Raman Raghav 2.0 - a commercial Hara-Kiri; 7 Hours To Go...didn't go anywhere

MUMBAI: In the 1960s, Mumbai saw a series of crude, merciless killings of mainly footpath dwellers. Those who slept on the sidewalks, were ‘sleeping’ targets for this post-midnight killer. The initial murders took place in 1965-66 and, after a brief hiatus, resumed in 1968. The killer was identified as Raman Raghav though he was also known with many aliases. But the name Raman Raghav stuck owing to the person found guilty and convicted. A biopic on this case was made by director Sriram Raghavan in 1991 as Raman Raghav.

Raman Raghav 2.0 is a version of the case in Kashyap’s own style and reworks the real life story that happened to make it shocking and dramatic. To this end, he recalls the real life Raman Raghav case and declares: This is not his story. Then he proceeds to tell his own story. The start is with the title of the film where, a la Ram Aur Shyam or, say, Karan Arjun style, Raman is the killer, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, while the name Raghavan refers to Vicky Kaushal, the cop!

This is a dark film where there are no positive characters; the ambience is the dark filth and poverty filled lanes of Mumbai. There is a serial killer, Ramanna (Nawazuddin) and there is a cop (Kaushal) but, the cop, himself, is just about as sinister as the killer. He is a drug snorting womanizer. Instead of the cop chasing the murderer, often the murderer is chasing him!

When the film opens, Nawazuddin already has nine killings to his name. He is all that one can get when a number of wasters and sadists are put together. He feels at home in the seediest streets of the city and, in his own way, converses with god.

As the ‘chor police’ kind of game plays on between Nawazuddin and Kaushal, it is unlike any  other Hollywood or Indian film for here none of the two is clean; it is as if Kaushal wants to better the bad ways of Nawazuddin. And, that is what Nawazuddin tells Kaushik in the final confrontation, that the latter is his better half!

The film has some shock elements and some gory violence aptly aided by sound effects and graphics. Between Nawazuddin and Kaushal, of course, the former scores. Sadly, few will volunteer to watch the contest.

The film shows the maker’s competence at making bleak, non-entertainers. While, they may be appreciated by a few critics, they are a commercial hara-kiri.

Producer: Anurag Kashyap, Vikas BahlVikramaditya MotwaneMadhu Mantena.

Director: Anurag Kashyap.

Cast: Nawazuddin SiddiquiVicky KaushalVipin SharmaAmruta SubhashSobhita Dhulipala.

7 Hours To Go...Not going anywhere!

The film, 7 Hours To Go, is  small in comparison to big budget action movies. However, the film nurses similar ambitions.

The film is about a hostage drama taking place in a crowded court of law in a metropolis like Mumbai where the hostage taker gives the police seven hours to sort out the problem.

Shiv Pandit arrives in Mumbai to meet his fiancé, Natasa Stankovic. He is unable to find her but unwittingly becomes the witness to a murder that takes place and a failed attempt to storm the corporate headquarters of Khemka Towers belonging to the corporate boss Khemka played by Vir Das.

Now, Pandit has raided the Mumbai Court and taken seven hostages. Pandit blames Das for the murder of his fiancé

To give the film the glam quotient, the case is handed over to the brave multi martial art ace, ACP, Sandeepa Dhar, with Varun Badola as her aide. They realize that, after all, the suspect, Pandit, seems to be no ordinary person. He carries the tag of a UP Police officer.

Pandit is actually after Das and his diamonds and manages to get his way.

The film is a lot of running around with Sandeepa, Varun and a sniper, Kettan Singh, hired by Das to kill Pandit. This running around is done only to promise you a sequel as Sandeepa promises Pandit she will not stop chasing him and will eventually nab him.

Director Saurabh Varma makes a sincere effort to give the film a taut look, it remains mainly and effort what with the limited budget at his disposal. Performances are okay.

Producer: Nikita Thakur.

Director: Saurabh Varma.

Cast: Shiv PanditSandeepa DharNatasa Stankovic and Varun Badola.

Rough Book….D for duffers!

Rough Book is a film on the country’s education system. It aims to highlight advances in the education system, the demands and the pace the institutions have kept up with these. Schools and colleges still continue to impart knowledge at a rapid pace, wanting to beat the semester deadlines rather than for students to imbibe knowledge.

Like everywhere else, in this institution which the film focuses on, the usual pattern is followed and that is to take periodical tests. This institution has a programme whereby following such tests, it slots its students into four categories. Accordingly, the toppers are assigned to the A Division, the bottom performers get D Division. Also, while the A division gets the top teachers, their grade too goes down as the divisions move from B to C while D Division gets almost rejects.

This institution, like many in the country, wants to make a reputation of producing only toppers and on that basis, keeps adding to its fee structures. The idea is to let only toppers go for final exams in which event they hold back the D Division.

That is when the institution gets a new teacher in Physics in Tannishtha Chatterjee, a product of an orphanage run by Suhasini Mulay from where she has imbibed high moral values. She is happily married to an IT officer, Vinay Jain, himself known as a strict and uncorrupt officer. But that myth is soon shattered when Vinay’s own house is raided by his superiors and tons of money is found in, of all the places, Tannishtha’s book case, right behind her books.

The marriage is over, Tannishtha goes back to the ashram where she is soon convinced to start anew. That is when she joins this institution headed by Kaizaad Kotwal. Like in all such films, the new teacher is welcomed by a ball breaking the window pane of her car, a sign that she is due to deal with some rough students, disillusioned with the system. And, she is assigned the D Division despite her glowing credentials.

Tannishta soon realizes that these students are at sea because of the education system followed here. They lack in the basics so have remained poor over the years. While she decides to take her teachings back to basics and suspend the current syllabus, Kaizaad decides to make them take an exam. His plan is to set up coaching classes for weak students in the very premises of the institution. The conflict leads to the ouster of Tannishtha.

The film departs from the usual and charts its own dream story albeit with her taking up the cause of the underdogs against the might of the school. It seems her friends, which include Joy Sengupta, Jayati Bhatia and Deepika Amin, are all expert teachers in different subjects and decide to teach some of the D Division students from home. They train the students for not only school boards but also for IIT-JEE!

The film deals with the education system with a very simple approach; sadly, there is conflict between schools to churn out toppers and be the highest paid on one side, and the teachers like Tannishtha wanting to change the system. Its script and narration are too simple. The best thing about the film is that it has been shot during mid-monsoon lush locations to make it a visual pleasure. Performances are generally convincing with Tannishtha and Amaan Khan, the student protagonist,   justifying the extensive footage they get.

Producers: J C Chaudhry, Aakash Chaudhry, Dr Aashish Chaudhry.

Director: Ananth Narayan Mahadevan.

Cast: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Amaan Khan, Deepika Amin, Joy Sengupta, Jayati Bhatia, Vinay Jain, Kinjal Rajpriya, Suhasini Mulay, Ram Kapoor.

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