Drugs and youth... This seems like a typical theme and many directors keep toying around with this concept time and again. The first impression that we get on seeing the promos of'Shaitan' is that of it being just another story of how today's youth have gone astray but there is much more to Shaitan than just the typical love, sex and drugs and director Bijoy Nambiar has made sure that his film stands out among all the other youth centered movies.
There is a 'Shaitan' in each one of us, a violent streak, a dark side, a part of our personality which comes out only in extreme situations. This dark side surfaces in different forms like greed, corruption, fear, anger, jealousy, love, etc...
The director starts off familiarizing us with the various characters in the movie and thankfully like in other movies, this introduction doesn't last too long. The actual story starts with a crazy night on the streets of Mumbai, a wild race with random cars on the streets and a rich brat with a bunch of friends in his dad's expensive car. The bunch is absolutely and totally sloshed, not on alcohol but on its substitutes like cough syrup and sweets (great! now put an age-limit even on the consumption of these). This happy night turns into a nightmare and then follows a series of lies. One lie is told to cover another one and finally a staged kidnapping, only to get rid of all the lies and troubles, once and for all. Where all the Anna's and Baba's are fighting and fasting, here comes another slap on the face of those in power, with the movie expressly showing the amount of corruption that is rampant in our society.
On the face of it, the plot seems to be pretty straightforward but gradually you realize the quicksand that the youngsters have stepped into and it only keeps getting murkier. If someone asks me- What is the story? I can't tell absolutely anything because the movie really is worth maintaining the suspense. The five friends who are caught up in this mess- Tanya (Kirti Kulhari), Amrita Jayshankar aka Amy (Kalki Koechlin), Dushyant Sahu aka Dash (Shiv Pandit), Karan Chaudhary aka KC (Gulshan Devaiya) and Zuben (Neil Bhoopalam) come from a world which is not normal for many i.e. Partying, drugs and discos. Coming from filthy rich families, their world turns upside down, in just one night.'Trust' or'Bharosa' as KC keeps calling it, which is the base of their friendship, is also shaken. The world of the rich is different, money can buy anything and everything, so we won't be able to relate to the movie; if that is what you are thinking, you are mistaken my friends. You can relate to each and every incident, person, and character.
Moving on from the plot, to the elements in the movie, the first and foremost mention is absolutely well-deserved by the director for selecting such a wonderful star cast. Not only have they acted exceedingly well but they even fit their characters perfectly. The young Amy looks as if she really is the younger version of Kalki in real life, Tanya's sister actually looks like her real sister and all the police and family members are apt for their roles. Each and every character has put in their sweat and blood (there actually is a lot of blood).
Camera angles will make you go crazy and the editing just makes it even more exciting. The shots in slow motion create such an impact on you that your hands actually move towards your mouth in shock at certain places. The music is also very well suited to the situations in the movie, especially the one during the wild chase of the corrupt police official. The'Rajeev Khandelwal part' although is kept vague till the end and brings in the hint of Bollywood drama to the movie, simply emphasizes the fact that it is just another story which might be happening with your next door neighbor. Basically, the story is nothing out of this world or different, yet it leaves an imprint on your mind. What you do is not important, how you do it, is; and that is what Bijoy has tried to do.
A few questions still beg for answers and make you ask whether common sense really is uncommon. Why do all the five kids disappear and run away, if they have staged a kidnapping? I mean seriously, isn't it obvious the police will look for you if you are missing at the same time when your best friend is kidnapped. Why do they have to do all this drama in the first place if they have the money to take drugs (which as we all know are not in any way cheap) and get drunk all the time? Does the police force have no one efficient other than a suspended police officer? These and many such questions remain unanswered. Also, the part before the interval is interesting yet feels a bit too long. There are a lot of gory scenes (yes, they are more terrifying than the scenes in'Shootout at Lokhandwala') and some really could have been avoided.
Despite all these things, the movie is an excellent piece of art. It is not for the weak hearted, nor is it for those looking for just entertainment and fun. It is intense, dark, scary... something that will have a lasting impression on you.