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Department  : Departure from sanity
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Friday, May 18, 2012
Ram Gopal Varma
Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Rana Daggubati, Nathalia Kaur
Department Movie Stills
Ram Gopal Varma’s Factory churns out yet another dud, this time under the guise of a police department. It’s 132 minutes of incomprehensibly unwatchable cinema. 

The plot:  Underworld crimes in Mumbai are on the rise and the police force, armed with all its limitations, is not equipped to deal with it. This leads to the formation of an unofficial department to wipe out the two rival underworld gangs run by Gauri and Savatya. Headed by Inspector Mahadev Bhosle (Sanjay Dutt) and aided by hot-headed cop Shiv Narayan (Rana Daggubatti) with goonda-turned-politician Sarherao Gaikwad (Amitabh Bachchan) pulling the strings from behind, the assignment is to eliminate the gangsters. Caught in the tempest of power and politics are the policemen and their ever-changing colours.

The good: The only silver lining in this dreary film is that if you ever see a bad film, you can compare it with Department and conclude that your bad film was a tad better.        
The bad: The film starts off saying – ‘Power Corrupts’. Piece of advice – watching this bloody mess might corrupt your senses too. Writer Nilesh Girkar fails miserably at penning a sensible, comprehensible script. At no stage do you understand what’s going on and it’s pretty certain that the writer was clueless too about where he was heading. To add to this is lack of substance in every single ‘department’ of the film. Be it the acting, the music, the dialogues or the cinematography, everything lacks sensibility. For starters, the cinematography (FXS Team) consists of mindless close-ups (of inane shots like chai coming out of a kettle or water inside a bottle) which are so close that you count hair on skin while the 360 degree  shots go on till you’re dizzy. Just when you are getting out of all this, the screen will tilt upside down for no good reason. RGV’s fondness for keeping the camera on the ground is evident all through as many of his shots are taken from between the legs. There is one frame where all you see is a female moving her bottom.

So absurd are the proceedings that even the leading men’s slightest punch can kill villains while bullets bounce off the heroes, leaving them unscathed. A cop’s wife talks to gangsters and ministers with the comfort level that one might share with neighbours. A minister (Amitabh Bachchan, what happened to your script sense?) dances stupidly at a cop’s wedding and shots are fired from guns with more ease than water from a water gun during Holi. Rana Daggubati, in typical southern import style, pronounces ‘khabar’ as ‘kabar’ and is more man mountain than actor. Amitabh Bachchan and ageing Sanjay Dutt also fail to rescue this sinking ship. Nathalia Kaur, whose item number was supposed to be the lead attraction of the film, raises your irritation levels instead of raising your temperature. When the end credits of the film rolled in, Ramu and his Department got an applause at the press show – the journalists were happy that the comic ordeal was finally over. 

Overall: For those who dare to watch Department even after reading this review, please carry a pain-killer along. RGV, do consider hanging up your boots for this year at least. Don’t make a mockery of Indian cinema, at least in its centenary year.

~Nikita Periwal
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