Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal
Anurag Kashyap, Vasan Bala
Back in the comfort zone of small-budget and film noir, auteur director Anurag Kashyap provides a chilling portrait of men for whom killing strangers is not a crime but something as natural as eating and defecating. It’s just a routine!
The film is named after the notorious killer of the 1960s, however, Anurag’s Raman Raghav 2.0 is not the story of that psychopath as expected. Rather it follows the life of two messed up and totally maniacal characters, who don’t even flinch while ending innocent lives — Ramann (Nawazuddin Siddique) and a drug-addled police officer Raghavendra Singh (Vicky Kaushal). The film largely drives on the central premise that murderers and cops have a lot in common.
From the opening frames of the movie, you know you are in an uncomfortable territory — the camera movements, the sound track, the colour palette, the locations — all set the mood for a gritty, dark, disturbing film.
And, though Anurag initially manages to immerse you in the story, which is he unfolds in a chapter wise format, post the interval he loses his grip and you restlessly wait for the ordeal to get done and over with.
Like most Anurag’s films, this one too rides high on its characters — Raman and Raghav, who actually hold the film together with their strong performances.
With his bloodshot eyes, scarred forehead, and a maniacal look on his face — Nawazuddin is convincing and gives a chilling performance as Ramann. There are moments when he even effortlessly makes you laugh despite his several brutal inhuman acts. The scene, where he tries to feed milk to a baby soon after killing his parents and sings ‘Sheila Ki Jawani’ to the child, is creepy but strangely also makes you laugh at the same time.
Dark humour has always been Anurag’s forte and Raman Raghav 2.0 gives him ample of scope to play around with it.
Coming back to Nawaz, Ramann is one of his strongest portrayal on-screen. The ease and finesse with which he portrays this complex character is noteworthy.
Vicky Kaushal as the trendy-looking, coke snorting cop — Raghavendra, delivers a memorable performance. The boy with his good looks and talent is sure to go places.
Apart from the performances of these two main protagonists, the film, which is shot largely in the grim looking slums of Mumbai also packs some well-written moments, that help you overlook all the weak points of the script.
The scene where Raghav gets another girl to his girlfriend’s (Simi) flat and takes her to another room, while Simi sits in the living room with a glass of wine listening to a debate on feminism on her television set, is the most telling-scene of the film.
The climax scene where Ramann talks about his philosophy behind all the killings, with reference to Syria and says that a killer should have the courage to kill intentionally not under the pretext of religion or any other thing, is thought provoking.
On the whole, this film noir is not everyone’s cup of tea. Go for it if you are a fan of Anurag Kashyap’s brand of cinema, love Nawaz, and have a stomach to digest a disturbing tale.