Anurag Kashyap’s Dark Drama: Raman Raghav 2.0

Writer-director Anurag Kashyap’s new thriller, Raman Raghav 2.0 is out starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal. The movie is set in modern day Mumbai. The story follows the life of a serial killer Ramanna, who is inspired Raman Raghav. Raman Raghav was an infamous serial killer in Mumbai. This real-life serial killer confessed murdering forty one people with a metal rod when he was finally brought to justice in 1960s. He was initially sentenced to death but that later changed to life time of prison as his lawyer said that Raman was mentally ill to understand his motives of slaughtering were unreasonable and cruel.

The story is based on an antagonist Ramanna who goes around killing people with a car jack. He is also oddly obsessed with a young cop, Raghavan. Thinking that the cocaine addict detective is his doppelgänger he follows him around without his notice. Raghavan who is the supposed hero and the Ramanna the psychopath are the lead roles of this thriller. The movie tries to make a comparison between the 21st Century serial killer Raman and the young Mumbai cop Raghav who is trying to apprehend him. Two opposite poles and yet so similar. While it somewhat tries to show the evolution of Raman in his own way, it also shows the fall of the police officer into his own hell.

The movie show the fast moving crowd of Mumbai. Unlike Bombay Velvet, Kashyap doesn’t show Bombay in a glamorous tone in this movie. He shows the desperate and oblivious crowd of Mumbai trying to live the dream life. There is a lot of darkness and negativity in the movie that can be an acquired taste for the audience.

A thriller has usually has an overpowering negativity in it. It fascinates people and makes them flitch at the same time. It also has some trips of positivity for some relief. This helps in balancing the effect on the audience. Mostly we see that thrillers are a satirical battle of good and bad. It gives you a mixture of the worst case scenario and hope for betterment. A cocktail in a way, based on a hard bitter liquor, build up with some juice or soda for relief and easy digestion. But, Raman Raghav 2.0 has two antagonist like characters in it. Both these lead characters are related to similar criminal mess. The killings here are shocking, gruesome and hateful. But the characters have a unique fascination to them. You are torn between hating the character for their motives and admiring them for their mind works. It’s like downing neat alcohol. This movie has no relief of positivism, which makes the climax seem interesting. 

Siddique has done a phenomenal role as ‘psycho Raman’. Critics have glorified his work. He is shown with a deep scar across his forehead and eyes gleaming with insanity. He adapts the nature of the character well and presents the motives of the serial killer perfectly. He has successfully manages to create shivers down the spine. His exceptional performance as a demented serial killer is the main reason why this movie is a much watch. 

- Vrishti Nadkarni