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'Department' Review: For Rogue Audience

'Department' Review: For Rogue Audience

Film: Department
Rating: 2/5
Ram Gopal Varma Productions, Viacom 18 Pictures, Uberoi Line Productions
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Rana, Lakshmi Manchu, Madhu Shalini, Anjana Sukhani, Nathalia Kaur and others
Music: Bappa Lahiri, Dharam Sandeep, Vikram Negi
Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Producer: Ram Gopal Varma
Release date: 18/05/2012
Ram Gopal Varma who is deemed as one of the finest technicians and storytellers of today’s times is back and yet again, he chose his favourite genre of underworld and cops. Let us see how this is
Set on the backdrop of Mumbai police department, the story begins with senior cop Mahadev Bhonsale (Sanjay Dutt) who is called for a special job by the Home Ministry. The increasing menace of the mafia in the city had to be curbed and Mahadev is given the task of coming up with a special team to wipe it out. He calls in Shivnarayan (Rana), the young and honest cop along with few other officers. However, the ideology of both Mahadev and Shivnarayan are different but they come to pact that they would not interfere in each other’s paths. In comes politician-turned-gangster Sarjerao Gaekwad (Amitabh) who takes Shiv under his wings. On the other hand, gangster DK (Abhimanyu) is power hungry and wants to establish his mafia rule in the city. The clash of ideology happens and everyone gets intertwined into it. How that happens forms the rest of the story.
Amitabh Bachchan is the total life and soul of this film. He was enigmatic in his act and his baritone voice with that mild elegance gave a strong impact to his character.
Sanjay Dutt was clean and looked like a typical cop. However, his potential and strong screen presence was not utilized to the fullest and his character got quite underplayed throughout.

Daggubati Rana was present in almost every scene of the film. His character was intense and given his alarming physique and minimal expressions, the role suited his body language.

Vijay Raaz was yet another actor whose potential was not used to the fullest. But despite getting a weak role, he made his presence felt in few scenes. His character should have got more strength.

Abhimanyu Singh comes up with an expressive performance. Unlike his earlier movies especially in Telugu where he has contained himself, it was a free flow of energy and he did full justice to his role.
Madhu Shalini is the one to watch out for. Her wildness, raw sex appeal, innocently dangerous expressions gives her an edge over others. This role has given her a transformation. Moreover, she dubbed her voice in Hindi that is highly convincing with native Mumbaikar punch. She scores full marks for her portrayal.
Lakshmi Manchu was elegant and did her bit as required, Deepak Tijori was apt, Subbaraju was brief, Neera Vohra brought few light moments. The others didn’t have much to offer.

  • Dialogues


  • Visually disturbing
  • Weak Background score

It is true that Ram Gopal Varma has been going through a string of flops. It is also true that he believes in making films as per his convictions and doesn’t really focus on the box office outcome. Despite all this, whenever a film from him is making its way into the theatres, the enthusiasm and expectations from Ramu never go down. He is one of those trendsetting moviemakers who may have lost his touch but not his sheen. Anyways, the same momentum was present while going inside the theatre to watch ‘Department’.
The concept of revolutionary moviemaking is something Ramu can roll out even when his feet are upside down in the air. And he is also known for his amazing story telling and engaging sequences. However, that didn’t seem to be the case with this one.
A film is made not just for conviction but also for the majority people. And if that majority section don’t connect to it then the very purpose is useless. Department had a lot of style, a remarkable technique in camera angles, screenplay despite the stereotype genre chosen but that alone is not enough to sustain the viewers.
There must be that required element which defines a mainstream movie and that was missing here. The focus which was there on presenting the film in a different way was not there in tuning the story finely, giving it a good plot and delivering that emotional velocity in a typical RGV signature style. And the sound sync idea that was used also didn’t work.
Overall, this is a film which promises good concept but its execution is beyond the realms of cinematic viewing. If only Ramu didn’t show variation and too much experimentation and focused on the story and what it has to deliver, the film would have been another epic masterpiece. 
Bottomline: Can be liked by those who unlike movies made in traditional say it in RGV’S style’s for Rogue audience.

(Venkat can be reached at