Raman Raghav 2.0 is all sizzle and no steak

raman-raghav-2-0-review

What goes into the mind of a criminal when he is about to commit a crime? What does he tell his family while having breakfast before going for the kill? Ram Gopal Varma pondered over such questions and came up with the brilliant Satya. The film’s writer, Anurag Kashyap attempts to explore similar insight with Raman Raghav 2.0. The only plaint here is there’s no story in farthest sight.

It seems Nawazuddin Siddiqui has become the Salman Khan of realistic cinema (They used to be called ‘art cinema’, not anymore. Perhaps the ‘art’ got lost in transition somewhere). Like any Salman Khan film, no matter what the story (or lack of it) is, you know it for sure that Bhai will make up for it with his star power.

Ditto with Nawaz. The moment he appears on screen, you stop caring about the story, plot development and so forth. All that seems to matter is how he interprets his character, what mannerisms he employs, how he changes his tone of voice and adds accent akin to a man living in abject poverty. The montage depicting his penury leaves a lump in the throat.

The chapter of ‘Sister’, where his character visits his sister’s place is the best part of Raman Raghav 2.0. The entire sequence sends shivers down your spine. You know what his character is capable of doing and could already see what’s coming, but the ‘how’ and ‘when’ moments generously sprinkled in the film’s screenplay. Amruta Subhash, that terrific actor from Avinash Arun’s Marathi film ‘Killa’, plays Nawaz’s sister to perfection. Sadly, the fun ends here.

By now you’re acquainted with this character who is inspired by the original Raman Raghav (Tribute to the Jabra fan?) and are introduced to his better half or rather worse half, the cop played by Vicky Kaushal. Sobhita Dhulipala makes a promising debut as Raghav’s live-in girlfriend, who is royally abused all through the film.

Just like you felt for Nawazuddin, you couldn’t resist admiring the Vicky Kaushal’s talent of slipping into a completely different character from the one he ably played in Neeraj Ghaywan’s ‘Masaan’. By the time you come to ‘know’ this character, the film ends. And so does your faith in director Anurag Kashyap.

One fails to understand how Raman and Raghav manage to get away with murder so effortlessly. Further, no victim raises an alarm or neighbour comes to rescue or even call the cops while the crimes are being committed. Vicky Kaushal coolly smokes his ciggies wearing sunglasses in front of the commissioner of police, who exists only to hear stories.

A handful of cops are deployed to nab a serial killer. There’s no concept of putting up posters of the ‘killer with a long scar across his face’ and there are no sketch artists, no awareness created on social media or television in Anurag Kashyap’s world. These are so basic that they even exist in those crime-based television series dished out every day.

So what’s the film’s story, did you ask? There isn’t one, folks. Pardon the language, but to be precise, here’s how a guy explained the film’s story to his friend on phone: Bey koi story nahi hai yaar, bas ek c****** doosre c****** ko dhoond leta hai, aur end mein hum c****** ban jaate hain.

For a change, it was the audience who were abusing in an Anurag Kashyap film instead of his characters. Sigh.

 

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