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Raman Raghav 2.0 gets mixed reviews at Cannes

The title of Anurag Kashyap's psychological thriller confuses some at the French Riviera

Mayur Lookhar

The trailer created quite a stir on social media, but much before Indian audiences get a taste of Raman Raghav 2.0, Anurag Kashyap unveiled his psychological thriller Raman Raghav 2.0 at the French Riviera on Monday.

Raman Raghav 2.0 chronicles the tale of the psychopathic killer who terrorised Mumbai in the 1960s and 1970s. Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the dreaded killer, while rising star Vicky Kaushal plays the temperamental police officer out to capture the mysterious serial killer.

The filmmaker tweeted that the show was a full house. The film was screened at the Directors’ Fortnight section. Raman Raghav 2.0 was reviewed by some of the international media and it appears that early responses to the film have been mixed.

While Hollywod Reporter was not too pleased with the film, Variety gave it a largely positive review.

Confused by the 2.0 in the film's title, Variety’s Guy Lodge wrote, “Its original title is 'Raman Raghav 2.0', which risks sending uninformed viewers out in search of a preceding film. As it is, one such vivaciously nasty exercise in urban nihilism is probably enough, though the verve and nerve of Kashyap’s filmmaking continues to excite.”

Summarising the film, Lodge wrote, “Psycho Raman often entertains most with its most lurid formal, musical and narrative gambits, from the electrifying, strobe-tastic assault of the film’s nightclub-set opening sequence to the cranked-up rat-in-a-trap terror of its finale, which closes with ample (if not exactly upbeat) potential for a 3.0 sequel. Domestic commercial returns for this unabashedly sensation-seeking outing may well be healthy enough to give that possibility a blood-spattered green light, though one hopes Kashyap — whose limber, enthusiastic work here jolts more than it actively surprises — has his eye on fresh genre terrain to exploit.”

Hollywood Reporter’s Deborah Young wrote that a serial killer and a cop are a mirror image of auteur violence in Kashap’s dark drama.

Young was critical of Kashyap’s portrayal of the police and killers having quite a lot in common, and the line between good and evil being easy to cross.   The writer found similarities between Raman Raghav 2.0 and Kashyap’s earlier film Ugly. However, Young was full of praise for Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

"Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal need not move over, but he would certainly enjoy the nuanced performance of this rising Indian actor, who has demonstrated his extraordinary range in roles stretching from a humble office clerk in The Lunchbox to a porn-meister in Miss Lovely, as well as multiple gangster stints for Kashyap and others," Young wrote in her review.

Screen International’s Wendy Ide was impressed with the film. “It’s a propulsive and bloodthirsty thriller with a brash use of music and a jangling, adrenalised energy which rarely flags. It should connect with a young Indian audience, both domestically and within the wider diaspora, looking for a hip, confrontational alternative to mainstream Hindi cinema,” she said.

Raman Raghav 2.0 is the third Anurag Kashyap film to be screened at Cannes. The first was Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) followed by Ugly (2014).

Kashyap’s last film Bombay Velvet (2015) was a disaster at the box-office and the director must be hoping that Raman Raghav 2.0 helps him get back on track. The good response to the trailer and the positive reviews at Cannes augur well for the Indian release. Raman Raghav 2.0 hits the screens on 24 June 2016.