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It’S been called the “democratization” of film-making by the RGV’s publicity machine ahead of the release of Department.

Written by Shalini Langer | New Delhi |
May 18, 2012 6:19:23 pm

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan,Sanjay Dutt,Rana Daggubati,Anjana Sukhani,Madhu Shalini,Deepak Tijori

Director: Ram Gopal Varma

Indian Express Ratings:*

IT’S been called the “democratization” of film-making by the RGV’s publicity machine ahead of the release of Department. The “democratization” entailing the use of a series of cameras together for a scene,so that the actors don’t just talk into the one camera they know is on them,“but have to let their acting skills do the talking”.

Interesting idea that,if only his actors had something to talk about,and he something to say. Varma returns to his favourite theme of underworld and cops,mixes in bits of Ab Tak Chappan,a dash of Sarkar,and camera angles focused more on gun barrels than the guy holding the weapon to present a bloody pot-pourri that has plenty in way of death — from heads being banged so hard against a wall so as to make a depression in it,to people being stomped under feet,to kids being thrown off balconies — and little in way of a story. The broad outline joining those deaths together is a police department that specializes in encounters and is full of corrupt cops who sometimes,but sometimes,debate the thin line between right and wrong.

Men do the banging and women the beckoning (and you can take that as you will). The much-talked-about Nathalia Kaur’s item number has cronies clawing at the tiniest briefs she is thrusting towards the screen,while south star Madhu Shalini does everything from lip biting and throat licking to frolicking in a bathtub,to get to be seen as a “serious gangster”.

If her carefully placed bindi artwork is a distraction,consider yourself lucky. For you may have found some relief in this buddy cop/Bonnie & Clyde/Bachchan on a trip mish-mash.

If it’s been hard to see any trace of the old RGV in the new RGV,this film has the latter shamelessly tapping into the few good things Mr Varma once made. Dagubatti should go far,if he ever gets out of RGV films,and Bachchan Sr can still act everyone under the table,be it playing good bad or bad good. Dutt has got so used to sleepwalking through his roles he doesn’t even bother waking up fully.

“Soch samajh ke ki gayi galti,galti nahin hoti,” Dutt’s Mahadev Bhosale,the leader of the encounter department,says. So what should we call Department here? Wait,isn’t there a word for it? ‘Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag’.

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