A clinic in tone, mood, score, character, writing, direction, sound, visual storytelling and so much more. I bow my head in respect to a masterful piece of art.
OVERALL SCORE – 5/5
Raman Raghav 2.o is a 2016 thriller directed by Anurag Kashyap, written by Anurag Kashyap and Vasan Bala and stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal. The film chronicles a chunk of the life of a psychopathic serial killer.
Raman Raghav 2.0 is a wonderfully disorienting 2 hours of cinema. It is a film that does not only touch on but blows out of the water every aspect I look for when I watch movies. The film sets the tone it is going for from its first shot. The little cards of narration shown at the start of the film have so much personality in themselves. The film goes into a tonal shift the moment those cards end and amazingly it is not jarring. The film knows what it is doing. It knows the world it wants to take the viewer into and it knows how to keep the viewer there. The prologue in itself deserves a whole lot of praise in itself but I will avoid that.
A Bollywood film using its opening credits to such great effect is a joy to watch. Anything and everything one needs to know about the film they are about to watch are shown in those 90 seconds. The visual flair in those credits are higher than most films have in 90 minutes. The pulse pounding, disorienting piece of score that accompanies it invites the viewer into a world they are rarely a part of but it is a world that exists right under their nose.
The work put in on character development here is amazing. The film is lucky enough to have an actor of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s caliber but his performance is hugely helped by the story he is a part of. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is an imposing presence on screen. I was in doubt when I walked into this film. I doubted if he could actually convince as a serial killer. My doubts were blown out of the water the moment I saw him sit down silently at a place and watch the world around him. There was an eeriness in his eyes. There was a palpable sense of terror in his body language. There was a chill running down my spine when I knew there was nothing but darkness behind the character’s eyes. The slow burn reveal the film does with his character is one exceptional moment of film-making after another.
Vicky Kaushal is easily the break out actor coming out of the film. He did not have my stamp of approval when the film began. But like it did in so many other areas, the film managed to turn me around by the end of it. His character is given equal footing with Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s and his measured performance shines by the time the end credits roll. All the other character actors play their roles to a tee and act as the surrogates to the audience.
The film does not revel in its violence because there is no more violence than any other film. The film elevates itself with the way it is made. It does not need blood spatter and body parts being cut off. It needs characters with character. It needs terror conveyed with eyes. It needs tone, mood and score. It is supplied with all these necessities by the men and women behind the camera. People might be quick to dismiss this film as one which is not up their wheelhouse but I would like to make a strong case against it. I would like to ask all readers to find this film and give it a good college try. Not all of you will like it the way I did but the amount of creativity, style and technique put into it will transport you to a world like few movies have done before.
There is so much more to rave about with this film. I have barely scratched the surface with the way the story is told, the ancillary characters and how much they add to the overall experience, the clever foreshadowing, the refreshingly non cliché moments etc. I would like the audience to discover it for themselves. This is by far my favorite film among the near 300 films I have watched this year. It is a masterwork and surely will achieve the status of a classic in my eyes.
OVERALL SCORE – 5/5