273732 Taran Adarsh

D – Underworld Review by Taran Adarsh

4

Movies produced by Ramgopal Varma's film-factory are as diverse as chalk and cheese when compared to the other qualitative production houses. RGV has the courage and conviction to swim against the tide, venture into lanes not many would dare to tread and come up with products that bear the by-now-famous stamp of an accomplished storyteller.

RGV and UTV's latest offering D, directed by Vishram Sawant, is another giant step in the right direction.

In his illustrious career, RGV has peeped into the underbelly of the underworld, courtesy films like SATYA and COMPANY. Now add D to this impressive list.

If you thought RGV had exhausted himself of those mafia stories and perhaps, you were about to pop up the question, 'What next, Mr. Varma?', the film-maker tosses D towards you. It's gritty, bold and most importantly, gives you that microscopic view of the underworld and the rise to power of one of the most interesting stories of our times.

D follows the same path as SATYA and COMPANY, yet it's different from films of its ilk. Films like PARINDA and VAASTAV and even SATYA and COMPANY depicted the other side of the law with amazing fluidity. D explores all that, plus tells the nowhere-to-somewhere story of a don in the most simplistic, yet accomplished fashion.

In terms of content, D completes the trilogy for RGV, after SATYA and COMPANY. And as a film, D can be spoken about in the same breath as its predecessors.

To cut a long story short, put your hands together for one of the most outstanding films produced in 2005. D also marks the birth of two supremely talented names -- Director Vishram Sawant and actor Randeep Hooda.

D tells the story of Deshu [Randeep Hooda], who rises from the ashes and creates an empire of his own. While finding a foothold in the world of crime, Deshu faces opposition from within the ranks of his company.

The kith and kin of his mentor [Goga Kapoor] are unhappy with Deshu's rise and the rift widens every time Deshu conquers new horizons and scales new heights. Despite the hiccups, Deshu and his comrade Raghav [Chunkey Pandey] perform their duties with utmost honesty.

The two sons of the mentor [Yashpal Sharma, Sushant Singh] realize that the focus has suddenly shifted towards Deshu. The tension builds up with each passing incident and the duo decides to settle the scores. They first target Deshu's comrade and then Deshu and his actress-girlfriend [Rukhsaar].

The battlelines are drawn. It's Deshu on one side and his mentor's two sons on the other. What happens next?

As a viewer, you may have preconceived notions about gangster films being all blood and gore, with the end result being a bore. Come to think of it, how many facets of a gangster can any film-maker explore? But Vishram Sawant and his writer deserve all the credit for narrating a story that's explosive and captivating.

In most cases, the film starts off well but runs out of steam as it progresses. That's not the case with D. This one starts with a bang, with the engaging moments in the first half slowly taking you to an environment you can identify with.

But it's the post-interval portions and the twists in the story that give the film that extra sheen. The graph of the film reaches an all-time high when the battlelines are drawn. The Chunkey Pandey-Sushant Singh-Isha Koppikar sequence is amongst the brilliant sequences witnessed in a long, long time. Ditto for the immediate sequence, when Randeep settles the score right under everyone's nose.

One is extremely inquisitive about the finale, but the conclusion to the story doesn't let you down one bit. The best part is that neither does this film promote terrorism, nor does it say that those who live by the gun die by the gun. Thankfully, it doesn't preach!

Any flaws? Or is D a flawless film? One minor blemish. Ideally, D should've been a songless affair and the inclusion of songs, especially the 'Khudko Maar Daala' track, seems as unwanted as an unwelcome visitor meeting you unannounced. Other than the unwarranted songs, there're no flaws whatsoever!

Director Vishram Sawant deserves distinction marks for handling the subject in the most convincing fashion. The past two years have seen a number of first-timers explode on the big screen, but Sawant supersedes just about everyone. His style of storytelling is refreshingly different and most importantly, here's a director who concentrates more on substance than style in his maiden effort.

The usage of the background score during conversations is another brilliant stroke. Mercifully, the viewer is spared of the talk-heavy portions that would've otherwise been presented in the name of dramatics.

Cinematography is first-rate. The film captures the authentic look to precision. The background score is another area that deserves the kudos. The dialogues have rustic flavor and are soaked in acid at times, so vital for a film of this genre.

RGV has discovered and rediscovered a number of talents over the years. Actors like Manoj Bajpai and Vivek Oberoi specifically come to your mind for their effective portrayals in RGV's gangster flicks. And now there's Randeep Hooda. Frankly speaking, D wouldn't be what it is without Randeep. The actor looks and performs the part with such ?n that it's indeed difficult to absorb the fact that D is his second film [after Mira Nair's MONSOON WEDDING]. Randeep changes his expressions like a chameleon changes colors and that's where he scores. If Vishram Sawant did repose tremendous faith in Randeep, the actor lives up the expectations completely.

D has more than 35/40 characters, but the ones who stand out are in this order: Goga Kapoor [excellent], Chunkey Pandey [fantastic -- stages a terrific comeback!], Sushant Singh [first-rate], Yashpal Sharma [effective] and Ishrat Ali [good]. The ladies don't get much scope in this male-dominated flick, but both Rukhsaar and Isha Koppikar make their presence felt.

On the whole, D is one film that stays with you even after the show has concluded. Well crafted and told in the most natural fashion, D should prove to be the cynosure of many movie buffs. A brilliant effort, this is a must-watch film that has the potential to grow with a strong word of mouth in days to come. Gangster films fare the best in Mumbai and D should charter the same path!

D – Underworld 4 Taran Adarsh 20050603