Shaitan marks the debut of Bejoy Nambiar as a feature film maker. I had seen the short film, reflections, he had made with Mohanlal in the lead. Reflections was a weird film and that is what aspiring filmmakers come up with rather than the life of a college student or some shit in those lines!
The trailers of Shaitan were underlining that he had something. As Anurag Kashyap promoted Shaitan over twitter I was actually moving to the edge of excitement. On June 10th, I managed to see the Shaitan at PVR cinemas in Chennai. The first 10 minutes of the film with the super awesome with the Bali track from Prashant Pillai, the photography of Madhie and Bejoy's crazy eye for visuals. It was a treat at the cinema. The fight club like shots with the camera moving 180 or 360 degree was pure awesomeness. And the ultra slow motion shots, even better. I loved it all.
I had very little clue as to what Shaitan was going to be about and that was the best part. Sreekar Prasad's slick editing made the proceedings just as interesting as Bejoy would have expected. Shaitan was bloody refreshing for the opening few minutes. There was lots of fun, extra odd characters and super cool colours alongside some splendid soundtracks.
Bejoy shows experience and class in taking his time to establish the mad characters in their own mad world. And little do you know that it freaking helps for the first plot point in the film. When the first plot point hit, it hit me hard. Sreekar Prasad made the part seem even better. In the next few minutes the film would take its second turn and soon break for intermission. For almost an hour and a few minutes, Shaitan stays fresh even with a content that I would not say highly original. I loved the way Bejoy had showed his kind of a movie. The use of slow motions, the splendid sound design, the crazy angles and the total experience. I could have hoped that the screenplay was a tad more slicker and that would have made the whole thing even better.
As I went out for Pepsi, I was actually going freaking mad at the rediff reviewer who gave Shaitan just two stars. The second half had a smart start again. This time it was the famous soundtrack of Khoya Khoya Chand that gave the push. The slow motion action scene and the whole treatment reminded me of the Boondock Saints. But the content begins to take the back seat in every progressing minute in the second half. The violence and action does not stop. There are some more plot points. The pace of the film is also steady but sadly there was something about the writing that seemed weak. The good performances and the technical side manage to take Shaitan to the finishing reel but there was something missing. I wanted it to have been better. I had hoped that the film was better. But that is the way films are, it is not what you expect.
Shaitan reflects Bejoy's reflections in small amounts. I even get the feeling that the promo designs of the film had a Bejoy influence. Most of the promo designs have images cut in the middle and mirrored which kinda gives a reflection sort of an effect! That might be a strange fantasy from my head but I really felt that. I don't know about the influence of Anurag Kashyap's Paanch in Shaitan but Bejoy does have some real stuff here. The film did not make much of an emotional impact on me. Be it the very white-ish flashback of Amy that pops at regular intervals in the film or the personal life of Inspector Arvind Mathur.
The casting of the film makes the viewing a lot better. Gulshan Devaiya as KC, Neil as Zuben and Raj Kumar Yadav would be my favorite in the cast. Kalki and Kirti also did well in their roles. Shiv Pandit and Rajeev look no less good in their roles and so are the others in the supporting cast. The dialogues by Abhijit Deshpande work well with the film though the screenplay, by Megha Ramaswamy and Bejoy, as mentioned earlier suffers from something, especially in the second hour. The contribution of music gives a huge backing to the film. Amar Mohile makes just a single track for the film and that stands out with its pulsating rhythm that was brilliantly shot and edited. Prashant Pillai makes a lot of the other tracks in the film. It is with his track that the film takes its splendid opening. The other songs and music also work with the flow of the film and are just as refreshing as many of the other things about the film. Kunal Sharma's sound design goes perfectly with the mood of Bejoy's writing and makes the movie experience even better.
Shaitan is a film that won't work with all the audience. It almost worked for me. Bejoy with his awesome team has come up with a film that I wish to call new age leaving the content behind. Shaitan is experience!