Ram Gopal Varma plays with the camera as if it were a toy and then turns it into a weapon. Satya 2 is a very exciting sequel to RGV’s cult classic, and here’s my review
Every Hindi film made after 1998 that is about the underworld or has any violence wants to be Satya. Ram Gopal Varma’s magnum opus left everyone who saw it breathless back then and along with RGV’s horror classic Raat and his Bollywood debut Shiva, now enjoys cult status. The director, for those who don’t know, has a vast body of work; for those who chuckle every time his name his mentioned, the man has several terrific movies to his name – a few great films in his sewer of flops. But it is Satya that is destined to forever be hailed as the maverick filmmaker’s finest among his best works. As a line from that great, great movie goes (and every line from it is pure gold), “Kabhi-kabhi keechad mein bhi phool khilta hai.”
Satya 2 doesn’t have an Anurag Kashyap and a Saurabh Shukla writing mind-blowing dialogues and the tightest script known to cinemankind. It doesn’t have amazing actors, and I won’t name one or two or five because that would be bloody injustice to the rest. You know how perfect the casting in that underworld masterpiece was.
What Ram Gopal Varma does have is unbelievable command over storytelling and a mastery of his own unique style of direction. There’s also this weird thing he does with the camera… he plays with it as if it were a toy and then he turns it into his weapon. Once you accept that Satya was a magical fluke, a spellbinding film that had everything going right for it, a cinematic accomplishment which cannot be equaled… see, it wasn’t one man’s brilliance; it was luck, deftness, talent and finesse having an orgy; it was technical wizardry and aesthetic perfection having great sex.
Satya 2 begins the way Satya does: the narrator tells you about a man without a background whose arrival in Mumbai will change the city’s destiny by creating a new underworld. Immediately after, the movie slips into typical RGV mode with a song that has the protagonist and his ladylove singing poetic lines, giving you a sense of dread, making you wonder if the rest of the film will turn out that way. Satya’s friend Nara, a character styled after Bhiku Mhatre is pitiable because he just can’t top or even come close to Manoj Bajpai’s jaw-dropping performance. Nobody can. You understand that clearly and you think it’s okay. This Nara chap’s girlfriend Special (Aradhna Gupta) is quite sexy, unlike Satya’s, who is sugary and the sort of dumb belle only RGV would fantasize about. Once the exchange of wise-ass one-liners is over, and when the mandatory scene of camaraderie the two men and their women share is done with, Satya 2 moves ahead smoothly.
Satya too in Satya 2, played by Puneet Singh Ratn, is an RGV hero: unsmiling, not much of a talker, overconfident… but it is this one-dimensional role which makes Satya 2 a solid watch. Puneet Singh Ratn’s intensity increases gradually, and the more he eases into his role the more powerful it becomes. The guy could do with not looking dreamy-eyed around his woman all the time, though. The lines could have been even fewer, but thankfully there aren’t too many wisecracks or attempts at being humorous; this is Ram Gopal Varma getting back in form.
There is probably nobody here that you have seen before in any of his previous movies, and even though there’s no personality that stands out, you’re glad there are none of RGV’s boorish stock characters hamming it up. The background score of Satya 2 isn’t jarring and is actually effective. You remember the ‘Govinda, Govinda’ chant from Sarkar, and ‘Sab ganda hai par dhanda hai yeh’ remained stuck in your head for a very long time after you watched Company, and here we have the main tune from Satya‘s background music along with a chant that teaches you that you will get some if you ask for it but you can have it all by snatching it. That’s another thing – the wisdom I gained from Satya is on parallel with the knowledge I received from The Satanic Bible, and Satya 2 too has its sagacity. The line which made me raise the horns at the press show: Power ki asli taaqat usse chhupake rakhne mein hai.
Ladies and gentlemen, my ass has been kicked.
Satya 2 has a lot of extracts from Satya, Company, Sarkar and even Shiva, but it is now understood that all films based on the underworld are derivatives of Satya. RGV has crafted the film brilliantly and the way he stretches its boundaries will make you sit up. Being the fanboy I am, I had tears rolling down my cheeks and the only reason I controlled myself from breaking down and sobbing like a sissy was that I didn’t want to miss even one frame of Satya 2.
Satya 2 isn’t a classic and some might say it should never have been made, and those expecting classic scene after classic scene will be underwhelmed because there isn’t even one, but I say it is a worthy sequel to Satya and is very exciting. The madness goes on and you gape unbelievably at the screen as the body-count increases, half-expecting a bullet to, without a warning or sign, hit you right between the eyes or pierce your black heart. Boys and girls, this is Ram Gopal Varma fully in control. Satya 2 is his way of setting all his wrongs right, and it is the director rectifying all his past errors, and this is him indulging himself without taking you for granted. Satya 2 is a treat from RGV, even though he still likes to show ugly, almost disfigured gents as henchmen, and makes his actresses strike the most absurd poses and dance in the tackiest of ways.
And just when you start counting on your fingers how much of Satya the man is giving a spin to, Satya 2 takes on a life of its own. Satya made me want to own a gun. Satya 2 makes me want to buy a baseball bat. And just when you thought RGV was dying of thirst in a desert under a merciless sun, you see him wiping the sweat off his brow and walking towards you, dragging a loaded canon.