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Shaitan

So thanks to some prodding from my friend Shri, I decided to go watch this movie today. I'm not upset I did, but I'm certainly not happy. It was sort of like watching Love, Sex aur Dhokha in a way. Graphic, very close to reality, and loud.

The movie begins with Anurag Kashyap saying that it's a just a movie and that he doesn't support the use of drugs, drinking and driving and that it's a fictional story which is debatable because like Dev D he used an actual incident as one of the pivotal moments in the movie, in this case the moment is when 5 kids high on coke, drinks, and generally on life, speed across town and in one of the turns end up killing two people who were on a scooter. They were driving a Hummer.

Anyways, to come back to the timeline of things, the movie begins by shocking you. I know I've watched a number of movies which involve sequences of kisses in front of my parents / relatives without flinching. But I would not be able to watch this movie with them. There's a lot that goes on in the first five minutes that tells you that you have to have the stomach to see this movie through and that it's going to test you. There's drugs, there's masturbation and a whole lot more which I'd rather not write about.

It revolves around Kalki Koechlin, playing Amrita Jaishankar better known as Amy. She's an emotional and psychological troubled child not able to deal with the fact that her mother died 12 years ago after being put in an mental asylum. In her mind, she still thinks that her mom's alive and that she must go to her. Her rich NRI father has since married another woman who tries hard at being a good stepmother to her but doesn't elicit much of a response from her. In this lost world, she encounters a guy, KC (Karan Chaudhary) who starts chatting with her and invites her over to his place to meet his friends. He's one of the rich dad's son who has lots of money and loves spending it, another friend of their Zubin, a crazy Bawa, Tanya who's reluctant model, and Dash (Dushyant) who's a son of a driver in Dubai but has connections and gets the "maal". One of my favorite dialogues in the movie was, Zubin telling Amy, 'Screw the tigers, save the parsis, we're a dying race!' :) For the first half an hour or so they're setting the context to the story by introducing the characters and so on.

One night, when they're out, drinking and roaming around in the city, they get into a car race with another guy and race him from Worli to town. I think they're at the Horniman circle in the last sequence when they finally lose the trail of the other car and continue going around in circles until suddenly they hit a scooter, killing two people on the spot. Horrified, scared and unsure of what to do, they flee from the scene with Dash taking complete charge of the situation. He drops them off to their homes and goes with KC to a friend's place far away to hide the vehicle. Unfortunately for them, there's someone who's witnessed the crime. One police officer tracks them down the next day and in a 'mandavli' asks them to cough up 25L in exchange for crushing the evidence and thereby the case. Stuck in this fix, they're debating about how to get the money arranged. After going through a series of options, they zero in on the idea of kidnapping a person and asking for ransom. Amy asks them to kidnap herself, justifying that her dad loves her a lot and he's perfectly suited to cough up that kind of money in a short notice. So the plan is rolled, and they take her to a place in Bhendi Bazaar. All five of them are together and Dash makes the call.

Her father on the other hand is dealing with an inspector officially on suspension but asked to take on the case because of his connections and record in solving cases involving missing women. Rajeev Khandelwal, plays the role of Arvind Mathur, the angry, protector of women, cop. There's a side story about his failing marriage but that's very on the fringe. Anyways, so he's co-ordinating the police efforts on this kidnapping and they come to the conclusion that all 4 kids have been kidnapped since all their phones are off and all of them have been missing for a day. Their prime suspect of course is Dash.

Meanwhile, like a domino effect of sorts, one thing after another keeps going wrong with the kids and they land up in even more trouble than before. Raging emotions, getting high on coke, running from place to place, they just end up twisting themselves deeper into the well than they were. Eventually, it takes the unraveling of the truth by the police inspector based on a confession by one of the kids that solves the entire case and restores some sort of peace to the story.

There were a lot of good points to the movie than there were bad, brilliant editing, especially the khoya khoya chand sequence, the aiyashi sequence, and a lot of other chase sequences which are fabulously shot. I think unquestionably, the cinematography, the script in most cases, the editing and the background score are the best parts of the film. The acting is good but not too great. I know all of them have essayed their roles brilliantly, but like someone said, what stands out is not their acting or their role, but the director's vision. Even though this is directed by Bejoy Nambiar, there is a huge influence of Anurag Kashyap on the style of the filming.

One of the main flaws of the movie was that even though it spoke about the inner demons, apart from the inner demonic side of Amy and to an extent that of Mathur, the others didn't really unleash their demonic sides. It was more circumstantial than a different side to their lives. Even though KC has done most of the killing in the movie, it wasn't because of his demonic side... I wish they had explored that idea more in depth rather than using that so superficially and making the events more graphic to gloss over that fact.

Overall though, I liked the movie. I remember cringing and closing my eyes at some points wishing I could close my ears as well. You really need to have the stomach to withstand this movie. But kudos to the director and the producer for making such a bold film. If you can, watch it at least once.

Comments

Radha said…
I couldn't sit through Love Sex Dhoka...so I'm not even going to attempt this! It was too graphic & I had nightmares of the couple getting axed for weeks!!! :(
~ a said…
Yeah that scene in LSD about those two getting axed was too graphic. I was hiding behind my friend trying to shut out the sounds!

But Shaitan isn't that bad. It is equally graphic, and does gross you at points but the graphic parts are not as prolonged.
Sherry said…
you found this graphic?! Dont even dare to watch Paanch then =)

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