Quickies: Raman Raghav 2.0 & Dhanak

Saw these two on a plane…

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Raman Raghav 2.0 is a psychological thriller film directed by Anurag Kashyap. It is based on the life of notorious serial killer Raman Raghav who operated in Mumbai during the mid-1960s. Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the role of Raman, a psychopathic serial killer, while Vicky Kaushal plays Raghav, a cop assigned to investigate the serial killings.

The movie title is a clever riff. At first I was thinking it is a sequel but the opening title cards reassured me it isn’t. It is about a demented dude who draws inspiration from an actual infamous psycho killer. The movie has a lot of missteps – the lack of a cat and mouse A game, flimsily drawn female characters and a cop whom I can’t sympathise with, but yet it is compulsively watchable for one reason – Nawazuddin Siddiqui. I couldn’t tear my eyes off him. How he delivers his lines with an undercurrent of cold menace and a heavy cloud of sinister underpinning is just perfect. He is a psychopath personified. God have mercy on your soul if you are trapped in the same room as him. I read in an article that he had to be hospitalised for dengue for a few days during the filming and all through the duration he was uttering lines from his demented character. I know I shouldn’t trust the internet, but I would like to believe this. What an intense performance!

Herein IMHO lies the main problem with the movie. Siddiqui’s Raman is so powerful and singular that it eclipses the entire movie. It doesn’t help that Kaushal’s Raghav hides behind sunglasses most of the time and his character so thinly drawn as compared to his counterpoint. I couldn’t finish the movie and had 10 minutes left when my plane landed. It is testament that the film had me in its pocket as all through my holiday I was hoping the movie is still available for selection as it had crossed into a new month. First thing I did when I sat down for my trip home was to see if the movie was still in rotation. A sly smile must have been plastered on my face as I finished the last ten minutes as the plane taxied to the runway. All the questions from the various plot threads have been answered satisfyingly.

3.5 / 5

 

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Believing actor and goodwill ambassador Shah Rukh Khan can help her brother get an operation to restore his sight, a 10-year old girl takes her blind 8-year old brother on a trek across Rajasthan in search of the superstar.

Dhanak‘s story couldn’t have been more cloying. It seldom transcends above a level that resonates with me. Along the long journey the brother and sister pair meets many nice people but most of them feel so fake and the situations so contrived. The worst has to be the American who says he wants to walk the earth to proclaim love and he sings it with a makeshift guitar. My hairs stood up on ends and my skin crawled. The story may be sweet and the two leads are up to the task, but IMHO it is let down by cheap maudlin.

3 / 5

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