What to look out for: Clever use of music and Rajeev Khandelwal
Let’s get straight to the point. Yes, it’s definitely worth a watch. Recklessly charming, it’s synonyms with today’s youth. In their world everything is about ‘right now’. Drug infused instant pleasure with a short shelf life. They take pride in this wild ‘we live just once’ lifestyle. That’s exactly what the film is, reckless, wild, unselfconscious and most importantly ‘hollow’. Why should u watch it then? Well, because it amusing. It’s like a social experiment, where you put a bunch of ‘uber cool’ wisecrack kids in a tough spot and watch them turn on each other and fall apart, piece by piece.
That being said, “Shaitan” scores high on the style quotient. Snazzy camera work, remixed retro music, snappy editing, it’s got all the Anurag Kashyap trademarks intact. An encounter sequence shot to the tunes of a remixed ‘Khoya Khoya Chand’ is exceptionally fascinating. The same goes for the rest of the musical score, used well; it adds a razor sharp edge to the chase sequences. There’s a ton of satirical humor to all this as well. Particularly in scenes involving a government office clerk deriving sadistic pleasure out of divorce paperwork and a typically non-compliant Mumbai rickshaw wala being kicked into action.
5 teenagers, best of friends until on accident changes everything. That’s all there is to the story. Now let’s talk performances; Rajeev Khandelwal is an obvious stand out, striking the perfect balance between bad-ass cop and vulnerable husband. He’s like a good looking version of Atul Kulkarni, perfectly emoting internal turmoil and bottled-up temper through his eyes. One can’t imagine why he doesn’t do more films. Kalki again nails the troubled teen with a dark past act. The rest of the characters were not allowed to fully develop and ended up being slightly stereotypical. A couple of surprise cameos add a nice touch as well. Raj Kumar Yadav and Nikhil Chinnappa as cops are worth mentioning.
Towards the end, you hope that “Shaitan” had a stronger point to make. Because it is devoid of soul, you don’t care what happens to the characters. Disturbed stories have disturbing endings, right? Whatever it is that “Shaitan” tries to tell you, it’s wicked and twisted enough to make the grey cells churn. So, watch it.