Technology or experimentation in cinema is always welcome and should always be met with an open mind and perception however since cinema is also about storytelling, the latter aspect must never be compromised upon. This is exactly where Ram Gopal Varma misses the bus.
Department pulls together an ensemble cast with Sanjay Dutt playing an encounter specialist Mahadev who has just been given charge of a new task force which has been named unofficially as Department. His recruits include Rana Daggubatti’s Shivnarayan. In the underworld, we have Vijay Raaz playing Sawatya, a gangster who is feared and respected by all and sundry – why, we are not informed. Coming back into the world above, a former gangster has redeemed himself and has become a politician, our very own Amitabh Bachchan as Sarjerao Gaikwad. What ensues is a long tussle between the gangsters and the cops, the cops and the politicos, gangsters against brotherhoods from their own fraternity and the list goes on. Some cops are honest while some gangsters are refined; Abhimanyu Singh’s DK (not Bose) and some cops are not what they apparently appear to be.
RGV has talked a lot about his unique filmmaking style with a small, inexpensive camera and angles that have been hitherto unseen in Bollywood or Indian cinema for that matter. He has also been going gaga over Nathalia Kaur for the item number that had been aimed to raise some interests among the audience.
Department surely has unique angles. RGV who had once taken the world of cinema by storm with his penchant for unique filmmaking has managed to challenge his limits with a minute camera that can take you anywhere from within a tea cup to inside someone’s wardrobe. One should appreciate what RGV has done or tried to do at the least. But his touting Nathalia Kaur as the next big thing on the dance floor was perhaps promotional.
Department struggles with a weak story, weaker screenplay and average performances!
When Sanjay Dutt comes across wearing the same shirts with a few buttons open down to his brawny chest, when Amitabh Bachchan mixes Sarkar and Bal Thackeray and come up with an act and the rest of the cast play sidekick in every department, there is very little that you can expect which would be fresh and new. There is a lot of action, breaking of glasses, shells of bullets here and there and there are dialogues. But in the midst of all the jerky camerawork, underground shady deals, encounters and deceptive characters, the film hardly offers anything to take back.
RGV could have done so much better if he had spent the same amount of time working on the story and the characterization that he did while selecting the camera he would use and the angles he would bother the audience with. The filmmaking style would have worked, had there been an intriguing premise.
If the audience just does not care about the story or the film, what good would the style of filmmaking do?