<Review by: Anuvrat Bhansali>
Directed by Ram Gopal Varma. Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Rana Daggubati, Vijay Raaz, Anjana Sukhani.
Opening with a remix version of the song ‘Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan’, Department is another innocuous imbroglio of mafia, politics and encounter police in Mumbai. All it offers is a little dose of suspense arising out of a rather confusing plot and some interestingly eerie cinematography.
Shiv Narayan (Rana Daggunati) is an honest unapologetic hotheaded policeman who wants to end mafia’s hold on Mumbai. In the same city, another hotheaded senior policeman, Mahadev Bhosle (Sanjay Dutt) is getting ready to create an ‘A-Team’ with the license to kill. While Shiv’s name is making headlines for getting rid of Mumbai’s filth, his fierceness and honesty has a new admirer: gangster turned politician Sarjerao Gaikwad (Amitabh Bachchan). It’s not long before Shiv is backstabbed from within his own team and realises that he is just being played as a pawn in the game. With his wife and credibility at stake, Shiv has to decide which Department he really belongs to.
The story of Department is so insipid that its climax can be predicted by anyone who has seen enough mafia/underworld movies.
At the end of the first half, it seems every department was unprepared, uninterested to create one fine Department. Actors (barring the leading men), debutante actors, item ladies, the army of bad boys, the fight master, the choreographer, the dialogue and song writers, the background score musician, all seem so smug. RGV tries to pimp the movie with veteran lead actors and a spy cam style of cinematography (last seen in Dibakar Bannerjee’s Love Sex Aur Dhokha) but he falls horrendously.
With action sequences that don’t go further than shattering glass and walls, RGV’s clout score has taken a major dip here. Dear Mr. Varma, why would you give so much to build a character of a female gangster but never have that character do anything worthwhile or even noticeable in the movie? You need to go back to the basics.
Whatever little, the movie has all its worth in the performance of Mr. Bachchan. As a gangster turned politician, he is as wicked and smart as can be. It reminds you of his legendary performance as Subhash Nagre in Sarkar. Sanjay Dutt too is effortless but unimpressive by a big margin even as he is manoeuvers most twists and turns. Rana Dagubatti misses a genuine shot at making a mark. He is like The Hulk who gets green, beats the shit out of people but doesn’t evoke any mystery, sympathy, fun or fear. The unfortunate part is that even with all his brawn and major screen time he can’t sideline the screen presence of Mr. Bachchan or Mr. Dutt.
To sum up the review, it’d be fair to say that this weekend, a shopping trip to the department store with friends or family would be far more exciting.