Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) once heard a story of a serial killer named Raman Raghav who went on a killing frenzy in early 60s, impressed by the Real Raman, the modern ‘Raman’ embarks on a search to find his own Raghav, his Soul Mate to get his “Mukti” or Redemption/Salvation.
If there would be one word to describe Anurag Kashyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0, it would be disturbing. The glorified raw violence and struggle in a psychopath’s world disturbs you to give chills down your spine and not to spoil it, but watching Raman in a motorcycle Helmet blurred and running towards the camera with metal rod trailing behind can give you shudders.
Anurag Kashyap has always served his platter raw and cold(Gulaal), with blood dripping from it and Raman raghav 2.0 is no different. Directing in dark, grim and gritty part of Mumbai and shooting in real location he captures the underbelly of Mumbai brilliantly especially in the chase scene inside the slums of the city. Kashyap captures the screen in shades of green and blue gratifying the neon, which gives the thriller an indie look. Anurag Kashyap’s movies are propelled by gore and well written dialogues (See: Udaan) and this movie also has a few dialogues which will stay with you long after witnessing it.
The story is narrated in episodic form, comprising of 8 different chapters. Skipping narration from one view point to other, the story wants more than average attention. And if you are ready to provide that attention, Raman Raghav 2.0 will satisfy your instinct. If you are going for a light entertainer then please do not enter the theater. The story follows Ramanna a serial killer and his strange obsession with police officer Raghav (Vicky Kaushal) and how their lives cross.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Raman reminds me of Kevin Spacey’s John Doe in Se7en (1995), the way he ruthlessly murders his victims without any remorse and then surrenders to police himself two times. Just like John Doe surrenders to finish his masterpiece in Se7en and thus has last laugh. The way Raman explains his motive of killing, he is clearly in his most stable state at that instant, just like Kevin Spacey explains his motives in the car. Nawazuddin although picks up the character and propels it in a direction that is very disturbing yet real. No wonder he received a standing ovation in Cannes Film Festival , he deserved it.
Vicky Kaushal another actor who received standing Ovation in Cannes film festival for his acting in Masaan last year plays a character in conflict, he is the raghav for our Raman, police officer in profession but a misogynist in heart. He is heartless, drug addict who hates his father more than anything. In a few scenes, Raghav crosses a line of disturbing to utter horror and even diminishes the serial killer.
The surprise though is Amruta Subhash, her acting as Raman’s sister is exceptional, her struggle and emotions can be felt through her expressions. When she breaks down in front of her husband the reality hits you of their past. And when in state of distress and turmoil she begs of him to commit incest, it disturbed me more than any other scene of the movie.
As Raman (Nawazuddin) explains why he kill people, to his lover Raghav, he says, “People kill all over the world, some travel to Syria, some don’t even need to travel. People kill behind the veil of money, greed and Religion, I kill people because i want to kill” In a twisted way, the dialogue gives a strong message, that killers across the world kill because they want to, they enjoy it. Religion, sex and Caste are just excuses to justify the true desire .
In the end Raman Raghav is not for faint hearted, with exceptional acting and grim direction it is disturbing and excellent psychological thriller.