhile, Raghav, a wasted cop, adapts the same ruthlessness when it comes to women. He doesn’t kill them of course, but beds them just to satiate his urges and not really for love. In a fine scene, at the beginning, during an interrogation, Raman explains to the cops that that how he is no different from the police and how they all are just playing Yamraj- just that cops are during within the laws that bind them, and he isn’t.
There are scenes, especially in the first half that are brutal. Nowhere does the camera focus on a smashed, bloodied head yet the way with which Siddiqui carries out each murder is gory and makes you want shut your eyes. Because it is an Anurag Kashyap film, the scenes are laced with dark humour. You will chuckle at the clever lines even while the killer is sneakily coming out a dark corner to kill his next target.
Shot in actual locations of Mumbai, the film has an extremely realistic feel to it which is of course a typical of every Anurag Kashyap film.
The film boasts of a very addictive background score which blends in well with the plot. The camera work is also crisp as the it travels to murky bylanes of Mumbai with as much ease as it captures the city’s impressive skyline at night.
The high point of Raman Raghav 2.0 remains its lead actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Its now a widely accepted fact that you can give this actor any role and he will manage to shine. As the menacing, crazy Raman, Siddiqui’s performance is captivating. Giving him company is actor Vicky Kaushal, who plays the drug addict cop with a troubled past with absolute ease. Kaushal made a splendid debut in 2014 in Neeraj Ghaywan’s ‘Masaan’ plays a drastically different role in this one and manages to impress.
A scene where Siddiqui meets his on screen sister (Marathi actress Amruta Subhash) and her family is a long scene but a pivotal one for the story. The scene, simply because of the performances by the actors, stands out in the entire film.
Despite a compelling star cast, the film majorly suffers because of a slow narrative. Perhaps there is too much emphasis given on setting up each scene or maybe the story takes time to set in – but the thriller slackens majorly in the second half.
Perhaps our expectations from the filmmaker is too high or maybe we are now too used to seeing Kashyap’s hard hitting films, but ‘Raman Ragahv 2.0’ is not his finest. It does boast of a good starcast, a solid story line but somehow, Kashyap’s signature style of filmmaking is visible only in parts.