Anurag Kashyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0 premiered at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight to a rousing reception. The dark, disturbing neo-noir thriller is part of the parallel Directors’ Fortnight, one of the more exciting sections at the 69th Cannes Film Festival.
The director and one of the film’s two lead actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui fielded questions from the audience after the press screening. Four other members of the cast Vicky Kaushal, Amruta Subhash, Shobhita Dhulipala and Anuschka Sawhney were in attendance as well.
Speaking outside the screening venue, Edouard Waintrop, Directors’ Fortnight head and artistic director, described Raman Raghav 2.0 as “classic Mumbai noir”. Taking off from a true story of a serial killer, who terrorized Bombay in the mid-1960s and took a toll of 41 lives, the film tells a contemporary story built on the mind games played by the criminal and a coke-snorting, insomniac police officer.
“For years I had in mind a period film based on the case, but making it would have needed a lot of money,” Kashyap told the audience. “So, we rewrote it as a story set in present times. The film explores the dark side of people and by extension of the society they live in. It incorporates details from the true Raman Raghav case (of half a century ago).”
Siddiqui, who anchors Raman Raghav 2.0 with a powerfully disquieting portrayal of a demented man who kills for the heck of it, had the bound script for five years, Kashyap revealed.
“It was a challenging role,” said Siddiqui. “I had to work hard to get into the mind of a serial killer. Before the shoot, I went away from Mumbai for two days to internalize the man’s thought process. By the end of it, I was at times scared of myself.”
Raman Raghav 2.0, slated for release in India in June, is Kashyap’s third film in five years to make it to Directors’ Fortnight. In 2012, the two-part Gangs of Wasseypur, which also had Siddiqui in a key role, was unveiled in the prestigious parallel section. Given the positive reactions it has garnered in Cannes, Raman Raghav 2.0 seems poised to pull Mumbai’s leading independent auteur out of the Bombay Velvet trough.