An opening rider in Raman Raghav 2.0 establishes the film’s connect with the infamous serial killer of the 60s Mumbai: Raman Raghav, who had left a trail of 41 odd murders behind him. Indeed the film is about a contemporary copycat killer. But then it is not just about the new age Ramanna either.
The film is not about how life treats human beings – it is pure Satan in the form of humans – our protagonists take sadistic pleasure out of hurting others brutally. Kashyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0 traces the life of a fictional psychotic killer Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who is inspired by Raghav. He calls himself Sindhi Dalwai and finds a partner in Raghavan (Vicky Kaushal), a druggie cop who is more of a devil than he knows. Through eight chapters (Quentin Tarantino style) – Locked Man, The Sister, The Policeman, The Hunter, The Hunted, The Son, The Fallen and Soulmates – Kashyap builds his characters to a tall dark shadow that scares us out of our wits.
The pivot of the film is the portrait of the serial killer. The creature of Mumbai mythology and folklore is brought alive with added shades of the dark and the menacing in this brand new avatar. Glowing cat eyes, a scar running down his forehead, at times wearing his own sister’s earrings, and moving around with an iron car-jack in hand, scouting furtively for victims, hiding in slush and rising up nonchalantly from it plastered with muck. Nawaz is brilliantly frantic and frenzied as the cold hearted, demented, voyeuristic pervert.
Nawaz packs in such a brute force in his lean frame and mean presence that everyone else gets automatically shoved to the periphery. But, despite Nawaz’s overpowering presence Vicky Kaushal stands in good stead as a reckless, trigger happy, drug-addled cop keeling dangerously close to Ramanna’s side of darkness.
This is no Bollywood-style revenge or angry man plot, it is just pure sadism. Ramanna is purest in his cruelty, and juxtaposed with Raghavan’s uncontrolled violence, he makes the film spine-chilling.
Newsd gives the film 3.5/5.