Two stars: extra star goes to Amitabh Bachchan
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Rana Duggabatti, Vijay Raaz, Anjaani Sukhani and Madhu Shalini
RGV badly needs a break…I am not being mean to the maverick director and he’s one of the few intelligent and technically proficient filmmaker for whom I have lotsa respect. But, after watching Department today, I am like what’s the fuck is wrong with Ramgopal Varma.There is nothing new in Department. Fine, it’s about the cops taking the mafia but it’s the same tried-and-tested formula. RGV, haven’t you given it in brilliant flicks like SHIVA, SATYA, SARKAR, SARKAR RAJ and COMPANY, just to name a few. In a shot, the script is the biggest failure and not to mention experimenting with the camera. It gets too jerky at times and fails to focus on the different characters. Only, the presence of Amitabh Bachchan, in his coarse and rugged body language manages to save the day. He brings the movie alive every time he appears on-screen. Only Bachchan’s electrifying presence can rise above the script. He has done it in the past and he repeated his feat in Department.
Crime is at a high notch in Mumbai and the home ministry decides to create a new Department within the ranks of the police to wipe off the mafia since operating within the force, they will never be able to do so. Department is headed by Sanjay Dutt who calls Rana Duggabatti. They have only one motive, an eye for an eye. Enter, Sarjey Rao Gaikwad, a gangster-turned-politician (Amitabh Bachchan), the most dangerous and machiavellian’s mind.
Amitabh Bachchan with his one-liner is amazingly competent and instill fear in an other wise non-sensical movie. Credit goes to him for rising above the mediocre script, tedious narrative and jerky camera movement. Whether mouthing the mein legally illegal kaam karta hoon or illegally legal kaam, enlightment or Sheila mix and Sheila remix, he brings a gush of fresh air in the movie. Sanjay Dutt is competent, so is Rana Duggabatti who is an actor to stay. Vijay Raaz is irritating so is Abhimanyu Singh and his babe Madhu Shalini, though she shines at times.
RGV is someone who has successfully experimented with his camera techniques. However, the camera’s jerky movements is too much for the viewers as it doesn’t focus on the characters or the object. It moves too much at a fast pace and there is no standstill shot, which is important for such kind of movies. In short, it jumps from one spot to another. It looks like a digicam was used to shot the main portions of the movie. Too much experimentation can kill the soul of the movie and that is what exactly happened to Department. Moreover, the high-octane action sequences doesn’t fit in and it’s case of copy and paste from some earlier scripts. Though, the action sequence between Dutt and Duggabatti, specially, the climax has been well executed. One good thing: Nathalie Kaur in the item song Dan Dan Cheeni scorches the screen.
Where has the marvelous close up shots of Amitabh Bachchan in Sarkar gone? Simply this time, the digi-cam shots has gone for a toss and it makes one dizzy and leaves the viewer confused as one can easily ask whether the low and high angle shots-a cup of tea, the legs of a woman-are not too much experimental to an irritating level. A case of disjointed script meeting dizzy shots. Skip this one and better watch Sarkar, Rangeela and Raakhta Charitra on DvD.
Book your holiday package fast, Ramu and I suggest going to Bali or Manali for a break and come back inspired and get real fast. I’m sure you will be back to your Rangeela, Satya and Sarkar days.