Review: Department

Department Poster
The film opens with the line ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely’, but Ram Gopal Varma’s action film frustrates absolutely. Not only is the story old wine in cracked bottles but also it’s shot with camera angles that make you nauseous and dizzy while leaving you wondering what Varma and his cameraman were thinking.

Rana Dagubatti plays Shiv Narayan a dedicated cop who is pulled out of suspension by his senior Mahadev (Sanjay Dutt) to join a special ‘department’ constituted to fight the menace of the mafia. The mafia is ruled by rivals Sawatiya (Vijay Raaz) and a faceless Ghauri. An hour into the film we are introduced Amitabh Bachchan as a gangster turned politician who doesn’t do illegal things legally but legally does illegal things. He takes Shiv under his wings and guides him through a complex world of deceit and double crossing.

There is also a young couple that calls each other ‘baby’ who add unintentional comic relief. Abhimanyu Singh as DK and his moll played by Madhu Shalini are the worst pair of performances and characters you have been in a while. They make the acting in a Sajid Khan film look award-worthy! In fact Anjana Sukhani as Shiv’s wife is the best of the female actors. The less said about Lakshmi Manchu (Mahadev’s wife) the better.

As for the men, Bachchan is just having a good time and you merrily join him on the ride; Dutt is wooden and sluggish; Dagubatti is great eye candy and super in action scenes but unable to emote when required. Varma uses an ear-puncturing background score and sound effects, which hurt and strings together a number of action sequences with a convoluted story about the underworld-cop nexus and the good cop versus the bad cop. It’s often hard to keep track of the plot until you decide it doesn’t really matter to Varma so why should it matter to you.

Rating: *