Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Trailer length: 3 minutes 22 seconds
Release date: June 24, 2016
Psychopaths, in a sense, are a perfect critique of our obsession with reason. And psychopathic serial killers are perhaps the most confounding. Bred on detective stories, our natural instincts always force us to ask ‘why’ when we encounter a corpse. Unfortunately, there are hardly any answers to be found when faced with the bloodied handiwork of a crazed maniac. There is just one disturbing afterthought you’re inevitably left with – “I could have been that victim”. No dark side seems darker.
The trailer for Anurag Kashyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0 puts you on the edge of your seat within seconds. Playing Ramanna, Nawazuddin Siddiqui compares himself to a ‘lomri’ (fox). Speaking to a police officer, he says his eyes spark up at night. We see him rattle the tiles of a sidewalk with an iron road. The menace seems palpable. Ramanna looks at a young boy he has tied up and gagged. He calls the child ‘Pocket’, and here is how he explains the christening – “When they ask why did I kill you, I’ll say I picked a pocket.” Ramanna tells the cop that God has given him a gift. He can use his imagination to conjure anything. Strangely, the same can be said of Siddiqui too. He can be anyone.
Ramanna compares the roads he walks on to a chessboard. He admits to playing a game. He only walks on black paint, he says tellingly. Ramanna’s opponent in this film, it soon becomes clear, is a police official named Raghavan (Vicky Kaushal). Raghavan, though, is far from white. He snorts cocaine and boasts that he’ll put anything in his mouth, nose or veins. He likes his gun. He uses it to get what he wants. He chases Ramanna, but Ramanna is already stalking him. He tells Raghavan he knows him more than he knows himself. When he refers to himself as God’s CCTV camera, the delusion seems lethal.
Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet suffered from an excess of style. Its opulent periodicity seemed at odds with the director’s mostly gritty and realistic filmography. With Raman Raghav 2.0, Kashyap seems to be taking us back to a familiar universe which has been populated by films like Black Friday, Gangs of Wasseypur and Ugly. The atmosphere is instantly relatable and the film’s characters, like pawns on that chessboard, again seem disconcertingly dispensable. In a battle between madness and mayhem, it’s hard to pick a side, and Siddiqui and Kaushal portray a grey that’s equally matched.
The trailer of the film begins with Ramanna saying that he was born a ‘nishachar’. The subtitles translate the word as ‘nightcrawler’. It is hard not to think of Jake Gyllenhaal 2014 film of the same name. Like Ramanna, the film’s protagonist Louis Bloom is shifty, blood-curling and creepy. He is not someone you’d want meet in a dark alley. But what makes Raman Raghav even more eerie is its partial grounding in fact. A serial killer called Raman Raghav indeed existed. He killed 40 people between 1966 and 1968. So, in the end, you look at this trailer and tremble. It could have been you.