Shaitan is like a pivoting cinematic reel that projects the darker side of us, mirroring our inner devilish selves when confronted with a tough situation. The emotion is subtly plugged in yet beautifully told, through the hellish story of a bunch of young brats in artistic style.
Amy Jaishankar (Kalki Koechlin) is an emotionally disturbed college girl after she witnesses the suicide of her Mother in her childhood. Brought up by a loving Father and step-mother, she seeks emotional security which she tries finding in her mother’s memories or sketches.
At a Party, she happens to meet KC who introduces her to a group of young, rich druggy drinkers and they mix in faster than tequila with orange juice. What follows is a heady spin of brash fun, more drinking and drugging, until that night, when KC rams their racing Hummer into a bike, killing the rider and the pillion. Bamboozled by the accident, the group makes an escape plan, which is discovered by a corrupt Police officer investigating the case. To cough up the hefty bribe, Amy decides a naive plan to be self-kidnapped by her friends, unaware of the gruesome consequences. The rest is for you to find out for yourself and recognise your ‘inner Shaitan’ while doing so.
What is impressive about the film is the realistic foothold on the screenplay, coupled with outstanding cinematic storytelling. The fast-paced film is very unlike the usual linear thrillers, instead it is a well-balanced see saw of the dark and the light side of us humans. Kitschy use of music, a palpable script and a different narrative grips the audience in a series of emotions.
The Actors – Gulshan Devaiya, Shiv Pandit, Kirti Kulhari, Neil Bhoopalam, and Kalki of course, deserve applause as they immerse into their characters, never for a moment seeming Bollywoodishly unreal. Neither over-real. Rajeev Khandelwal as the ‘angry young cop’ is super. The director has utilized them all well.
The screenplay would be a pleasure to read, like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code – simply ‘unputdownable’. And executed in Kashyap style, the screenplay has been narrated to zing up the entire treatment of the film. Peppered with light humour, the film does not leave you heavy-headed or feeling woozy. It is simply a well-grounded filmic delight.