The brutal murders in Anurag Kashyap’s serial killer film Raman Raghav 2.0 happen off camera for the most part. Yet I found myself flinching and turning away each time the screen went black, or the distinct sound of a metal rod making contact with flesh filled the room.

Kashyap’s film is not an easy watch. Nevertheless, his exploration into the mind of a killer, who, by his own admission, kills for no reason other than the fact that he wants to, is deeply fascinating.

Raman Raghav was a serial killer who operated in Mumbai in the mid-1960s, and subsequently confessed to having murdered 41 people. But Kashyap’s film is not about him, we’re told right at the start. It focuses instead on a copycat modern-day killer, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who holds up the notorious 60s psychopath as his inspiration, and feels a kinship to a coke-snorting police officer, Raghavan (Vicky Kaushal), whom he thinks of as no different from himself except that he kills from behind the privilege of a uniform.

In an interview he gave a few weeks ago, Kashyap said Raman Raghav 2.0 is the most romantic film he’s made. In a strange way, he’s right. Nawazuddin’s character, who goes by the name Raman, becomes instantly captivated by Raghavan, from the moment he first sees him, killing a stranger in cold blood and for no apparent reason. Raman has found a kindred spirit in the twisted cop, and from hereon he kills to feel close to Raghavan. Can there be a more pure and selfless love?

The film then is about the cat and mouse chase between cop and criminal, although like in Sriram Raghavan’s Badlapur, Kashyap too subverts the hero/villain template until the line begins to blur. The cop character is anything but a straight arrow, unable to so much as function without a hit of cocaine, and routinely abusive to his live-in girlfriend Simmi (a terrific Sobhita Dhulipala).

Siddiqiui is appropriately creepy as Raman, a long scar running down his forehead, an unmistakable glint in his eyes, and almost always dragging a long car jack behind him. In one of the film’s best scenes, you watch transfixed as he coolly cooks chicken curry in a home that he has forced himself into, while the family, trapped and terrified, await their fate.

It’s a testament to the actor’s abundant talent that you root for Raman when he’s being pursued by cops in a slum. Or you find his simplicity endearing when he can’t seem to make even a basic calculation. He reveals childlike pride while casually confessing his crimes to complete strangers. His delicious turn as the possibly demented killer is easily the biggest strength of the film.

Kaushal, meanwhile, never quite matches up to his co-star’s brilliance, squarely failing to turn Raghavan into an equally compelling protagonist. He has presence, but his performance as the morally bankrupt cop feels hollow and lacking in real feeling.

The film itself benefits from a propulsive music score (by Ram Sampat), some unexpected moments of humor, and an energy and pace that seldom dips. Kashyap is in good form, but ultimately Raman Raghav 2.0 doesn’t bring anything blazingly new or original to the serial killer genre.

I’m going with three out of five. It’s consistently engaging, but doesn’t get under your skin like some of Kashyap’s other films, particularly Black Friday, Gangs of Wasseypur, and the criminally overlooked Ugly.

Did you like this blog?*
How did you find this blog?*
What kind of articles would you like to read on the blog?*
Name:*
E-mail:*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Rajeev Masand

  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Omerta

    Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Keval Arora, Rajesh Tailang, Blake Allan Director: Hansal Mehta In his new film Omerta, director Hansal Mehta seeks to dive into...

    BMS EditorMay 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of 102 Not Out

    Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Jimit Trivedi Director: Umesh Shukla Let’s just face it Hindi cinema doesn’t know what to do with senior...

    BMS EditorMay 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Avengers: Infinity War

    Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe...

    BMS EditorApril 26, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Beyond The Clouds

    Cast: Ishaan Khattar, Malavika Mohanan, Goutam Ghose, Tannishtha Chatterjee, GV Sharada, Amruta Santosh Thakur, Shivam Pujari Director: Majid Majidi Iranian master Majid Majidi,...

    BMS EditorApril 21, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of October

    Cast: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu, Gitanjali Rao Director: Shoojit Sircar October, directed by Shoojit Sircar, is a thoughtful, meditative film about...

    BMS EditorApril 13, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Blackmail

    Cast: Irrfan Khan, Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh, Divya Dutta, Pradhuman Singh, Anjula Sathe, Gajraj Rao, Omi Vaidya, Vibha Chibbar, Neelima Azim Director: Abhinay...

    BMS EditorApril 6, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Baaghi 2

    Cast: Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Manoj Bajpayee, Randeep Hooda, Deepak Dobriyal, Prateik Babbar, Darshan Kumaar, Vipin Sharma Director: Ahmed Khan. A distraught young...

    BMS EditorApril 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review Of Pacific Rim Uprising

    Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Cailee Spaeny, Burn Gorman Director: Steven S DeKnight I’m one of those who thoroughly...

    BMS EditorMarch 24, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review Of Hichki

    Cast: Rani Mukerji, Neeraj Kabi, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Harsh Mayar Director: Siddharth P Malhotra There is nothing original, nothing surprising, nothing even...

    BMS EditorMarch 24, 2018

All articles/blogs are intended to inform, entertain and amuse. We make no representations or guarantees about the truth, accuracy or quality of any content.

Copyright 2018 © Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Subscribe to our email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news!
Thank You For Subscribing To Us!

Now get regular updates on the latest entertainment news and style trends.

Providing you with the best of Bollywood, Hollywood, style and more.
Get the best in entertainment, while keeping yourself entertained!
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
×
×
WordPress Popup