Eccentricity is the name best associated with filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma whose maverick methodologies increase film by film. And with his latest release Department his absurdity seems to be touching new heights as he defies all rules, all conventions of filmmaking technique. A big cast, a thrilling storyline and a big release, would it work? Let's wait and watch.
In a bid to eradicate the gangster nexus, Inspector Mahadev Bhosale (Sanjay Dutt) is given the task to create a new encounter specialist Department that isn't bound by law system. He recruits a righteous cop Shivnarayan (Rana Daggubatti). Together they hunt down innumerous local goons and work their way up the ladder to lay their hands on Sawatya (Vijay Raaz), one of the two dons ruling Mumbai. The other Mohammed Gauri, an obscure entity remains obscure right till the end. Shivnarayan's weak sense of judging the right from wrong leads to a conflict with Mahadev, who he starts thinking wrongly of after coming under the shelter of politician Sarjerao Gaikwad (Amitabh Bachchan). The many shades of grey of each character and the following conflict and lack of trust on each other follow through a series of twists and turns.
It wouldn't be wrong to compare RGV's Department to bhelpuri
as quite in the manner in which the Indian junk is made Ramu unabashedly goes ahead mixing a little bit of crime, a little bit of politics, a little romance, some revenge, some backstabbing, some violence and some raunchiness and thoroughly shakes it up (literally courtesy his camera angles) to create a film.
With Department Ram Gopal Varma introduces a new filmmaking technique called Rogue filmmaking where no professional cinematographers and customary cameras are involved. Hence he goes around sets plunging his cameras on crotches, cleavages, inside lungis (male bottom garb), sliding from bottom to top, spinning around, humping, thumping and almost every possible thing by the end of which you are either suffering from vertigo or feeling nauseas.
Despite having a plot that had enough masala to make for a taut thriller, the various characters that keep interfering in the film and the multiple and needless twists that keep coming about fused by the eternally high on pot camera person, the film fizzles out in the very first few minutes. At a point of time it almost appears as if RGV is deriving some maniacal/sadist pleasure in playing around with the sensibilities of his audience.
How can one not mention the lengthy 'insertion' of voyeurism in the film almost to the level of repulsion? So you have sleazy bath tub sequences, sweaty and raunchy love making acts, close panning shots on lips, sucking of ice candy and a very steamy item song where Nathalia Kaur almost humps in the air!
RGVs eccentricity can also be seen in the way he sketches out his characters. Right from a lanky-lungi wearing Vijay Raaz for a much terrorizing Don Sawatya, his aides DK played by Abhimanyu Singh whose girlfriend almost forms the highlight of the film as in the middle of a sleazy love making act she mouths, "Bebby" almost having the audience in splits to the don turned politico Sarjerao Gaikwad, a nasty version of Sarkar as Ramu likes to call it, each and every character is carved with equal peculiarity.
The film does work sporadically as some portions stand out. For instant, the diatribe between Sanjay Dutt and Rana Daggubatti, Sarjerao's definition of his moment of epiphany from which he turned from a don to a politician etc. however, they alone don't make the film work.
To sum it up, Department can leave you with a massive migraine attack, watch his earlier oeuvres instead.