Satya defined a Bollywood genre and earned instant cult following. Fifteen years on, Satya 2 defies all logic.
Pretty much like he had done with his ill-advised remake of Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay, Ram Gopal Varma unabashedly trivialises an idea that had worked famously the first time around,
Satya, the ultimate guns-and-gangs sage, was clearly in no need of re-interpretation. So, what on earth was RGV thinking?
For all its obvious warts, Satya 2 may not be as insufferable as RGV Ki Aag, but it comes quite close to being a total creative disaster.
Skewed camera angles, frenzied cutting, a loud and persistent background score, inept acting all around and a hopelessly facile screenplay reduce the film to a Satya wannabe that sadly doesn’t have a chance in hell of achieving its ambition.
Satya 2 does not have a single character that is half decent – one that the audience can relate to and empathise with.
There is no Bhikhu Mhatre here nor is there a Kallu Mama, who might have pulled this numbingly dull film out of the trough.
The male protagonist (Puneet Singh Ratn) – he is called Satya again – arrives in Mumbai from an unspecified village and sets out to rewrite the rules that govern the Mumbai underworld.
The old gang lords have all either been exterminated or have gone into hibernation. Our hero, a guy with no past who has nothing to lose except his scowl, steps into the breach.
He decides that the time has come to not only learn from the mistakes that the mafia dons of yore had committed but also to put new whiz-kid theories into practice.
He believes that crime without a clear-cut cause is destined to fail. So he plans to weed out all distortions from the system. He figures out that can only be done by shedding gallons of blood.
Operating from the shadows, he sets up a nameless crime syndicate that operates on corporate lines and unleashes a string of unprecedented challenges for the police force.
A narrator is at hand to provide laboured justification for the hero’s violent acts. The ‘voice’ would have us believe that being bad isn’t all that bad when one has a good enough reason.
Cliché is piled upon inane cliché as the underworld’s new star seeks to stamp his authority on the city of Mumbai.
While this Satya is at it, he also has ample time to woo his lady love (Anaika Soti) and marry her.
The man’s romantic persona is certainly more palatable than the crabby one, but it is just as utterly unconvincing as his meteoric rise in the underworld as the ruthless nemesis of the rich and powerful.
The bravado of the male protagonist rings completely hollow because his motivations are barely established. As a result, his bluster comes across as complete balderdash.
The new film, as is obvious, has little in common with Satya. Let alone match the former’s enormous impact, Satya 2 does not even hold together as a simple story of crime and retribution.
The 1998 gangster drama had guts, gore and lots of bheja. This one is brain dead. It offers plenty of sound and fury that never rises above the resultant deafening din.
In other words, Satya 2 is too hackneyed and heavy-handed to be entertaining.
The cast is led by Bollywood first timers who have light years to go before they can be deemed fit for the onerous task of carrying a two-and-a-half hour film on their shoulders.
Puneet Singh Ratn sports designer attire but has an unkempt look. He wears a permanent grimace and spouts his lame lines with studied gruffness. He arouses neither fear nor awe.
The lead actress, Anaika Soti, has little to do besides dancing in slow-mo musical set pieces and exhibiting her assets. They do not quite add up.
Run for cover and give Satya 2 a miss. It is a whimper for there is no bang in the Satya buck anymore.