Before I get started with the review, lets get one thing clear. Contrary to public opinion, this is NOT Anurag Kashyap's Shaitan. This is debutant Bejoy Nambiar's Shaitan (remember AK is the producer). So Bejoy deserves a lion's share of the appreciation that the movie is receiving.(I appreciate AK saying the same in an interview on one of the news channels)
Having said that, its hard to leave out the "Anurag Kashyap" factor out of the picture. People who have watched Dev D, Black Friday or Paanch would know what AK brings to the table. In the same way, Shaitan too has little chunks of AK's charisma sprinkled over the script that works like magic, for most of the movie.
Shiv Pandit - Dash
Kalki Koechlin - Amy
Neil Bhopalam - Zubin
Gulshan Devaiah - KC
Kirti Kulhari - Tanya
Rajeev Khandelwal - Inspector Mathur
What its all about:
Dash - the restaurant worker cum drug peddler,
Zubin - the computer geek,
KC - the guy who's blowing up his dad's money at the brink of treading an unwanted career path,
Tanya - the fashion model cum actress.
The thing that holds these four beings together. Cocaine.
Amy, the daughter of an NRI architect who has moved into Mumbai (Rajat Kapoor) is often tormented by disturbing memories of her mother. After meeting KC at a party, Amy is introduced to rest of the gang, and its theme of mutual trust, a healthy disregard for the rules and of course, Cocaine. The gang together has plenty of fun living their lives in a rush, be it getting high on joints, bar brawls, robbing a medical shop in of cough syrup (alcohol substitute) or racing around the night roads of the city in a giant Hummer. It is the combination of these that leads them into a life changing incident, when KC accidentally runs over some people while driving recklessly. To cover up the mess, they try to work out a deal with corrupt cop Malwankar (Raj Kumar Yadav). When Malwankar demands a hefty amount, the gang decides to fake Amy's kidnap to get the money from her father. What follows is a series of incidents that only worsen the matter for them. On the other hand, Inspector Mathur, a total bad-ass cop whose anger has cost him more than his job, is given an oppurtunity to reclaim some of his lost pride by offering him to get to the bottom of this case. As the group tries to wriggle its way out of this trouble, Mathur tries to connect the dots laid down by the various events. Eventually, the theme of the gang is what gets in the way of each individual and his/her dark side. Which one trumps, is to watch and know.
Hits and Misses:
Groovy background score, brilliant one-liners, some good performances from Rajiv Khandelwal, Gulshan Devaiah and Kalki all contribute greatly to the movie's intent. Raj Kumar Yadav deserves a special mention as well for his role as the corrupt cop. Kalki's role of the mentally disturbed girl is portrayed with equal care. The movie has some terrific sequences where the viewer gets sucked into the character. The scene where KC beats up a guy for flirting with Tanya, or the one where KC is driving the Hummer in an unannounced race against an Audi, there is a feeling of an adrenaline rush. A scene or two where a slap lands on an arguing person's cheek, if you are too engrossed, will make you jump. Every time Rajiv Khandelwal appears on the screen, his anger is almost felt around us. With nerves on forehead and temple rising, teeth clenching, it is as if something somewhere is going to snap real soon. One scene that the viewer will remember for a very long time is where Rajiv Khandelwal kicks an auto rickshaw guy who refuses to go where he wants him to. Rajat Barmecha makes a cameo appearance as Shomu, the inspiration behind the kidnap idea.
While the first half of the movie is very well paced, the second half loses grip on the story as the characters begin to fade out of action and script begins to get a little predictable. In the end, it isn't hard to guess how the story ends, but is rather a curious wait to see how it all unfolds.
Debutant Director Bejoy Nambiar has done a commendable job with Shaitan, a movie that is sure to attract the youth of today, not only because of the story, but because of their resemblance with the characters' qualities. While Shaitan doesn't tick all the checkboxes in a viewer's wishlist, it is a must watch for everyone who prefer a change from the regular Bollywood candy floss.