Officer movie cast: Nagarjuna, Myra Sareen, Feroz Abbasi
Officer movie director: Ram Gopal Varma
Officer movie rating: 2 stars
Director Ram Gopal Varma’s sales pitch for his new film Officer was that ‘COPS were never this scary.’ And it rings true while watching this Nagarjuna starrer. What can be scarier than the thought of police officers turning into mafia killers, while they still have the guns and badges provided by the government? It is a nightmare, indeed. And this self-induced shock stops right there, as the film has not much chills and thrills to offer.
Mumbai’s decorated and most powerful police officer Narayan Pasari is a legend of sorts among the police as he is said to have wiped out the underworld from the face of Mumbai. But, there is more to this top cop. He is a criminal by nature, who abuses the office that he has sworn to protect. He is corrupt and stages encounters. One such fake encounter brings him under the scanner of Special Investigation Team (SIT) team led by Shivaji Rao (Nagarjuna), who happens to also be a fan of Pasari’s work.
In the first montage sequence, Shivaji is convinced his role-model Pasari is corrupt. The audience is denied any insight into the investigation led by Shivaji. What we get is Nagarjuna’s surprised look, followed by a shocked face, followed by a more surprised look and finally by a highly shocked face. We can only assume that Shivaji has managed to get some incriminating evidence against a top (criminal) cop, who did not know how to cover his track properly. Pasari has made it so deliciously convenient for a cop from Hyderabad to destroy his life’s work.
At the end of the second montage, he arrests Pasari. There is a celebration song. Shivaji and his team get drunk. And Shivaji wakes up to the dead body of a key witness lying at his doorstep. You will never know why the witness is key to the Pansari case. A vengeful Pasari comes out of jail and rejoins the police force. Pasari forms a new ‘Company’ (a fancy nickname for mafia gangs) of those he handpicked from the police department. And then he does that and then he does this. And later that happens and then it goes on.
It is very common for a filmmaker to skip ahead once or twice in a film and say ‘so here we are and what happens next is.’ It saves them a lot of time from explaining what may not significantly contribute to the story which is in focus. And RGV uses this ‘so-here-we-are’ technique so often that it feels like all he wanted to do is make Nagarjuna fight a grey-haired cop on the terrace of an under-construction building in Mumbai. Why does he have to hold back so much information from the audience throughout the film? What did he aspire to achieve by denying us the information that Shivaji holds?
RGV has dressed up this hollow thriller with fancy cinematography by Bharat Vyas N and Rahul Penumatsa. The camera work makes an audience feel like an unwelcome guest into the private conversations of other people. The camera is always hiding behind something and it pans up and down and sideways to give us a feel of peeking into someone’s business. The music of the film or the sound design offers us nothing special.
I really wish I could say that I really enjoyed RGV’s Officer. And that RGV has got his mojo back and he made an interesting cop vs cop film, which kept me on the edge-of-the-seat from the start to end. But, I just can’t. Having loved his previous work, it really unsettles to see a director of his stature make some unconvincing and amateur choices.
Ram Gopal Varma needs a reboot and the time is now.