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13 Responses to “Raman Raghav 2.0 trailers (updated)”
Kashyap and Siddiqui make a meal of his perversely protracted predatory tactics — gradually tightening the screws as he prepares a chicken curry between strikes — though keeping viewers in sustained suspense over whether a six-year-old boy joins his list of victims or not is perhaps the film’s most dubiously provocative ploy. (This culinary detail, incidentally, is one of several sly references to the real Raghav’s quirks: In 1969, he allegedly offered police his confession in exchange for a chicken dinner.) The film derives less tension from his crimes, however, than it does from his insidious, near-infatuated stalking of Raghav, sensing in the addiction-raddled detective not just a compelling foe but a reflecting kindred spirit. He may well be right: Certainly, neither man is likely to have viewers’ sympathies. Just in case you hadn’t worked it out, their first names join to form that of the real-life killer: Kashyap is not a filmmaker with immense regard for subtlety.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course. “Psycho Raman” often entertains most with its most lurid formal, musical and narrative gambits, from the electrifying, strobe-tastic assault of the film’s nightclub-set opening sequence to the cranked-up rat-in-a-trap terror of its finale, which closes with ample (if not exactly upbeat) potential for a 3.0 sequel. Domestic commercial returns for this unabashedly sensation-seeking outing may well be healthy enough to give that possibility a blood-spattered green light, though one hopes Kashyap — whose limber, enthusiastic work here jolts more than it actively surprises — has his eye on fresh genre terrain to exploit.
It’s a propulsive and bloodthirsty thriller with a brash use of music and a jangling, adrenalised energy which rarely flags. It should connect with a young Indian audience, both domestically and within the wider diaspora, looking for a hip, confrontational alternative to mainstream Hindi cinema. And the slick production values and deadly charisma of Kashyap regular Nawazuddin Siddiqui in one of the two lead roles should make this a popular fixture on the festival circuit, where it would be particularly well-suited to the Midnight slot. Broader theatrical prospects outside India are less certain, as the film doesn’t bring much that is novel to the serial killer genre aside from the setting.
The story could have turned into one huge cliché, and there are genre elements that are numbingly familiar, was it not for the exceptionally scary performance of Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the role of the villainous, demented serial killer Ramanna. Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal need not move over, but he would certainly enjoy the nuanced performance of this rising Indian actor, who has demonstrated his extraordinary range in roles stretching from a humble office clerk in The Lunchbox to a porn-meister in Miss Lovely, as well as multiple gangster stints for Kashyap and others.
You have worked with the Khans (Aamir Khan in Sarfarosh and Talaash, Salman Khan in Kick and Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Shah Rukh Khan in Raees) as well as Amithabh Bachchan (in Te3n). Did you learn anything from them?
I learnt from the Khans that to sustain a career for such a long time is a big thing. It is admirable to see that when they work on the sets, they are very humble.
When they are at their karma bhoomi (place of work), they work like any other actor. They never show off that they are superstars. That’s a great quality.
Bachchansaab is very punctual and professional. Suppose we have an early morning shoot and there is a five-page scene to shoot, he will learn it thoroughly and come.
He will remain on the sets till the entire scene is over. We actors go to the vanity van or have tea or smoke a cigarette when a different camera angle is being set for the same scene. But he will not move from the sets. This passion that he has even after so many years of acting is a huge learning for me.
After acting with Shah Rukh Khan recently, you said that he can easily do a Gangs of Wasseypur. Why did you say that?
Shah Rukhsaab has played gangsters in films like Don, so he can easily do a Gangs of Wasseypur, if he gets a good director.
I have observed that Shah Rukh is a director’s actor. He is the same actor who has done Swades and Chak De! India.
How did you prepare for the role of a serial killer in Raman Raghav 2.0?
I took the script of Raman Raghav 2.0 to Lonavala (a hill station near Mumbai) and stayed in a cottage situated in a forest-like area. I practised there.
I always play the background score when I am practising my scene. The music helps me perform better.
The third day when I was practicing in the evening, I started getting scared myself. So I stopped everything. But I had got a grip on the character.
When you practice often, you realise the character from within.
For Kashyap, the devil lies in the details. There is a scene in Bombay Velvet where Anushka Sharma is coming from Goa to the big city. A thin line of moustache — her unthreaded upper lip — is evident on her. It disappears when she makes it big as the well-groomed jazz singer, Rosie.
Bombay Velvet, however, was a spectacular failure. “Kashyap is in his element when he is filming in the badlands of India, but the moment he comes to the glittering, make-believe world of Mumbai (as in Bombay Velvet), he loses his touch,” says Unnithan, who has followed the filmmaker’s chequered journey over several years.
Those who know him say he has a disturbing understanding of violence, probably from his roots in Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh, and this is reflected in many of his movies. He can tell the sound of a country-made pistol from that of a sophisticated one.
“A child of the cowbelt,” is how Unnithan describes him. “He likes to think his perspective is morbid, but he has a great empathy for the human condition, which few filmmakers have,” says journalist Gayatri Jayaraman who interviewed Kashyap extensively over four months last year.
Unlike the Karan Johars, Abhishek Bachchans and Hrithik Roshans who are born into Bollywood, Kashyap has come up the hard way, sleeping under a water tank in his early days in Mumbai. That has also given him a firsthand understanding of life on the street.
Kashyap did not respond to interview requests for this article.
Over the years, as he went on to become a filmmaker with a global reach, he rubbed some people the wrong way. Among them is Ram Gopal Varma for whose Satya he wrote the screenplay. In 2014, on Koffee with Karan, when Johar asked Kashyap a question that began with, ‘Ram Gopal Varma is…’, Kashyap interrupted and said, ‘Ram Gopal Varma was…’
‘A self-publicist,’ is how some describe him. Many believe that his statement last year just before the release of his period crime drama Bombay Velvet, that he would move out of India and relocate to Paris was just a publicity stunt.
Devvrat says even if his battle for Udta Punjab was for publicity, it was for the right cause.