“I walk only on the black….” says Ramanna, one of the darkest characters played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui on screen, pretty much sums up what Anurag Kashyap has to offer in his new crime drama Raman Raghav 2.0. It tells a contemporary version of the infamous serial killer of the 60s Raman Raghav in a modern way. This explores his psyche and his connection with a drug addict cop. This type of film is unlike the ones made in India of the same genre. Almost everything is dark about the characters: murder, drugs, torture, incest and so on.
The film is divided into chapters, The Hunt, The Hunted, The Sister etc., a Tarantino like adaptation, serves the film well. The location serves as an excellent companion to the story. The slum, the disco and the other locations are exactly what suit the tone of the film. The score by Ram Sampath is a mix of loud rock and Indian music also has a lasting effect on the mind. Kudos to the cast for making the film what it is. Nawazuddin gives yet another powerful performance in a negative role. He plays different shades of dark throughout the film. The psychology of the killer, who kills for the sake of killing, believes himself to be God’s own “cctv camera”, has his own “heaven” which is all black, is displayed with perfect dynamism by Nawaz. Vicky Kaushal plays the role of an insomniac, drug addict cop, Raghavan, who is also drawn into murder partly due his own bent psychology, circumstances and very much owing to Ramanna.
Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is inspired by the real life serial killer Raman Raghav; he kills and searches for his soul mate in killing, Raghav. After committing nine gruesome murders without any reason, he surrenders to the police. But the “intelligent” police thinks he is a pitiable insane who just wants the food and shelter in jail. They beat and lock him up in a secluded old building. He is released by a group of youngsters who were playing in the area. While in the locked room, shouting in desperate need of help, he hears approaching footsteps; in a moment his expression changes from frantic shouting to sly searching eyes; brilliantly displayed by Nawazuddin. After getting out he visits his sister for food, but on little provocation from his aged brother-in-law, he hits him with a rod and forces his sister to cook. He expresses doubt whether his nephew is really the son of his brother-in-law. After revealing that he has trained his sister in the art of sleeping around, his sister thinking he has visited to quench his thirst, asks him to take her. Enraged he kills her and his husband and calmly proceeds to eat the meat along with rice.
Ramanna asks his nephew his name, himself answers “Pocket”. “If anyone asks why did I kill you? I’ll say I just picked pocket!”(Maine toh sirf pocket maara!) This shows his cruel, ruthless sense of humour. On the other hand, Raghav meets Simmy (Sobhita Dhulipala) in a dance club, sleeps with her, and forms a bond with her. His arrogance, violence, insomnia, unwillingness for marriage, her abortions all comes between them, starts drifting them apart. In the heat of a moment, he pushes her; she dies after colliding with a glass table. Ramanna watches over him: he takes the blame for it and insists that Raghavan kills the only witness, Ankita. Raghavan does so, thus proving that they are the true soul mates with only singular passion: Murder.
There are no motives behind the murders; like many other things around us Ramanna acts almost without any reason. There is no logic behind a person whom we love, similarly without any logic he kills, not for revenge, not for any other earthly matter, he just kills. Raghavan is the same; he has anger within himself; his insomnia, drugs, his want for the female form, all brings out the Raman inside him. Though the film is of charcoal hearted men, it is not exaggerated a bit, it is an honest and decent attempt to understand the inner self of a creepy murderer.
Anurag Kashyap is back; not with a huge arsenal but with methods that that makes this a good if not great film. The film was screened in the Director’s fortnight at Cannes and was praised there. It may not be appealing to a normal movie-goer but it certainly deserves a praise for the way it explores the minds of Ramanna, his viewpoint, his logic, his world and also the life and attitude of Raghavan. There is almost no “feel good” moment in the two hour thirteen minutes of bloodshed, drugs, and darkness which makes the film difficult to attract masses. The location, the lighting perfectly convey the mood, the personalities and offers a great setting for the events. Overall, it is a good film with brilliant performances from Nawazuddin and Vicky. Anurag Kashyap exhibits the idea very well and offers a different genre that is unexplored in Indian cinema.
Film Score: 72
Director: Anurag Kashyap Screenplay: Anurag Kashyap, Vasan Bala Cinematography: Jay Oza Editing: Aarti Bajaj Production Design: Tiya Tejpal Costume Design: Shruti Kapoor Music: Ram Sampath Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala.