Anurag Kashyap specializes in the underbelly. He takes something hard to understand and makes it understandable by making it weird. Even as a writer, he was the first to bring underworld alive in Satya. A broken man in Dev D and an entire region in Wasseypur. Here he trains on two things. Broken people and broken system.
A girl goes missing. But that’s not the story. Like every good story, it is about relationships. There are events, of course, that trigger things. But the triggers only work when there is a gunpowder to strike. The gunpowder is the tangle of relationships, betrayals, friendships, affairs and inferiority complexes of the various characters.
A depressed mother sends her child for a weekend with ex-husband, and the child disappears. Her current husband, a cop, gets involved, and the hidden animosities surface. The nerd of college is not a ruthless vengeful cop, and the stud is a struggling actor. The girl caught between them is a wreck, a recluse and an alcoholic. Add the friends, whether real, fake, or somewhere in between. And the police: so oblivious to misery when at rest, and so active when roused. Yet are they effective even then?
The people are the heart of it. And thus the actors. Tejaswini Kolhapure is amazing, playing a beaten, depressed character. Ronit Roy and Rahul Bhat play the two men in her life, very differ not yet so similar. And playing her brother is wonderfully slimy Siddhant Kapoor.
But the side of broken system is best exemplified by Girish Kulkarni playing Inspector Jadhav. From wicked, to clownish to sycophantic to scary. He displays all this while remaining within his character, and showcases the common guy’s view of the police system perfectly. Also at display the police indulging in all kinds of (hopefully illegal) snooping, and the tug of war between law and crime on the turf of information technology.
Al in all, the element of surprise, delivered to leave you still thinking about it, is not even close to being the most important thing. It’s the well fitting jig saw that Kashyap creates out of the broken pieces that’s the important thing. This is not entertainment. This is challenging cinema daring you to call yourself better than these shards.
Did it look like the missing girl was almost forgotten in this complexity? Exactly.