Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shaitan - Movie Review

It has been long, but I had to get back to this, this has been waiting for a long time. A movie review. Though this is an old one, I had to write this.

A few months back I was on a dose of short films. Had been through various forums and watched many short film. One, suggested by a friend who did not know who Mohanlal was (and its hard to forgive a person for that), was especially brilliant. The film was called Reflections. I genuinely found the movie brilliant. Here is the link : (

So I searched for other short films that the director Bejoy Nambiar would have made. And I got to know about him being the first time director for Shaitan for the first time. I had to watch it I knew right when I saw reflection.

Some of the most delicious lunches that you would have had it life aren’t the most expensive ones. So is it for movies too: Smaller the budget, higher the innovation, more life in the movie. Nambiar has a knack for thriller, and that fact comes through not just in the story that he puts forth, but also the background score, the screenplay and most aptly and surprisingly through the camerawork. Shaitan is typically a kind of movie that I would imagine would have required a lot of pre-production work. The very tight script and a sharper screenplay would mean that actors need know their characters well. The plots and subplots are nicely intertwined to give space to each of the characters for its development. I am sure considering the number of experimental shots that Nambiar has taken in the movie, defining the camera angles too would have been a very detailed activity.

The movie is the story of 5 friends – rich brats who to save themselves from the aftermath of a road rage accident, gets embroiled in making money to bribe the cop through a fake kidnapping of one of them. Everything that you as a viewer might expect will go wrong for the character goes wrong after that. There is a motley crowd of a mentally disturbed youngster (played intricately and beautifully by Kalki), another aggressive arrogant rich kid, an all-fearing Parsi lad, a responsible model-to-be and a young middleclass boy in the group who wants to make quick money. They are friends. They trust each other when they start their journey and by the end you see how one character’s personality eats the space for other’s resulting into Mayhem.

Nambiar, as a writer and as a director adds many thoughtful pieces that gives the movie its flavour. I would specifically like to mention a few things:

· Sketches that he uses to show the mental state of Amy (Kalki’s character). Amy’s obsession with Saira is so strongly conveyed through those that the end seems very beautifully built up

· There is a sequence where the friends are on a run from police and a brawl in the shoddy lodge where they were hiding takes ugly form and they have to run. At the same time there is another story unfolding for police. The mixing of shots in this sequence is brilliant and even better is the background score with a lilting, dragging and intoxicated Khoya Khoya chand being played. A must watch

· Smaller things like Blood marks on Amy’s Body and her bouts of insanity builds up the climax.

· Gore and Blood. The scenes are raw and leaves an errie impact. It gets so dark at times that it feels overpowering

Everyone acted very well but Kalki was outstanding in the group. Her portrayal of the character was beautifully apt. It beautifully comes out in the scene where the 5 friends are hiding in a cinema hall and while everyone is worried about life, she says “Mujhe pata nahi ye hero doodhwali se pyar karta hai ya item wali se”. Rajeev Khandelwal as an honest cop with broiling anger hidden under the layers of responsibility has done a commendable job. I wish his dialogue delivery was as good as his expressions and he would have been my bet for future superstar. Shiv Pandit is confident and plays his part with confidence. Gulshan Devaiya shines in his role for KC. It wasn’t an easy role to play but there are points where he could have done better. There are many scenes where his quirky nature and sudden bout of anger had to look natural and it doesn’t. To me both Neil Bhoopalan as Zubin Shroff and Kirti Kulhari as Tanya were the surprise package. Senior actors like Rajit Kapoor and Pawan Malhotra delivers what they were expected to, which wasn’t awful lot. Both actors are in the list of my all-time favourites and seeing them in smaller roles is little underwhelming. Nikhil Chinnappa, wasn’t required though he plays his part earnestly.

Writing – especially the story and screenplay, were outstandingly brilliant, the best part of the movie. Both Bejoy Nambiar and Megha Ramaswamy needs to get all the credit for the movie having a turn at every corner of the zigzag route it takes from the start till end. Though I think the dialogues for the movie could have been much better. I would have expected the central characters to speak more English and slip into it everytime they were tense / nervous. Hindi at time looks unnatural on the characters.

Two other departments that shines were editing (well-seasoned Sreekar prasad) and cinematography (R Madhi). Checkout the smaller jewels like the gunfight that happens between the cop Mathur played by Rajeev and 2 gangsters. The Camera pans on the ceiling above the fan as it moves across the lobby exchanging the gun shots. Beautifully shot and remarkably mixed with the background score. Use of light and space shooting in various smaller location is remarkable

Overall it’s a movie with the right thriller bone. You will definitely enjoy it when you watch it the first time. If giving stars is important in a movie review, I would give it a 3.5* - just my point of view .


ranjit said...

I had watched Shaitan with zilch expectations and was pleasantly surprised. nice Fast Paced Flick, and the turn of events especially good. Somehow reminded me of Johny Gaddar a lot. It was probably due to no ´everyone lives happily ever after´ ending that the film was not universally loved. :)

Samien Kidwai said...

I luved ur review coz i also liked the movie in more or less the same way u had described. ;)
Wish to read some more reviews like this in the future.

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