Most of us remember Satya (1998) fondly. It chartered a new course for Hindi films, invented a whole new genre,and cemented Ram Gopal Varma’s (RGV) place in the industry. After Rangeela and Satya’s fame, RGV was the director who could do no wrong.
Post his recent films like Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag and Not a Love Story, we all know he’s on an inexplicable decline. A mystery that refuses to be solved, RGV comes up with one awful film after the other, making viewers wonder what’s happening in that mind of his.
So Satya 2 (like Satya) is also about a man, who won’t talk about his past, and slinks into Mumbai for work. His wannabe only friend goes yackety-yak about Mumbai and its ameer and gareeb log, as the camera gives us an eagle eye view of the city’s potholes.
A prominent builder Lahoti (Mahesh Thakur) employs him, and Satya (Puneet Singh Ratn) wows him with a sinister plan to help him with a land deal. That the idea involves murdering two prominent people doesn’t bother Lahoti.
Plan executed, Satya becomes Lahoti and his friends’ go-to boy for their troubles. Satya calmly and coolly shares his solutions with them, which often involve killing this minister and that cop and so on.
The film then focuses on Satya’s journey as he starts his own company, which he decides to name ‘Company’ (self-referencing, much), using a rather unique business model. One where one employee doesn’t know about the others working for the Company and money cannot be traced back to its source.
As mysterious as Satya himself (he claims that gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim and Abu Salem’s hunger for fame became their undoing), the company flourishes and the police cannot track it down.
Meanwhile, Satya’s girlfriend (Anaika Soti) arrives in Mumbai to be with him. In order to express her naivete,RGV makes her hop when she could walk, crane her neck outside the cab, and run around with a bunch of balloons. Quite tiresome, really.
Like most of RGV’s past protagonists in his films like Company, the men remain devoted to their wives, who ultimately pay the price of their deeds.
But what deeds are we talking about? Satya kills off people as if life is one big video game, thrives on fear, and starts the company with shady businessmen. Why then does RGV insist on promoting him like a messiah who is creating an alternative system within the existing system (ek naya India, or some such).
Granted the film talks about corruption and other evils within the existing system, but if the violent ways of Satya are presented as the solution, god help us!
There’s plenty of unintentional comedy in the film. Note Satya’s plan to kill the Chief Minister and reinstate another person in his place who works for the Company. All this is as easy as his game of chess, we are to believe.
The screen often goes dark for a few seconds without warning or explanation. And the dialogue is unnecessarily convoluted with the actors pausing at all the wrong places. Note this line, ‘Satya mein kuch nahin, bahut kuch tha.’And that annoying line that crops up with alarming regularity – ‘Company ek “soch” hai’.
The background music is distracting for the most part, and at one point, goes ‘SssssSatya….’
There are a few interesting scenes in the film. The one where a character likens rivalry to the Tom and Jerry cartoon, and Satya’s friends, who think he’s a regular bloke, shocked at an attempt to kill him.
The performances are sketchy. Puneet Singh Ratn is made to say his dialogue with hands inside his skinny trousers pocket for the most part. Sadly, despite a look of calm eccentricity that Ratn tries to convey, he is just not powerful enough an actor for a role like this one. A role that has to make us think about and warm up to the protagonist despite his obvious deviousness.
The female actors are neither up to the mark, nor have they been given interesting characters. One misses the powerful presence of actresses like Urmila Matondkar and Manisha Koirala in Varma’s earlier movies.
The omnipresent voiceover (another aspect the director has borrowed from his past films) leaves us with the message of an imminent sequel. And we truly hope RGV gets his groove back for that one!
Rating: One and a half stars