Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala
Direction: Anurag Kashyap
‘Raman Raghav 2.0’ is twisted, dark and gory. Anurag Kashyap’s lead characters (Nawazudddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal) are as dark as they can possibly be.
In this film there is no juxtaposition of the good, the bad and the ugly – there is no playing with the greys of the human nature – our anti-hero is just evil through and through and so if the object of his obsession.
Unlike in some of his earlier works, we don’t get complex characters where it is a pleasure to watch the layers peel off. From the very onset it is established that here we are dealing with plain evil. And it is at times difficult to wrap your mind around the fact that it is possible for such pure depravity to exist.
And while it might be true that there is some evil in each of us and like Ramanna alias Raman (Nawazuddin) says that some of us are just waiting for a chance to fuel that hatred. Unlike him however, he believes that most people hide behind an excuse when they decide to unleash that demon in them. He is unabashed in his approach, he almost relishes the fact that he enjoys indulging in his evil side and he puts forth no defense for the many murders he has committed.
And there’s the thing though, for most psychotic killers, no matter how random their crimes seem there is a method in the madness. I mean, if you have watched any episode on ‘Criminal Minds’, what the Behavioural Analysis Unit, proves over and over again is that there is a twisted logic to the way a criminal mind thinks and if there is a change in the MO (modus operandi) or the selection of the victim type, there is a reason for that. Here there is no consistency in the way our psychopath operates and the reason he puts forth at the end doesn’t seem congruous to the victimology.
Having said that, Nawazuddin does complete justice to this role. It is unnerving how composed and brazen he is. It is disconcerting to imagine someone as unassuming as he is in the movie as a psychotic killer. You wouldn’t probably give him a second look, if not for the particularly striking scar – in fact, I think it would have been better if he didn’t have the scar because Nawaz is so menacingly brilliant without any need to accessorize his character. There are some moments of sheer brilliance, like the moment when he is locked in a room and screams and shouts to be let out and the next moment, normally just looks out to see if anyone was witness to the fake meltdown.
Vicky Kaushal was intense but I thought we focused too much on his coke snorting than on the other aspects of his character. I was really looking forward to his portrayal as he had made such an impact in ‘Masaan’ but I felt a tad letdown. His is a more complex character; yet, there is really no reference point to why he is the way he is.
I also find it unusual that with a psychotic killer on the loose; the city police are not as riled up as they should be. While the death toll keeps rising, the investigation seems to be proceeding at a leisurely pace.
While this is a compelling story, there are just too many loopholes in this thriller to keep it gripping throughout its runtime. For once, it seemed that Anurag Kashyap was more caught up with the stylistic elements than with the actual narrative in this story.