Home > Movies > Shaitan – A visual treat

Shaitan – A visual treat

It’s been more than 1 year since I made the first post on my blog (1 year and 3 days to be precise) and it seems quite apt that I post a blog now, to celebrate an anniversary, sort of 😛 . So here I am – beginning to blog about the latest bollywood movie I watched. The movie comes from Anurag Kashyap (one of my favorite movie makers)’s stable, though directed by Bejoy Nambiar. But if you are a true Kashyap fan and if you are watching closely, you would notice that the movie is a tribute to the producer himself. All of that later.

First of all, full credit to the director – writer team for telling a story which is very much plausible in the current setup where we read about ‘youngsters going unruly and harming themselves and others’ almost daily in the newspapers. The fast-paced movie starts off on a very strange note with Amy (KALKI KOECHLIN) shown as a mentally disturbed character. Soon, the audience is introduced to the each and every member of the gang – KC (Gulshan Devaiya – acted in Dum Maaro Dum), Dash (Shiv Pandit of FIR, SAB TV fame), Zubin (Neil Bhoopalam seen him as VJ on Channel V) and Tanya (Kirti Kulhari – seen her in many ads) as the titles roll and we get to listen to the song – Bali, the sound of Shaitan (one of the many high points in the film).

The initial part of the film has a number of humorous moments as the group has a lot of fun and is at its very best trying to impress the new member in the gang.  Also I must admit there are lots of profanities and a number of jokes are not suitable to the ‘family audience’. But then again, the kind of language used was very much appropriate when you take into account the film’s characters and also the target audience. Just before the interval, the group is involved in an accident and the rest of the movie is about how the group gets deeper and deeper into trouble as one of the group members holds the whole group at ransom making decisions based on his whims and fancies.

The film also narrates the story of Arvind Mathur (Rajeev Khandelwal) who is a righteous cop and is having a troubled domestic life. He is assigned the group’s case – he does it pretty well – not without a few causalities, though and eventually the film reaches its logical ending. Throughout the film, the audience is made to realize how a person when pushed to the corner starts showing his negative colors and would hurt even the ones he cares for.

Acting department – Out of the 5 teenagers, I especially liked Shiv Pandit’s performance. Neil Bhoopalam also gave a controlled performance – sometimes mischievous and sometimes caring and understanding. Kirti Kulhari’s acting was decent for a debutant. Gulshan Devaiyaa and Kalki both looked a bit over-the-top. Rajeev Khandelwal and Pawan Malhotra have also put up a decent performance.

Story and screenplay- by Megha Ramaswamy and the director Bejoy Nambiar himself. The story is well told and the ‘cat and mouse’ game between the police and the group is shown in such a manner that the audience does not lose track of any of the parallel running tracks and the story unfolds without ‘spilling any beans’. And yes, the audience would cheekily admire the director’s gumption to show funny episodes even when the movie has supposedly taken a serious turn just after the accident. The only part that disappointed was that Kalki’s character was not at all original and was inspired by ‘The Ring’ (Making black crayon sketches) and ‘The Black Swan’ (repetitive scratching of skin when tensed).

Music and background score have been really good. Ranjit Bhanot (Also background score), Prashant Pillai and Amar Mohile are the music -makers. Many of the songs standalone, i.e. in the music album of the film don’t make much of an impact. But yes, on screen, when bits and portions of the song are played more as background score – you really love them. Apart from Bali, another song that stands out is ‘Khoya Khoya Chaand’. Also the ‘Pintya’ song kind of help you get into the Mumbai spirit during ‘Dahi Handi’.

Now the hero of the film – Camera work and cinematography. Kudos to cinematographer ‘Madhi’. The film would impress the audience even if there had been not much of a story simply because of the sheer beautiful camera-work. Some of it is just smart camera trick (but you still wonder how the scene was canned). For e.g. the scene where the person is seen falling from the 1st floor landing on the ground all in a single shot and also the one in which the TV is broken on the person’s head. Apart from the trick scenes, the slo-mo during the ‘Khoya Khoya Chaand’ and the scene where Kalki hits the water and when Gulshan Devaiyya breaks a bottle on a person’s head are all treat to the eyes.

And lastly, as I was saying the film is a tribute to Anurag Kashyap –

1)      The story line itself. So what if ‘Paanch’ could not be released. The story line of this one is very much similar to Paanch  and yes, more contextual and up-to-date.

2)      Classy and unprecedented camera work which could be matched by Kashyap’s Dev D alone (remember the scene where Abhay Deol dips his head in water and blood comes out of his nose?)

3)      The small episode starring Rajat Barmecha (of Udaan fame) where he kidnaps his younger brother really tickles your funny bone reminds you of a similar one in ‘No Smoking’. The narration during the scene where Kalki is kidnapped is also interesting and again reminds you of ‘No Smoking’.

4)       The chasing sequence when the rogue cop ‘Malvankar’ is being chased is something we have already seen in Black Friday giving us a glimpse of Mumbai’s slums and all that.

With that, I shall end my post here. Looking forward to more such ‘Kashyap’ movies. Oh Yes, ‘That Girl in Yellow Boots’ is somewhere round the corner.

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  1. Pratik Prakash
    June 20, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Nice review. I have to say, that while the concept was original(at least for a hindi film), I found the execution sadly lacking. I just felt that while the film was good, it could have been so much more. I agree, Koechlin’s character was totally cliche and over the top, and that drawing thing was from the Ring, but I think the scratching itself was because she didnt have drugs or something(dunno if that was the case with Black Swan, havent seen the movie).

    Overall, I think my biggest takeaway from this movie was that I need to see Gulaal and Dev D, since they’re apparently among the best of Kashyap’s films 😉 And I truly hope Koechlin gives a better performance in Yellow Boots, will prolly watch that in theatres! 🙂

  2. Sanjay
    June 20, 2011 at 10:01 am

    congrats on the “anniversary” bro..nice review..totally agree with the “hero of the film” title..
    dont agree with a few things though-
    1) kalki koechlin’s acting was no doubt OTT, but the character itself wasn’t neccesarily influenced by them. It might have been, but it might just as well have been indigenously thought. the girl in the ring wasn’t suffering from any mental disorder but influenced by ghost. moreover charcoal sketching is an art in its own form and i thought the sketches were really good…the psychological caveat in her sketching was the subject, not the sketching itself. As for the scratching, its a known symptom of psychologican stress and mental disturbance. Its unfair to call any movie character suffering from schizophrenia to be inspired from the beautiful mind, right? This is a similar comparison, IMO.
    2) you say the group is forced to act on one person’s decisions. I don’t think that was really the case. In fact I loved the way how the story doesn’t really give us any background on that. I m not sure whether you are referring to KC’s character or Dash’s character. If its the latter, as suspected by various members of the group in different parts of the climax, I think he is reasonable justified and no evil intentions are ever openly depicted. He might just have been acting in the interest of the group(and a bit of self-defense in the end) or could have been evil[manipulating through the Bharmecha story etc] . Love the way how its left open-ended.
    In fact the only complain I have from the movie is why they tried to justify Kalki’s character’s issues due to childhood incidents, when all the remaining characters are shown to be flawed without trying to justify how/why they became what they became.

    • June 21, 2011 at 12:46 am

      1) Agreed. Lets give them the benefit of the doubt. Thecharacter might be original even though how she reacts is something we have seen earlier.
      2) Yes, i was referring to Dash’s character and i still feel he was taking decisions without consulting anyone and in a way was forcing his decisions on them. He never looked reasonable when others even offered their opinions though i must say they were giving quite dumb solutions(maybe , just maybe the others too were being too lazy to think on their own). Here again as you correctly mentioned – he could have either had or no had evil intentions. I felt the former – the others were simply suspecting him.

  3. Sanjay
    June 22, 2011 at 9:56 am

    When you consider Dash’s reactions to opposition from the others keep in mind he wasn’t like the others. He did not have an easy way out. He was from a poor background so unlike others the media frenzy would have impacted him the most and probably would not have allowed him to return to his life. More importantly, the first time he catches the news update on tv, the media is already suspecting him of being the brains behind the “kidnapping” and with part of the group also suspecting him, he was bound to get unreasonable, insecure, defensive(and hence overly aggressive).
    That’s just my thought about it.
    As I mentioned before he might have been malicious from the start, but I think the story left sufficient room for doubt.

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