The film traces the journey of this bespectacled everyman who comes to Mumbai with a chilling plan to redefine the underworld. Cinema has the power to shock you, but Ram Gopal Varma takes that quite literally in ‘Satya 2’. In one particularly gruesome scene, a burkha-clad woman wielding an electric drill directs the weapon towards a rapist’s crotch, and blood splatters everywhere. This is Varma’s idea of the new underworld, where citizens play vigilantes, forming an anonymous ‘company’ that strikes fear in the hearts of the rich and the powerful. The mastermind behind this nameless crime enterprise is Satya (newcomer Puneet Singh Ratn), a man who deliberately keeps his background a secret so he cannot be caught.
Punit Singh Ratn, Anaika Soti, Mahesh Thakur, Aradhna Gupta, Amitriyaan, Raj Premi, Amal Sehrawat, Kaushal KapoorRamgopal Varma has delivered several exceptional gangster films. As a matter of fact, RGV has made the maximum films in this genre, creating a rich repertoire over the years. SATYA and COMPANY stand out as milestone films, which have influenced and motivated a plethora of gangster films over a period of time. It’s no secret that these two films, besides RGV’s Hindi debut SHIVA, RANGEELA [a different genre, of course] and SARKAR, have propelled RGV as one of the most respected storytellers of our times. Obviously, one eyes SATYA-2 with equal enthusiasm for obvious reasons. But, let me clarify, SATYA-2 merely borrows the title from SATYA, but is no sequel to the trend-setting previous film “Satya”
Just when everyone thinks that the underworld is defunct, Satya [Puneet] arrives in Mumbai to reinvent it and re-establish the mafia. His motive is simple: He wants to be the undisputed don of Mumbai. To start with, Satya floats a company based on the mistakes committed by the earlier dons and executes his master plan. He eliminates three influential people to unleash terror: a leading industrialist, the Police Commissioner and a powerful media baron.
Satya recruits those who are disillusioned with the system, including a former encounter cop, but keeps a low profile so even his wife and his closest friends have no idea what he’s up to. One of these friends is a skimpily clad starlet named ‘Special’, who is so unremarkable that you wonder how she acquired that name. He even finds executioners to market this hot-seller, and soon ‘Company’ turns into the deadliest crime outfit – topping the cops’ radar.
To be fair, somewhere buried in this muddled film there is an interesting idea of why citizens are forced to stand up for themselves. Through sweeping top shots, we see a metropolis bursting at the seams and rotting with neglect. But the film goes downhill as Satya turns into a messiah, rectifying the system’s injustice and giving us mind-numbing speeches in an expressionless monotone.
The promos of SATYA-2 clearly specify that underworld never becomes redundant. It merely changes form. That, in short, is the essence of this film. Let me clarify, SATYA-2 bears no resemblance to RGV’s protégé Puri Jagannadh’s Telugu film BUSINESSMAN, like a section of the media would like us to believe. The plot is different and RGV makes sure even the screenplay is way different from films of its ilk.
Like RGV’s previous endeavors, SATYA-2 is loaded with style and attitude. The plot too is shades different from the earlier films in this genre, with RGV moulding it in the thriller format and unleashing the screenplay at a feverish pace. The fact that SATYA-2 is not inspired by any of the gangster films attempted earlier keeps you on the edge and heightens the curiosity. But there are hiccups. The inclusion of songs is a blemish you just cannot disregard. Ideally, a film like SATYA-2 would’ve had a stronger impact if RGV would’ve avoided the songs. The songs only work as a speed breaker here. Even the one filmed in Kashmir, post Satya’s marriage, is an absolute no-no, despite some stunning visuals it has to offer. Similarly, the romantic track between Satya and his sweetheart is far from mesmerizing. Meanwhile, his lady-love, Chitra (Anaika) who spends more time sitting pretty and pouting, than performing
Unlike the gangster films of the 1980s and 1990s, which integrated gruesome violence in the narrative, SATYA-2 is more about cerebral power, with violence being an offshoot of the conspiracy that the entrepreneur adopts. The protagonist is suave this time — unlike the earlier Satya — and uses the mistakes [committed by the earlier dons] to stay a step ahead of lawbreakers and lawmakers. The cops, obviously, are caught completely off guard, since everyone is clueless of the new criminal on the horizon, his strategies and motives.
Having said that, I’d like to add that SATYA-2 has several nail-biting episodes that keep you completely hooked. Also, to give the credit where it’s due, the writer does not suffer from SATYA hangover, which is a plus. The scenes are innovative, the screenplay is entrancing for most parts and the sequence of events keeps you drawn to the on-screen proceedings. The background score is effectual, while the cinematography captures the tension adroitly.
Puneet Singh Ratn brings RGV’s vision to life. He springs a surprise, essaying a complex part with certainty. Furthermore, he looks intense enough for the part. Anaika [as Chitra] exudes vulnerability, but the conviction is lacking in her performance. Mahesh Thakur is top notch. Aradhna [as Special] leaves an impact. Amitriyaan [as Naara] is expressive enough. He does very well.
Raj Premi [as RK] is wonderful, while Amal Sehrawat [portraying his son TK] stands out in the sequence when he persuades his father to defy Satya. Ashok Samarth [as Solomon] is first-rate. Kaushal Kapoor [as Purshottam] delivers a power-packed performance. Mrunal Jain is proficient in a brief role.
Additionally, the culmination to the story will meet with extreme reactions. It’s an open end and while some may like the thought [I think, it’s most appropriate], the conventional types may be discontented since RGV maintains the thought with which he commenced the film: Underworld never dies, it merely changes form.
‘Satya 2’ (unlinked sequel), thrives on randomness and implausible ideas. This don is unconvincing, seeking no wrath or sympathy of the viewers. The supporting cast is too weak, and the unforgettable bhaichara, the potbellied Kallu maamas and boisterous Bhikus (of Satya fame) are sorely missed. RGV relies on his trademark camera angles, close-ups and deafening ‘Satya’ chants (background score) to heighten drama, but guns down the plot at the onset. Even a good hangover of the remarkable prequel might have salvaged this one.
On the whole, SATYA-2 is not be Ram Gopal Verma’s best, but there’s no denying that it has the right elements that make a quintessential gangster film. However, the KRRISH-3 wave and the arrival of another Superhero film [THOR: THE DARK WORLD] will definitely affect the films business prospects.