Title: D Company
Cast: Ashwat Kanth, Abhilash Chaudhary, Rocky Mahajan and others
Director: Ram Gopal Varma
While watching Ram Gopal Varma’s gangster flicks these days, the sort of questions one, if confronted with, are full of gloom and doom. What could happen after a given scene? Will some wooden face beam an evil smile for the nth time? Will some gangster deliver a mocking laugher in the style of an unintentionally funny villain in a dubbed Telugu TV serial? Or will a new name of a gangster be uttered by some character, forcing the audience to move to pandemic-time doom-scrolling instead? Worst of all, will the narrator (which in the case of ‘D Company’ is RGV himself) mouth an outdated line with the confidence of an epidemiologist with verbal diarrhea?
‘D Company’, whose story is set in the 1980s, is about an assorted set of gang lords and wannabes who will think twice before committing infidelity but for whom holding Bombay to siege is a walkover. Their dilemmas are over when to shoot down their rivals, not whether to.
When it’s an RGV movie, we broadly know what to expect. We know some cardboard characters will be shot dead and others will manage to escape, only to be killed 25 seconds later. We know some unfamiliar actors will deliver outmoded lines, while others will just keep standing in the corner of a room, looking nowhere.
Equipped with a done-to-death set of underdeveloped segments, RGV thinks he is staging an epic story. With the confidence of a ghazal singer, he breaks into a philosophical song. The women (Naina Ganguly and Irra Mor) are either romantic or passive when they are not seducing men in the mandatory special number (Apsara Rani has a song).
The film feels like a painful ritual where the same dubbing artist is speaking in slightly differentiated voices for 90 minutes. At the outset, the narrator (RGV, who compulsively spouts dozens of lines with the confidence of a boring grandfather) says that Dawood Ibrahim had the foresight and he saw a new world when none could. The fawning introductory words tempt you to think that the director sees Dawood as the inventor of the world’s first coronavirus vaccine or something.
After the grand speech on the Mahatma of the underworld, RGV proceeds to deliver scenes littered with cuss words like ‘chetta nayala’ and ‘nee yamma’ (at one point, the dubbing artist says ‘naa anna’ but we hear it as ‘nanna’). Just as we start asking where is Dawood, the character reels off dull lines in an overlong scene where Chitra (Irra Mor) takes forever to open her mouth.
When the gang members are not talking about love affairs and sharing banter on erectile dysfunction, they are busy remembering proper nouns like Haji Mastan, Chota Shakeel, Samad Khan and Alamzeb. By the time the film is over, you will have known half the Mumbai underworld by their names without knowing a thing about how exactly Dawood became a force to reckon with. Just RGV things!
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