Reviewing the Reviews: A max of 2.5 stars for Satya 2 if the critic was generous

11 Nov,2013

By Deepa Gahlot


Satya 2

Director: Ram Gopal Varma

Starring: Puneet Singh Ratn, Sharvanand, Anaika Soti


After the genre-busting Satya (1998), Ram Gopal Varma’s career just never reached that high again, even though there were intermittent successes like Sarkar. His obsession for the underworld seems to have smothered his film-making skills because Satya 2 has hit a nadir in the director’s filmography which already has horrors like RGV Ki Aag (popularly voted as the worst film ever) and The Attacks of 26/11.


Satya 2 got as little as 0 and 1/2 stars and a maximum of 2.5 if the critic was generous. Even the Times if India stopped at 2 this time, which is a rarity. Most reviewers, were not as scathing as they were sorrowful that a filmmaker of RGV’s early potential has just lost it and created such an unmitigated disaster.


Shubhra Gupta of the Indian Express wrote, “By calling his hood’s company, ‘Company’, is RGV being meta? Or just smirking? You can draw parallels from this maverick director’s film trajectory, which has yo-yoed between the very good and the very bad and some indifferent stuff, to this Satya Number Two’s ‘Company’, which, in his words, is more a ‘soch’ (thought) than anything else. You want to ask RGV: what was he thinking? Or has he abandoned it altogether now?  ‘Satya’ was a gamechanger. ‘Satya 2’ is not even in the game. ‘Goli maar bheje mein’.”


Nandini Ramnath of Mint analysed, “Not very long ago, Varma too was the insider-outsider, an intelligent and gifted loose cannon who influenced film-making style and production methods by unearthing new talent outside the family-run circles that govern the movie trade. Satya 2 does have academic value, as a study of a director’s systematic attempts to demolish his legacy and bury one of his most enduring creations-the Man With No Background who represented the dreams and nightmares of Mumbai in the 1990s. How Varma has become his own worst enemy, and how he insists on sharing his very public decline with audiences, one film at a time, is itself a subject of a movie. Perhaps there is no better person to make such a movie than Varma himself.”


Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN commented, “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.”


Vinayak Chakravorty of India Today wrote, “Satya 2 is erratic in the way the film has been edited and loud in the way its background score assaults your ears, neither of which offset the problem that the script has nothing new to offer. Too many underworld sagas have come and gone between 1998 and now. The world of bhais with its violence, angst and camaraderie seem all too familiar now to invoke fresh curiosity as Satya did in its time. You fail to notice any attempt on the part of RGV to add a new dimension.”


Paloma Sharma writing for ranted, “The film is categorised as an action thriller. But there is very little action. Characters spend most of their time talking, brokering deals and playing the “dimag ka khel”. As for the thriller part of it, there’s not much there either unless you enjoy the way the camera voyeuristically pans to Chitra’s naval or Special’s scantily clothed form. Ram Gopal Verma attempts to make a film about the underworld but at points he turns it into a Yash Raj production where the hero and heroine are dancing with Kashmir/idyllic village in the backdrop.”


Karan Anshuman of Mumbai Mirror wrote, “Satya 2 didn’t need to be called Satya 2. There’s no connection to the original Satya whatsoever. If anything, christening this film Satya 2 is a sign of Ram Gopal Verma’s despair; trying to cash in on the film that made him a true force, a distinctive voice in Bollywood that heralded change in the mainstream, indeed created a genre. RGV’s hankering to stay distinctive remains. But the means have all but deserted him.”


According to Tushar Joshi of DNA, “Satya 2’s biggest flaw lies in its basic concept of raising a one man army against the powerful pillars of law and order. Even if we look at the film in solitary without making any comparisons to its inspiration, there isn’t much material to sift through. As Satya, Puneet Singh Ratn seems a miscast. He might look serious, brooding and intense, but that soon becomes a rut and a trap for his  character to die a slow painful death.  Songs serve as a distraction from the gritty plot, but their editing needed to be sharper.  Background score is loud and grating to the point where it drowns out the main action. Satya 2 might have an interesting premise, but the execution and poor casting kills any chance of the film coming off as a decent entertainer.


Shubha Shetty Saha of Mid-day rued, “A few years back there was an outrage when Ram Gopal Varma attempted a horror – a remake of the classic movie Sholay. As if to atone for that sin, this time RGV massacres his own best film Satya with a horrendous sequel in the form of Satya 2. All that went right with the original Satya released about a decade and half ago has gone wrong with its sequel. The raw and gritty Satya is replaced by the shady, badly written, half-hearted attempt of a movie, Even if we stop comparing this movie to the original Satya, which was unarguably the best underworld movie in Bollywood, it becomes simply unbearable after a point of time.”


Pratim D. Gupta of Kolkata’s The Telegraph wrote, “Now with Satya 2 arriving a good 15 years later, Mumbai underworld today spells ‘tedious’ on screen with so many movies having already shredded the subject to bits. Varma himself has made a dozen under different one-word titles. In the turkey-delivering department RGV’s business is, of coursing, booming. And so this time too, very few will turn up in the first couple of weeks, but Satya 2 is unlikely to do any damage at the box office and definitely not become a benchmark of any sort. The unknown faces in the lead will remain unknown and it will not inspire any young dreamer. But will it all end with Satya 2?”


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