DEPARTMENT:RAPE OF THE SENSES
There is a scene in which Amitabh Bachchan playing a mastermind politician, while having a drink with Rana, starts laughing. Rana asks him hesitantly, the reason. Bachchan laughs some more and shakes his head and says, “ Ek joke yaad aa gaya.Private hai.”
It seems that Ram Gopal Verma has a private joke of his own, which he translates into his movies. It’s so private and hilarious that he continues to entertain himself at his loyal audiences’ expense. Sometimes you react to bad jokes with one word:“sick”. When you see weird, low camera angles focussed on every body part but the face, be it man or woman, no prizes for guessing the one word.
Department, from the beginning to the end, takes you through a cruel roller coaster ride of rapid camera work and edit combined together. Wide angle, low angle, wide angle, low angle, close up on lips licking, hold on a woman’s swaying butt, close in on large hands or feet or shoes, superfast round trolley shots circling Dutt and Rana, upside down long legs of Bachchan and Rana. Switch to slow motion. Upside down. Dizzy yet? Not enough. Add a nonstop deafening, head splitting, music score. Next, throw in some gun games and fist fights, body tossing, slow motion chases. Plus, of course, an item number with pelvic thrusts and a costume that can make porn look prude. Then there are props like tea cups, teddy bears, lion heads in focus. Once one gets used to this abuse of the lenses along with the assault on all the senses, one can move on to the story that takes the underbelly plot too visually. Literally.
Written by Nilesh Girkar, the plot has an interesting dark side to it which is sadly not explored enough. It is about creating a department that links ruthless cops, politicians and the underworld for the larger good of defeating the mafia. So a corrupt cop, Mahadev(Sanjay Dutt) kills criminals and hires an honest cop, Shivnarayan (Rana Daggubati)who also does violent encounters, to work for his ‘department’. The aim is to destroy two leading gangs headed by Vijay Raaz and Ghori(a voice on the phone).The two Shivas have a blast, throwing bodies as if tossing a ball. The party turns from brawn sport to mind games as the tall, grey haired, politician with wicked laughter, Sarjerao(Amitabh Bachchan) with a tiny bell on his wrist, lifts his little finger, summons Rana and changes the game.
The film is a character study of wierdos, nothing unusual in a RGV film. Bachchan wears a bell to remind himself that he got enlightenment at the Dharavi signal during his don days, turned a samaritan politician and to show “sabki bajti hai”. Vijay Raaz sports a white dhoti and lets his skinny body language do the evil talking. Two sidekick lovers in his gang, DK (Abhimanyu Singh)and his foul mouth girlfriend (Madhu Shalini)make violent plans while making love. Dutt and Rana are devoid of any characteristics mercifully and remain so non descript that they end up as good as props in focus. The screenplay has sufficient plot twists to remain pacy but meaningless. The dialogues are mildly entertaining in Bachchan’s scenes.
Dutt and Daggubati, though present throughout the film as main leads, fail to make their presence felt. Neither do Laxmi Manchu and Anjana Sukhani who play their respective wives. Vijay Raaz does his best within the limited capacity of his role. Abhimanyu Singh and Madhu Shalini have the best parts in playing sick and disgusting but are not quite convincing. Deepak Tijori as one of the department cops is passable. Bachchan, this time, manages to look eccentric as well as likeable unlike his past RGV experiments. He seems to have started relishing roles that take him farthest from his iconic image.
The background music(Dharam-Sandeep) along with the SFX is an assault on the eardrums. The music (Bappi Lahiri,Vikram Nagi) which includes “Thodi si jo peeli hai “remix along with the lyrics –“Dan Dan Cheeni “(Vayu) ,remain average. The cinematography and the edit, only irritates in the name of experiment. The action is full of hideous, mindless violence.
The film repeatedly has lines discussing the good and the bad, the right and the wrong; stating there is no such thing. Watching Department, one can definitely say this is bad nightmare from someone who needs to be shaken up violently to go back to being the good filmmaker he was with Rangeela, Satya and Company. This is not how you want to remember a Ram Gopal Verma film.