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  1. #1
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    Dec 2009


    Default Movie Review: Department

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    Star Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Laxmi Manchu, Rana Daggubati, Nathalia Kaur, Madhu Shalini, Vijay Raaz, Abhimanyu Shekhar Singh and Deepak Tijori.
    Director: Ram Gopal Varma
    Producer: Ram Gopal Varma
    Music Directer: Dharam Sandeep, Bappa Lahiri and Vikram Nagi.


    Top officials like the Home Minister, Home Secretary and the Director General of Police form a unique entity called ‘The Department’ to tackle the grave issue of underworld crime in their own way by crossing the bounds of rules laid by the police department. Thus, begins the fight between Mahadev Bhosale (Sanjay Dutt) and Shiv Narayan (Rana Daggubati) to emerge as the most powerful figure. While Mahadev, who is a corrupt police officer heads the team- ‘The Department’, is very clear about his goals; Shiv, an honest but suspended police officer joins Mahadev’s team. Shiv is initially unaware of what he is getting into and he eventually gets greedy for power. These two policemen become puppets in the hands of Sarjerao Gaikwad (Amitabh Bachchan), an ex-underworld don and a corrupt politician.

    Story Treatment:

    As the first few minutes of the film go by, one is aware what a nerve-wracking experience 'The Department' is going to be. The multiple meaningless sub-plots, along with a poor characterization bore one to death. What compounds to the misery, are the distractive camera moves which leave one clueless about the story! Like, instead of concentrating on the important talks between the top officials, the camera is busy capturing the body language and glass of water and tea. The patience is further tested, when it starts checking out the private parts of the characters though from outside.

    Star Cast:

    Amitabh Bachchan is the saving grace and induces life in the film with his power-packed performance. Sanjay Dutt and Rana Daggubati deliver a lukewarm performance. Madhu Shalini and Abhimanyu look extremely uncomfortable in their respective roles. Vijay Raaz performs well but gets wasted in half-sketched character. Deepak Tijori and Laxmi Manchu are just mere fillers.


    Unfortunately, a well-intentioned concept remains half-baked, thanks to Ram Gopal Varma’s style of filmmaking. With no substantial conversations between the characters, followed by illogical action sequence, the direction loses threads with each passing frame. The plot thickens in the last 45 minutes before the movie ends, but the bizarre end again leaves one numb.

    Music/ Dialogues/ Cinematography/Editing:

    Ram Gopal Varma proves yet again about his lack of taste in music. A shameful remix of the legendary song ‘Thodi Si Jo Pee Li Hai’ from Namak Halal and a vulgar item song featured on Nathalia Kaur leaves the music in the ‘C’ grade category. Dialogues, as mentioned lose essence due to poor direction; few however, are impressive as they somehow explain the theme of the film. Cinematography is miserable as it loses focus most of the times in the name of creativity. Editing doesn’t help either.

    Ups and downs:

    Department somehow, survives on the strong shoulders of Amitabh Bachchan, few but meaningful dialogues post interval and a good concept are the strong points. Poor script, bad screenplay, meaningless direction along with cinematography and music make Department a disaster.

    On the whole, Department falls flat at almost every department; so, needless to say, it's a flick which can easily be given a miss.

    ...being a human...

  2. #2
    Runner Up - Admins Awards
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    Dec 2009


    Default Department..Hindi Movie Review..By Taran Adarsh


    Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Laxmi Manchu, Rana Daggubati, Naseeruddin Shah, Nathalia Kaur, Madhu Shalini, Vijay Raaz, Abhimanyu Shekhar Singh, Deepak Tijori

    For a really long time, he has been attempting the kind of movies he aspires to make, with not much concern for the BO. The uneven response to his last few films at the ticket window hasn't shaken the confidence that viewers have in his abilities. His past few films were nowhere close to SHIVA, RANGEELA, SATYA, COMPANY, BHOOT, SARKAR, SARKAR RAJ and RAKTA CHARITRA-I, but regardless of the BO outcome, Ramgopal Varma is one film-maker who continues to make movies that he believes in.

    Earlier, in NOT A LOVE STORY and now, in DEPARTMENT, RGV has dared to re-invent the cinematic language by changing the visual imagery. While the visual style is worth applauding and catches your eye instantly -- RGV has filmed in angles not witnessed before in Hindi films -- it's the erratic and inconsistent writing that bogs down DEPARTMENT.

    No one illustrates the underbelly of crime on celluloid as persuasively as RGV. The issue with DEPARTMENT is *not* the beaten to death genre, but the screenplay that has nothing novel to offer. Encounter specialists, ruthless gangsters, inter-gang rivalry, corrupt politicians… haven't we had our fill already? One could never lay blame on RGV for taking the tried and tested route, opting for easy shortcuts while narrating a story. But, in DEPARTMENT, all you remember is style, while the substance goes for a toss.

    Alarmed at the hitherto unseen escalation in underworld criminal activities, the government officials hold a secret meeting in which they take a decision to create a new unit which is unofficially referred to as 'Department'. This special task force is formed to clean up the muck caused by gangsters.

    DEPARTMENT throws light on the power struggle that exists in the police department and one expects RGV to narrate a story we haven't heard or witnessed before. Sadly, the already exhausted genre curtails the maverick film-maker to spring surprises. To put it bluntly, DEPARTMENT is old wine packaged in a brand new bottle. Right from the characters, which we have witnessed in soooo many films of this genre, to the twists and turns in the story, RGV borrows from the past endeavors, instead of moving frontward. Besides, in an attempt to make it more mass-friendly, more 'commercial', RGV forcibly injects a couple of songs in the narrative [barring 'Cheeni', filmed on an alluring Nathalia Kaur] that are completely unwelcome in an enterprise that's out to depict realism.

    DEPARTMENT is soaked in high-voltage drama and action, with a consistent undercurrent of tension. As a matter of fact, there's an overdose of action in the film, though, I must admit, a few action pieces, especially the final showdown between Sanju and Rana, is deftly executed. But the absence of a riveting and absorbing screenplay looms large in the post-interval portions. Sure, some sequences do hit you hard, but the writing tilts heavily towards been-there-seen-that kind of situations persistently, promising little or no surprise as the plot unravels. RGV's obsession with the camera is evident here as well. He does away with the usual visual language this time, which is sure to win him admirers. The background score [Dharam-Sandeep] enhances the impact, while the dialogue are power-packed at times, but plain mediocre at places.

    The central characters get extensive scope and absolutely surrender to RGV's vision. Amitabh Bachchan is remarkably credible. Sanjay Dutt stands out with a prominent performance. But it is Rana Dagubatti who surfaces as an accomplished actor. Rana has remarkable screen charisma and is convincing in his superior portrayal of a cop.

    Vijay Raaz's character lacks meat. Abhimanyu Singh enacts his part with gusto. Madhu Shalini [Abhimanyu's love interest] catches your eye. Laxmi Manchu [Sanju's wife] is proficient. Anjana Sukhani underplays her part wonderfully. Deepak Tijori doesn't get much scope.

    On the whole, DEPARTMENT is neither novel, nor experimental, but a return to the tried and tested formula. Disappointing!
    ...being a human...



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