Producer: Viacom 18, Anurag Kashyap and others
Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Starring: Kalki Koechlin, Neil Bhoopalam, Rajeev Khandelwal, Guldhav Devaiya, Shiv Pandit, Kirti Kulhari and others
Rating: **** of 5 (4 of 5)
Pros: Fast-paced movie, good dialogues and some acting from Khandelwal
Cons: Unexceptional story, narrative can be confusing at times
Kalki Koechlin seems to have perfected the art of acting crazy. Being co-producer Anurag Kashyap's favourite, she seems to be the best-suited actor today for encating characters who have gone light in the head. That said, she has managed to make her mark and Shaitan is another feather in her cap.
Amy (Kalki), a forlorn teenager who misses her (dead) mother, meets some new (rich) friends. They paint the town red and wreak havoc in the name of fun, until one incident turns everything upside down. In the mean tine, Arvind Mathur (Rajeev Khandelwal), and inspector who has his own way of dealing with thugs, is besieged by a wife who loves him and hates him at the same time. And all it takes is one freak accident for their paths to cross.
Apart from Kalki, Rajeev's acting stands out. Without very few dialogues, he manages to say quite a lot! With his sidekick in tow, the story of finding five missing friends might not sound very unique for a movie. However, Shaitan's fast pace is what keeps the movie alive. Agreed, the first fifteen minutes or so could have been better, but it picks up dramatically after that. At no point of time will you be bored - everything is just changing so fast!
The supporting actors put up a good show, although Tanya (Kirti Kulhari) could have had a better entry. A girl who is so emotionally weak should not have such a strong, overbearing entry. That said, her role in the movie was mostly secondary till the end. The costume design lacked imagination though and the songs were not particularly great. Shockingly, the best part of the promo, a remix of Hawa Hawaii, does not feature in the film!
If you're a film connoisseur, Shaitan is not for you. It's not exceptional in anyway. But if you just want to watch a good movie, rest assured that it fits the bill. At a slower pace this would have been an instant flop, but the crisp dialogues, Khandelwal's effortless acting and most importantly, the fast pace that never gives you a chance to breather, all ensure that this movie gets my recommendation. Don't watch it with the family, though. (OTFS)