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Shaitan: Movie review

Movie Reviews
10 June 2011

Cast: Rajit Kapoor, Rajeev Khandelwal, Kalki Koechlin, Pawan Malhotra, Shiv Pandit, Gulshan Devaiya, Neil Bhoopalam, Kirti Kulhari

Directed by Bejoy Nambiar

Rating: **1/2

Teens in Bollywood movies are usually blessed with a disposable income, fancy wheels and a life that makes you forget yours. The ones in 'Shaitan' confirm to the above, don't confirm to a limited dosage of cocaine and have a healthy appetite for destruction. While some may blame the parents for lack of bum-slapping during childhood, what really is pumping the insanity and unwarranted angst into the veins of today's youth is the game that could be included in the Olympics of the future, Angry Birds! Or not?

The film introduces 5 friends, Amrita/ Amy (Kalki Koechlin), Dushyant/ Dash (Shiv Pandit), Zubin (Neil Bhoopalam), Karan/ KC (Gulshan Devaiya) and Tanya Sharma (Kirti Kulhari). Apart from Dash, who works at a coffee shop, the rest belong to affluent families. So, like most rich and rotten teens their age, they party on yachts, get sloshed in fancy swimming pools, go cruising about town in Hummers and indulge in all those things you saw them doing in the promos.

Now a peculiar thing to note, which will be the cause of most unforeseen events in this film, is an unexplained and often misplaced flight of fury over the most trivial things. So, a guy is seen chatting up with Tanya and KC races to the scene and punches his face to pulp. KC loves Tanya? KC is protective? KC is seen kissing another girl in the very next scene! So, KC loves thrashing up people for fun? Also Amy's warped childhood has a striking resemblance to the little kid in 'The Ring', who would draw different things with a black crayon and then strike them off ferociously. The only difference, that kid was possessed and Amy is, well, clinically depressed.

The crux of this story is an accident resulting out of road rage that thrust our fearless five to resort to extreme cover-up measures. And trying to uncover their ugly truth, is Inspector Arvind Mathur (Rajeev Khandelwal) who is as angry as he is suspended. But well aware of how nasty criminals have succumbed to his unparalleled wrath in the past, the police commissioner (Pawan Malhotra) summons him to a case of national importance. He is assisted by obedient and righteous cop (Nikhil Chinappa).

Now we're drifting between two parallels. One is Arvind's wild-goose chase to track down the missing teens (who've kidnapped themselves) and the adventures of Zombieland (the fearless five become the frantic five). As the intensity of this murky story gets murkier, Arvind marital turmoil track gives you a break. But it's underdeveloped enough to be ignored. This review doesn't need to tell you whether or not Inspector Arvind cracks the case or what happens of the dirty rotten pranksters. That is quite evident, no?

The film gets full marks for style. Crisp visuals accompanied by a great soundtrack ensure a dreamy audio-visual experience. 'Hawa Hawai' tickles your ears softly, while the groovy version of 'Khoya Khoya Chand' eases your senses, to balance the disturbingly violent visuals.

None of the actors shine over the other, while Kalki's character seems a bit over-written than others. With producer pati backing the project, that's hardly a surprise. Rajeev Khandelwal disappoints as an honourable cop, who's not convincingly angry or young or heroic. Perhaps the fact that he ditches the 'khakhi vardi' for polo tees (he's suspended from the force) takes away from his character.

The promos suggest that 'Shaitan' is about the devil inside each of us. But it's actually about human trash, who're hardly evil and only end up committing crimes as casually as they swing into a song. If there is any devil in this world, it is the red bird that slingshots itself to spell doom for pigs.

You can reach me at guha.kunal@rocketmail.com or connect with me on Facebook

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