Shoot at sight. Point blank. In different ways that`s exactly what Ram Gopal Varma (RGV) and his characters do in Department.
While his cop heroes Sanjay Dutt, Rana Daggubati and their hazily sketched compatriots (one of whom looks like Deepak Tijori) go on a cleansing rampage against socio-paths, RGV goes on his own trip, shooting characters at angles you`ve never seen them being shot. They don`t always look fetching with their stained teeth and dirty nails showing up in embarrassing close-ups. So, who said life in cinema is about postcard pictures?
Welcome to RGV`s world of muck and mayhem.
The one definite thing that must be said about RGV is that his exploration of the nexus between the law and the underworld is ceaselessly seeking new modes of storytelling.
Department is one breathless surge of aggression and violence. Shot with cameras that capture the actors at their quirkiest and most candid, the film is not for those who think cinema is all about style. RGV left his stylish days behind in Rangeela and Company.
Repeatedly and mercilessly RGV dismantles all conventions of pretty storytelling and aims for the jugular. The camera angles are often much too casual to be considered `cinematic`. But breaking rules is a given in RGV`s cinema. He breaks them in Department in a noisy rush of agitated images that go well with the edgy fidgety characters.
Not all the characters work. Vijay Raaz as a whiny dhoti-clad gangster and debutant Madhu Malini as a tartish sharp-shooter are a scream. The talented Abhimanyu Singh has a tough time trying to maintain an equilibrium between the two unintentionally comical evil doers. The dialogues these gangsters exchange try so hard to be real they end up being howlers. It`s like eavesdropping on a conversation between two pathologists.
The camera, manned by no official Director Of Photography (and it shows), goes through the character`s legs, into their nostrils, over their armpits…in this film about cops who do their own thing.
Department is a brutal film. There`s no room here for emotions. Even when Sanjay Dutt playing a senior cop goes home his wife, played by Laxmi Manchu, speaking in a strangely loud tone, he talks to her in unsentimental tones. There`s more feeling in the two cops, Sanjay and Rana`s buddy-buddy talk, in the line of duty.
There`s a long history in cinema of cops striking a rapport on the beat. Sanjay and Rana are no Danny Glover and Mel Gibson. But then this is no Lethal Weapon.
The action here is a strange mix of street aggression and stylized stunts. While scenes of Rana chasing goons through claustrophobic crowded areas of Mumbai are vintage Varma, the climactic fist-to-fist between Rana and Sanjay proves a battle of unequal titans. One of the two actors being just too agile for the other.
What grabs your attention in this oft-told tale of the cops resorting to extra-constitutional means to `cleanse` the city is the frenetic pacing. The characters are constantly on the move.
Even Amitabh Bachchan, while taking sardonic jibes at a `system` that is corroded, is seen restlessly circling Sanjay or Rana, depending on which of the two the wily wizened politicians is provoked into action.
Not surprisingly Amitabh`s netagiri provides the liveliest interludes in the proceedings. He seems to behaving the most fun even when saddled with dialogues that must have sounded far funnier on paper than they do in their delivery. Among the rest of the cast, Rana with his restrained ruggedness stands tall.
What Department delivers is yet another RGV product that takes Hindi cinema`s crime genre away from conventional storytelling. There are no punctuations except exclamation marks, no speed-breakers except songs, which are terribly screechy and grating with Nathalia Kaur`s item number hitting rock-bottom, and no way out for these restless law-enforcers than to take the law in their own hands.
The world of Department is anarchic, destructive and apocalyptic. The narrative format imposed on the world of gangsterism is freewheeling almost chaotic. Violence and death are written into the DNA of the characters.
Department tells a virile story with no patience for sappy humbug. It`s not meant for those who think lovers laughing their way into death, as they did in Ishaqzaade, are the last words in ruinous relationships. In Department, the characters share a far more intimate bonding with their guns than with their friends
The trailers of "Department" are already in theatres and the promotional clippings are ready to be aired on the small screen.Read More'Department' not based on Mumbai cops: RGV
Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has denied reports saying his forthcoming film "Department" is based on the real-life characters of the Mumbai police.Read More
`Department` focuses on conflict of interest in police department (IANS Preview)
in his films the dark underbelly of the underworld is what Ram Gopal Varma is
known for. After making underworld dramas, the filmmaker puts the spotlight on
the dark secrets of the police department through his film
Department, releasing Friday.
Department focuses on a group of encounter specialists working with the Mumbai Police force and their different perspective towards the underworld.
Concerned about the underworld`s increasing terror and other criminal activities, the top cops along with the home secretary and the home minister hold a secret meeting and decide to form a special unit called - The Department.
The team includes inspector Mahadev Bhosle (Sanjay Dutt), leader of the encounter squad, and Shivnarayan (Rana Daggubati), an encounter specialist. Both the cops have different ways of dealing with the gangsters.
While Shivnarayan follows principles and ethics, Bhosle is completely opposite. The film shows conflicts of interest and struggle for power among the cops.
Apart from Sanjay and Rana, the film also features megastar Amitabh Bachchan as gangster-turned-politician Sarjerao Gaikwad. Anjana Sukhani, Vijay Raaz, Abhimayu Singh and Lakshmi Manchu form the rest of the cast.
The film has been extensively shot with the 5D and 7D cameras, and the filmmaker fondly calls it rogue filmmaking.
Department is a hard hitting action drama and I wanted to apply a completely new language of cinema in terms of both its camera work and editing, said Varma.
The technology and methodology I adopted in the course of filming `Department` is what I would call `rogue filmmaking`. Department has not been shot with canon 5D alone... it`s just one of the 7 types of cameras used.
It`s been shot in multiple formats with 5D, 7D Lumix Gopro Sony Nx5 and 60D... each camera was used for its own uniqueness in capturing a shot, he added. Even Sanjay admits he was amazed to see the minute details that the camera has captured.
Varma`s films are incomplete without a raunchy number and this time he has roped in Brazilian model of Indian descent Nathalia Kaur to perform on the song Dan dan Cheeni, which, he says, is a tribute to Tamil superstar Rajinikanth. The song was earlier offered to Sunny Leone, but she couldn`t do it.
A new version of Amitabh`s iconic song Thodi si jo pee li hai from 1982 release Namak Halal has been used. In this number, Sanjay shakes a leg with the megastar.
Also Varma`s films are incomplete without controversy. Here too screen-play writer Danish Raza filed a police complaint against the director for allegedly not paying him his dues for the film.