Movie Review: Shaitaan is a very well shot film. Go, watch it.

The name of the Director is Bejoy Nambiar. But, the movie is stamped with Anurag Kashyap all over. Not just the narration and the screenplay, but the visual treatment of the movie as well. Some extremely creative use of background score, rapidly zagging camera work, dark shots, shots in slow-motion, and some insane music. It almost feels like Anurag Kashyap is continuing with his ode to Tarantino, having taken a pause after Dev D.

I loved the movie. The premise is simple, but not so frequently touched in bollywood. Spoilt brats high on life and high on dope making a mistake which comes back at them in a multi-fanged manner, and some of them (the more spoilts ones) keep adding mistakes over mistakes, and in the end its an unresolvable mess (almost). Somewhere in the canvas is a righteous cop having a tough time adapting to the system, and another one who uses the system to his advantage. A commissioner who cannot but depend on the volatile righteous suspended cop for getting him out of the mess, and a cop friend who is right in just about the right balance. Since I am not here to tell you the story, I would leave it at this.

What makes the movie stand out is the visual narrative. Right from the initial sequences, and the pace at which a social misfit finds her group of homies, the baap ka paisa gang and their antics, rave parties, etc., to one of the most well shot sequences running a brilliant remix of yesteryear’s Khoya Khoya Chand in the background, and two parallel narratives on the screen running on slo-mo. I can almost feel like I have seen such a scene in an English movie before. But then, that does not take the execution credit away from Bejoy and Anurag. It’s a scene that will be run on loop many times by many people.

The ending leaves you with a bit of a cheated feeling. You wanted it to be a little more crisp than it was, but saying any more will risk revealing too much. Go and watch the movie and let me know what you think.

The acting department delivers. Rajeev Khandelwal as the estranged cop is brilliant. So, is Neil Bhoopalam as video gaming trying to fit in the group rich boy. Neil is becoming one of my favourite theatre-to-cinema actors these days (have you see Hamlet The Clown Prince? All in one? No One Killed Jessica?). Shiv Pandit and Gulshan Devaiya are well cast. Gulshan (KC) comes across as a spoilt brat with no regards for anything, but only till nothing goes wrong. Shiv as Dash is a revelation, playing a very restrained act. Kalki is fine. Not great, but not bad either. She needs to work on her hindi diction rather quickly though, if she wants to play a long bollywood inning. She might end up a Kangna Ranaut otherwise. In fact, the little girl playing Kalki’s childhood version deserves a mention, and so does the lady who plays Kalki’s dead mother. I have seen her in several plays (including Vagina Monologues), and she continues to impress me. In fact, Neil, Kalki’s Mother in the movie, Rajit Kapoor, and the guy plays Inspector Mawalankar are all good theatre actors, and its good to see AK giving them a chance. Rajat Barmecha (of Udaan) gets a little cameo as well.

Music is worth highlighting. Right from the excellent remix of Khoya Khoya Chand, to Pintya, Josh, Zindagi and several other background tracks (instrumental ones) used across the movie. Ranjit Barot, and Prashant Pillai should walk away with the best background score for this movie.

Movie has some quippy dialogues as well – kuch dost aise hotein jinhe aap raaat ke do baje bhi phone kar sakte hain, aur kuch dost aise jinhe aap sirf raat ke do baje hi phone kar sakte hain.

I will go with a 8 on 10 for this movie. Very well shot and executed, great music and background score, and some good acting. The only let down is the editing, which could have stripped about 15 minutes from the movie. Go watch it.

About Amit
Conventional, boring, believer, poet, Shayar (to be precise), lover of music, musical instruments, and all that can be called music (theoretically or metaphorically), jack of all master of none, more of a reader less of a writer, arbit philosopher, foolish debater.. and many more such things.. like so many people!

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