Saturday, May 19, 2012

Department is an outrageously weak product

Ram Gopal Varma's Department. Rana Daggubati, Sanjay Dutt and Amitabh Bachchan, a weird mix of actors, but all of them could fit well into the RGV scheme of movies easily. RGV is a maniac on Twitter and everyone detests him for his absurdity in tweets. However, with movies, he has shared a different kind of relationship. The guy has teetered along his journey in cinema and made some amazing movies like Satya, Company and also many inglorious products like Naach, Gayab and the list goes on. My only cinema literate friend who I quote in my reviews describes RGV as a sine curve, where unpredictability is the order of every Friday. Yes, he is that precariously crotchety. When the first trailer of Department came out, I have to admit it was pretty nicely done despite being outrageously tripe. If not outrightly gushed about it, I was still looking forward to it. Unfortunately, like a lot of other promos, the movie doesnt turns to be moronically mundane and shoddily done. Such a waste!

Department is scripted by Nilesh Girkar and directed by RGV but has almost everything going against it and leaves you painfully scowling. Department is a near-insufferable, clumsy kitschy party that combines cringe inducing camerawork with slack storytelling. The story takes the tried and tested route of making up a specialist police department to fight the underworld but when a film has nothing to offer besides clich├ęd characters and a scrubby collection of outdated shootouts and plot twists that we've seen a dozen times before in better movies, it’s easy to be a bit annoyed. The film tumbles on the big screen with weak writing, annoying camera work and mildly nauseating dialogues. Its tedious to sit through the first half, and while the proceedings pick up some speed during the second half its hardly likeable. A day before its release, RGV tweeted, "A new story can fail but a new techniques never fails." This is the philosophy that the films follows too, except that the technique fails too. There is so much of uncalled focus on the technique that the mayhem in the script doesnt get any attention. It just limps along with the smarmy fingerprints of Bachchan's performance smudging up the imagery of crap. Typical to some other RGV products, the film ends on an incomplete note leaving you musing over the ultimate arch of the plot or its characters. You could expect such a fare to get ludicrous but RGV leaves no scope for that too, being continuously obsessed with vomiting out almost the same center plots. A worthless story told in numbing images, the film merrily dances on the line between the completely unpleasant and the utterly distasteful. I barely have a hard time watching any movie but this one is largely obtuse. I strongly believe that RGV is no more a sine curve, he is devolving into an incomprehensible mess that cant even handle straight scenes.

Before we delve into any other technical aspects of Department, the cinematography mulls me for a special mention. Done by 'FXS Works' team, this camerawork plays out like an experiment of an amateur. RGV could well be defiantly thinking that he is creating a new kind of cinema using the Canon 5D like he did in Department but Sir, this grotesque mugging doesnt work out even one bit. One cant help but berate the asinine camerawork done here. In one scene, the camera is fixed on the striker of a carom board as the characters are plotting their next turgid move. 15 minutes into the movie and you would feel like jamming a pen into your ears due to the obnoxious movements of the camera, if not the contrivances of the plot or the ugly dialogues. Music by Bappi Lahiri and Dharam-Sandeep is strictly okay and only adds to interfering the screenplay at suggested intervals. The song 'Cheeni' which has been the fulcrum of publicity for Department, RGV and Nathalia Kaur merely acts as a callous intruder in the proceedings of the film, apart from being ineffably distasteful. You would rather just hear the song on your iPod because I dont think Nathalia really knows what she has been tricked into, oh well! Editing by Vinay Abhijit is craggy but he couldnt have done much with what he was given apart from massaging the throbbing temples on his head. Dialogues are barely confounding or clap worthy while they try their best to shoot out one liners every now and then, only to fall flat or look as if a high schooler wrote them. Sound mixing and editing wriggles along from good in some scenes to half baked in most other scenes. Background score is a rehash of all RGV movies.

Amitabh Bachchan provides the few sparks in Department due to his emphatic portrayal of a gangster turned politician but his part is still a trifle overplayed. The usually trustworthy Vijay Raaz looks completely embarrassed to be present on the sets and does not get the scope to perform upto his abilities. Abhimanyu Singh, one of the immensely talented actors, is saddled with a scrawny role that completely eliminates his chances of doing anything with it. Sanjay Dutt follows his usual routine of sleepwalking through roles, although grave closeups of his face at numerous instances make it completely possible for you to fall for the seductive charms of the nearest exit door. Rana Daggubati tries to flex his virile muscular body in every scene that RGV hasnt put the camera in his face, not to mention that what he does is far from acting. Both of the wifes, Anjana Sukhani (Rana's wife) and Lakshmi Manchu (Dutt's wife) are perennially annoying and peter eventually. Another worthy mention for Madhu Shalini who portrays Abhimanyu's girlfriend. As the film unspools, you realize that she practically speaks the same dialogues in every scene and delivers them with similar inability.

Department is unoriginal but could work as a minor escapade for Bachchan and Dutt fans, or maybe the fools lured in by Nathalia's private parts, which are being thrusted onto your face all day in TV promos. This is pretentious film-making where one believes that technique can overpower the prestidigitation of the script. It has taken a poor start at the box office due to lack of any buzz around it, and I dont expect any remarkable change in its collections over the next few days. Even when the second half tries to save some ass for the movie, you cant help being disappointed at the sheer hackneyed experience. I think the highlight of the whole movie was watching the trailer of Gangs of Wasseypur in the beginning. Though I vehemently opposed the camera work in Department, here is an extra half star rating to RGV for actually trying to do it!

Rating - 1/5

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