Sunday, September 13, 2009

Raaz: The Mystery Continues

Despite the title, Razz: The Mystery Continues is not a continuation of Razz - as far as I know. What it is is a solid entertainer, minus a comedy track (well, except the meta-comedy I provided for myself), containing just about everything required for a masala flick. If a little gore doesn’t bother you – and I do mean just a little, this only Mukesh Bhatt film, not Hostel - then I have no hesitation in recommending this one.

The set-up for Razz: They Mystery Continues goes like this – Kangana Ranaut plays a supermodel nickednamed Nutty. She has a douchebag boyfriend named Yash (Adhyayan Suman, who at the time was her real life boyfriend) that nobody likes (just like in real life) who is a documentary television maker. Nutty had given up on Yash because he ate up her life when she was with him but she’s not as strong as she could be and goes back to Yash.

Yash welcomes Nutty back with open arms and they move in together – things are okay for a while but then weird stuff starts happening to Nutty. Ghost hands try to drown her in the bathtub; she develops weird cuts on her arms; and all of a sudden everything is scary. Nowhere is safe.

And to top it all off, she’s got a stalker. Emraan Hasmi, styled in a bad mullet, is following her around. See, Emraan is a painter who has seen season one of Heroes who keeps painting Kangana in various poses that all come true. After a particularly vicious ghost attack, Emraan rescues Kangana and she begins to trust him… and the plot unfurls from there.

Before I start with the spoilers, let me give you a quick run down of the lead performances because they were all spot-on.

First of all, Kangana is perfectly cast as the model who is at the center of the film. I am a big fan of Kangana’s and she proves herself yet again as she manages to make a rounded character from what in the hands of a lesser actress would have been a dull black hole of a role, all shaded in one color – fear. Kangana pulls out fear, of course, but also inner strength, tentative love, entitlement, anger, and a touching brattiness. She really is a compelling presence on screen and I don’t think this film would have been a hit without her.

I think we all know of my extreme amusement with the antics of Adhyayan Suman and he certainly does not disappoint here. Much like how Harman Baweja’s default facial expression while acting is eXtreme confidence, Adhyayan gives off this aura of ultra smugness, which fits his character perfectly. I often saw him giving this look of disdain to Nutty, as if the fact that he was present in the room should be enough to satisfy all of her desires. For Yash, it works. You believe him when he says things like "you've disappointed me - again" to Nutty, after she wakes up the hospital a million wounds, because that smug-look makes you think that Yash is self-centered enough to believe that the world does, in fact, revolve around his desires.

Emraan Hashmi, on the other hand, played a variation of his usual on-screen avatar except that he didn’t serial kiss anyone. It worked fine, though, since his character was supposed to be kind of dopey and you believe that EMRAAN would believe in ghosts.


Still with me?

Okay, cool.

There was a lot of interesting things going on in the narrative itself. I don’t think I mentioned the excellent soundtrack before so I’ll do it now – the soundtrack was really good. And the reason I brought it up is that Kangana does not get to “sing” one song on it. She is the object of a few of the picturizations as both Adhyayan and Emraan sing at her or over her but she herself does not have one lyric to lipsync.

The reason I bring this up is that the character of Nutty, portrayed by Kangana, is a canvas for the emotions and desires of the men around her. Not only is she haunted by this ghost who carves up her flesh but her image appears to Emraan as he paints. The job of model is very appropriate and not just an excuse to cast a beautiful woman.

And here is where things get really interesting…

I’m about to spoil the whole plot so please don’t read further if you do not want to know.

The ghost is Emraan’s father (played by a dour Jackie Shroff in environmental activist mode) who was murdered by a bunch of white corporate jerks and local town bigwigs while being filmed by Adhyayan. Adhayayn decided to go to the powers that be in the area and trade the footage for some financing for his projects. And here is the rub – Adhyayan claims that he only does this because Kangana gave a passing comment (so passing that I didn’t catch it) that money is the most important thing for happiness.

So, Jackie Shroff is haunting Kangana because she gave an off-handed comment to Adhyayan.

She is yet another canvas.

But – and this is a big but – it ended up working out in a nice feminist way, which I wasn’t expecting.

See, Kangana has a line about looking for the evil everywhere except for inside herself and I thought that was nice. If it hadn’t been Kangana selling it to me, I don’t know if I would have bought it but I liked that Nutty took some responsibility for her greedy, greedy desires for money. She is self-aware and does what she can to try and make amends for the bad karma she placed out in the world.

Adhyayan has a line about how everything is Nutty’s fault for telling him that money is the most important thing, which made me hate his character so much but the thing is – we’re supposed to. He takes zero responsibility for his actions.

All in all, I was very satisfied with Razz: The Mystery Continues. It was a lot more complex than I was expecting and one of the better films of 2009 so far.


rhilex said...

Please tell me Nutty doesn't believe that everything's her fault, like Yash told her! That would drive me up the wall!

And YAY for feminist stuff! I wasn't going to watch this one ever, but you've really made it seem intriguing to me. :)

Filmi Girl said...

Yeah - it was a lot more interesting than I was expecting! :)

And re: Nutty I don't think she feels that everything is her fault but she feels guilty about her greedy feelings, which I think is good. She's not an entirely innocent victim because her callous attitude was part of the problem - and she tries to make amends for it.

Adhyayan pissed me off because he tried to blame her entirely - which she neither deserves nor accepts. :)

Very interesting film. :)

shell said...

another movie i wasn't planning to see, however I may reconsider now.

Anonymous said...

"Razz"?? Razzamataz. Lol.

simran (srkluver7) said...

I'm still getting used to BlogSpot! So I guess this probably wasn't the best spot to write this but, I wanted to ask a question. Is this your permanent site for Bollywood news?

Oh and I agree with your thoughts on Kangana..She was great but the movie as a whole wasn't so great in my opinion. :)

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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