By Hindustan Times
Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Actors: Surya, Vivek Oberoi
The only time the female lead in this film opens her mouth by way of ‘strategic advice’, her husband’s (Vivek Oberoi) lieutenant loses his life. The beautiful lady admits her rightful place is in the kitchen, says she is clueless about ways of the world, returns to cook forever, I guess. The comically self-aware misogyny of Ram Gopal Varma’s movies, I suppose, is the only thing that entertains us anymore.
At another moment, a police inspector taunts the other hero of this movie, Surya (ah, truly solid -- have to say!). This sambar superstar gives himself up to cops, because his wife has been held hostage. Why would you do this for a wife, the befuddled inspector asks, and then admits right after, “Biwi biwi mein fark hota hai (All wives aren’t the same!).” Guys in my theatre laugh along.
For most parts they probably wonder where to look as images rotate at 360 degrees, even in conversations, or casual shots of moving cars. The picture seeks earth-shaking drama with every hollow scene. The camera is either on slow motion, or appears charging right at you. The effect gets nauseating, beyond a point.
Both heroes or brutal villains, as it were, are after each other for roughly the same reasons. Ravi (Oberoi) had decimated Surya’s family, because they had destroyed his (the film’s first part released a few weeks ago. It's perfectly recapped here in 15 minutes flat).
It's Surya’s blood-thirst that's driving him and this movie mad, this time on. Hammers, sickles, blood pouches are out because, as the movie puts it, “Maut shareer ki hoti hai, soch ki nahin (human bodies die, their thoughts don’t).” The new hero gets his wife to contest elections against Ravi, fight a supposed battle of “ideology” -- not sure what. The filmmaker dedicates his work to those lost to violence in the region (Andhra Pradesh: homeground of naxal extremism). This self-importance alone seems the scariest thing on screen.
The moment that truly defines this flick is the sequence where Ravi sends out a hitman dressed as a woman to knock Surya down. He shoots. The bullet follows a straight line in frozen frames. The hero bends sideways. The bullet crosses over his shoulder, pierces through a cop behind him.
The ballet begins in the courtroom. The killer in a sari runs across. Surya flattens him out with a fat lawbook, kills with a farmer's axe. It's hilarious! The superstar's fanbase down south may love it, I don't know. Regional cinema has its own poetic grammar. It’s just distressing to sense, that’s where Varma belongs now. Huh. Really?