Thursday, 30 June 2011

The devil in me is yawning - Shaitan Review

Just because I don’t watch afternoon soaps doesn’t mean I don’t have an appetite for evil. I do – which Shaitan, unfortunately, fails to satiate.
I was expecting unhinged, unhindered evil – as wanton as Dev D’s character if not worse. But what Shaitan offered was evil that played out within our comfort zone, rather than the edges of reason.
It was irritating to find every act of evil justified with a past or a purpose. The devil in me wishes Bijoy Nambiar had done the following:
• Instead of having a bunch of silly kids acting desperately, it should have been a gang of youngsters plotting premeditated acts of evil.
• Killed Tanya (Kirti Kulhari). The chilling act of betrayal became quite thanda once she came out of danger.
• Shouldn’t evil win over love if the movie is called Shaitan? Zubin, ideally, should have taken advantage of Tanya’s vulnerability. Instead, he is a man with a warm heart – and even he doesn’t die in the end. Sigh!
• There was class differences in the gang – Dash and Tanya were strugglers, while Amy and KC were born rich. Bijoy made fleeting references to the class politics but not explored it enough to make the audience feel uncomfortable.
• Amy (Kalki Koechlin) is poor Amy with a tormented past. When a large part of me was feeling sorry for her, how could I call her The Shaitan? (However, I am grateful that Bijoy let her go scot free in the end – at least there was some injustice that provoked and disturbed me.)
What I liked:
• The pace. The movie was gripping till the end
• The soundtrack – especially the Hawa Hawai remake
• Rajeev Khandelwal’s taut acting
• The novel, naughty way in which the kidnap plot was introduced – using Udaan’s Rajat Barmecha as the narrator, who crumbled the happy-undivided-family filmy formula along the way
Inside info: I was wondering what the random parallel story track of Inspector Arvind Mathur’s (Rajeev Khandelwal) failing marriage (and the painting) was all about, until VN enlightened me. It turns out to be Bijoy’s revenge against his wife Juhi Babbar who walked out on him, taking with her an expensive painting that he had invested his entire savings to buy. He clearly doesn’t seem to have got over his loss.