Get ready to be bludgeoned with this ode to Raman
Raghav, the serial killer who terrorised Mumbai when it was still called Bombay.
Writer-director Anurag Kashyap gets off the mark straightaway with a hammer in
the hands of a killer. Dark, dingy and depressing with the fume of drugs all
over, Kashyap continues to explore and linger on the ugly,
twisted side of mankind.
There’s a serial killer on the streets who calls
himself Raman. He believes that Mumbai cop Raghavan is his soulmate, together
they’re Raman Raghav born again.
While Raman goes on his killing spree, sparing neither
his own sister nor his little nephew, Raghav the policeman on his trail is a
mirror image of him in his own way. The killer and the cop are not very
different from each other, both agents of Yama, the God of Death.
However limited the appeal, Anurag Kashyap takes the
Tarantino route. Like the recent The Hateful
Eight, Anurag too breaks up his film into different chapters with headings
like The Locked Man, The Sister, The Hunted, The Hunter, The Fallen or The Son,
all of them stomach-churning.
The maker specialises in sequences that feature
garbage, gutters, slums and sin with gross rawness as the basic template. Be it
someone crying or killing, lovemaking or abusing, or even cooking or eating,
the crudeness of every act is enhanced. And the equations in every relationship
are tinged with passion even if it’s about the cop and his father.
There’s also an ugly misogyny evident in the main
characters whether it’s the killer with a hint of violent incest with his
sister or the policeman with his women.
But Anurag keeps it gripping aided hugely by
Nawazuddin Siddiqui who is at his entertaining best as a cold-blooded killer
who philosophises but can also make you chuckle. Vicky Kaushal as the cocaine-sniffing
cop and Sobhita Dhulipala as his girlfriend Simi add to the general grittiness.
Music director Ram Sampath comes up with classical
music that’s played with a touch of menace to make an interesting background
score. Jay Oza’s camerawork and Mukesh Chhabra’s casting also play up the
grotty tenor of the film.
Out of the many releases this Friday, Raman Raghav 2.0 is the best made,
reiterating that Anurag is in control of his craft whether you can stomach it
or not. For a gruesome, unpleasant film that’s well told, Raman Raghav 2.0 gets a 3* rating.
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author