Film review: Raman Raghav 2.0 is dark and disturbing

Raman Raghav 2.0 is a tense psychological thriller that makes you question what you see

A handout photo of Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Raman Raghav 2.0 (Courtesy: Phantom Films)
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Raman Raghav 2.0

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal

Three and a half stars

Raman Raghav 2.0 needs to be watched on an empty stomach as some of the violence unleashed may make you want to hurl.

However, if you take a moment to reflect at the end of the film, you may walk away with the unsettling realisation that much of what you saw was only imagination.

In keeping with his trademark style, director Anurag Kashyap (Bombay Velvet, Ugly and The Girl in Yellow Boots) doesn't actually show brutality, he only alludes to it and allows you to chillingly fill in the spaces.

Raman Raghav 2.0 is based on notorious serial killer Raman Raghav, who got away with 41 murders in Mumbai in the 1960s. The plot follows Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) a copycat killer and Raghavan (Vicky Kaushal) a police officer who does pretty much the same thing, but is shielded by his badge. The drama explores the precarious relationship between good and evil and the blurring of those lines. Ramanna is compelled to kill by the voices in his head (he believes it to be God's), but as deranged as he is, he knows he is also motivated by the sadistic joy of watching life seep out of another. Raghavan's violent exploits, on the other hand, are more about convenience and is meted out through summary executions of criminals.

Both character’s intertwining lives are structured around eight chapters, that become increasingly disturbing. Both Siddiqui and Kaushal are excellent in their respective roles. Siddiqui’s Ramanna is eerie and is easily one of his finest performances to date. While not as spine-chilling as his more experienced counterpart, Kaushal holds up his end impressively. Flush with power, his unchecked violence will make you queasy.

Raman Raghav 2.0 is not a regular psychological thriller. There is no element of whodunit to the narrative, but it is nonetheless stirring and full of tension. It's a treat for those who like their movies very, very dark.