Direction: Bijoy Nambiar Actors: Kalki, Neil, Shiv, Raj Kumar Yadav
Anurag Kashyap will never cease to surprise and entertain you with his whacky, inventive movies and unorthodox narratives. I am a big fan. Well, one can expect the same with the movies he likes to produce too. Hence Shaitan was one movie I was waiting for since the day I heard ‘Bali: The sound of Shaitan‘. The promos got me exciting and finally when I got to watch it and Shaitan did not disappoint me.
5 friends living their lives with no rules and no boundaries get wound up in a gory accident, which turns their lives up side down.
It might seem like an “I know what you did last summer” rip off, but its far from that. Shaitan is about us, the drifting fickle youth and how everything went wrong for them. Its about how the inner Shaitan consumed them.
One of the few films where all the film making techniques employed are all for the right reasons. Bejoi Nambiar, seemed like was never satisfied with anything normal and took every thing about the film to an entirely different level. The frequent use of ultra slow visuals did not only add style but relevance too. All this is vivid through the experimental music used, the dark tone of the script and the cinematography. Though the screenplay is slow and was distracting in the beginning caught up and kept me hooked till the end.
Though the film starts like an ‘I know what you did last summer’, it is not a whodunnit either. It takes a ‘Fargo’-ish twist but without the black humour of Fargo. The dialogues are not exquisite but it works. Nambiar tried to mix in some humour at the wrong time which dint quite work. Forgive some flaws in the script and the film is entirely gripping and edgy. This is not like any other movie you have seen in mainstream Bollywood.
The young lot really proved that they are worth every penny. But Kalki was the one who stole the show. She performed the traumatised teen with ease. It was delightful to watch Neil perform so well. Shiv, Rajeev, Gulshan , Raj Kumar Yadav all gave decent performances. Kirti dint quite depict exactle what her character underwent and Nikhil Chinnappa was not great. May be its still his Vj image making me prejudistic.
One of the superb elements of the film. This composer presented his talents to the Malayalee audience last year by composing the music for one of the most under rated movies, ‘Nayakan’ and also City of God. Like the movie, its music also was under rated. But Nayakan is getting some cult following, so do not worry, Mr. Prashanth Pillai. This guy might redefine bollywood music, having learnt under the maestro Rahman himself. Prashant Pillai is not the only Music Director. Bejoi even borrowed music from heavy metal band ‘Bhayanak Mauth’ and bollywood remixer MikeyMcCleary.
One of the wonderful aspects of Shaitan is the juxtaposition of a peppy music number along with graphic violence. Mikey explains it well in this short clip, on the Making of Khoya Khoya Chand.
The fight sequences, the chase, all have this never before seen in bollywood graphic nature. For me the most epic part in the film was the accident scene. Watch out for that.
Reviews around complain the disjunctive narration in the film. The cut away scenes of Emmy (Kalki) seemed to cut the pace of the film. But I beg to differ. It was in fact this interluding cut aways that made the film more meaty. Emmy is a traumatised teen and she is like in a wonderland. The frequent intervening scenes showing her mother and the dreamy composition of the shots gave me the feel of Requim for a dream. Nambiar not only intended in telling a story, he was navigating us through the minds of these perturbed teens. Thats a whole new perspective. The different narratives are not supposed to blend with each other (that was the complain) as they are entirely different takes, a realistic take and a subconscious.
I do not claim Shaitan will blow your minds, nor it is a path breaking film. But Shaitan is not your everyday hindi film. It is unorthodox yet mainstream. Its uncanny yet uncomplicated. It is full of explicit content but entertaining. Shaitan is an exploration. It puts 5 teens in a very dangerous shaky grounds and explores the way they react and the consequences they have to pay. Shaitan is about how the inner demon takes control of the reigns of your mind. Shaitan is the exploration of instant, that involuntary moment under pressure, lust and rage.
Reaction after movie: I really liked this. It was gripping and entertaining. Must Watch.