Our Review: Raman Raghav 2.0 comes to town

Starting with Last Train To Mahakali, Anurag Kashyap has weaved his protagonists dark, fretting and inward-looking. They exist on the margins of society (not in the sense of financial distress). They live on the edge of law, maintaining their sanity, on the verge of crossing the forbidden line. These characters work in a different state of consciousness, fuelled by a frequent substance abuse, which necessarily heightens their brain stimulation. The best parts of his movies, whether it’s Last Train To MahakaliPaanchNo SmokingDev D or Bombay Velvet, have them operating during the night or in the dark. The dark acts as a perfect mirror to their character. Raman Raghav 2.0 is not so different, either.

The opening disclaimer of Raman Raghav 2.0 establishes the film’s relation with the infamous serial killer of the 60’s Mumbai- Raman Raghav, who left a trail of 41 odd murders behind him. Though this film is not about him, and that is also clearly stated at the beginning, itself.

There are plenty murders which keep you glued to your seat. The movie is basically about the cat and mouse chase between Ramanna (the serial killer) played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Raghuvendra Singh Ubbi (a cop) played by Vicky Kaushal. The murders and slaughters are sheer pit-stops to the journey of these two characters and their relationship which unfolds, in the end.

Ramanna thinks that his salvation lies in uniting with Raghuvendra. He mentions it to Raghuvendra by saying,”Apni mukti aurat mein dhoondh rahe ho, par aapko mukti main dilaunga.” Cops and crooks are two faces of the same coin. Ramanna hunts and slays, his weapon of choice being a metal rod, which bashes victims’ skulls leaving behind a mash of blood and bones. Raghuvendra, (throughout fuelling his system through cocaine) does the same, fully aware of his oath to protect the innocent as a policeman. His personal life is no different from his professional. His relationship with his love interest (played by Shobhita Dhulipalia) is filled with roughness, lack of respect and “taken-for-granted” attitude towards her.

The slayings are the tactics through which Kashyap has explored the intertwining binary of crime and law. He has beautifully brought out and blended both the characters together. The movie is a long chase where each character is a victim of his own undoing. It seems as if Kashyap has intentionally split one evil, unlawful mind into two equals which are leading the movie to an ultimate metaphoric end. Kashyap has indeed picked his protagonists from the dark side. The specialty of his movies has always been the energetic foreplay of the camera in the scenes, which has been there since Black Friday. Every chase sequence captures the horrid beauty of the narrow lanes and slushy slums of Dharaavi, which makes it more exciting.

However, there are certain lows to the movie. The first low point to the movie is the absence of a depth to the story. The characters don’t have enough variation to move on with. I really wanted to know the background of the ludicrous character of Ramanna. What was the event or the environment that shaped him into such ruthless beast? Although, a segment of the movie, in which he visits his sister’s place, hints about his disturbed past, but that is not too expressive. This lack of back story also limits the supremely talented Nawazuddin Siddiqui, to just a man dragging a rod, around the city. His horrifying awareness doesn’t add up to show what he really is.

However, the movie has comparatively given ample light to Vicky Kaushal through his character. A segment of the movie in which Raghuvendra goes to meet his father is quite tantalizing. It gives us a hint of their unusual father-son relationship, but again leaves a lot to imagination.

All in all, the film is played out with a symbolic message (while dropping you far off the ‘mental satisfaction’ town), entrapped with sadism that the audience is not quite ready mentally ready to sit through.

Our verdict: a 3.5/5.

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