Ramgopal Varma thinks
differently. This time too the maverick film-maker
defies the stereotype and takes to the dense forests of
Sri Lanka to meet an 'unknown' force.
But let's clear the misconception at the very start.
AGYAAT is no supernatural thriller [like PHOONK] or a
horror fest [like BHOOT]. This one's more of an
adventure thriller that doesn't scare you at all, but
makes you a participant in a pulse-pounding journey.
For any movie to succeed, it ought to keep the viewer
engrossed first and foremost. AGYAAT succeeds in doing
that, especially towards the second hour. You haven't
witnessed a journey like the one in AGYAAT on the Hindi
screen before. In the West, the most memorable film I
can think of is THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.
AGYAAT works for several factors. The dense jungle blows
your mind away, the sound design and the background
score are easily at par with international films, the
camera movement is spectacular and of course, RGV's
execution of the material is just right for a film of
But, at the same time, the culmination to the film is
debatable. Of course, one would be doing gross injustice
to the film by revealing the end, but it's bound to have
its share of advocates and adversaries. It might bring a
smile on your face or a smirk, but the fact remains that
the reactions would be in extremes.
A film unit goes for a shoot deep into a forest. They
settle at a place with bare minimal facilities run by a
strange and quirky man called Setu [Joy Fernandes]. The
hero of the film, Sharman [Gautam Rode], is a completely
self-obsessed man with no other concern except for his
muscles and the leading lady, Aasha [Priyanka Kothari].
The team consists of the director [Howard Rosemeyer],
producer [Ishrat Ali], the superstar's spot boy [Ishteyak],
cinematographer [Kali Prasad Mukherjee], action director
[Ravi Kale], second assistant [Rasika Duggal] and an
assistant director [Nitin Reddy].
It all begins when the camera conks off... They have two
days waiting for the replacement to arrive and with no
form of entertainment or communication, when Setu
suggests a camping trip into the forest, they jump at
the opportunity. As they settle near a pond for the
night, Setu hears a strange sound. He goes to
investigate and never returns. After a desperate search,
they discover his dead body.
Panic sets in among the unit members and they jump into
the vehicle, but they being unfamiliar with the terrain
results in an accident. Completely lost and trapped in
the jungle as Setu, the only guy who knows the way out,
is dead, they don't know which way to move to get out of
The first 25 minutes of AGYAAT are very unlike an RGV
film. In a majority of his films, RGV comes to the point
at the very start, but AGYAAT begins with a dream song
[so unlike RGV] and the next 20 minutes are devoted to
introducing the characters.
The film actually takes off when the unit decides to
penetrate into the jungles and Setu is murdered. From
that point onwards, the by-now-famous RGV stamp is
visible in several sequences. The two deaths before the
interval [Joy Fernandes and Ishrat Ali] are brilliantly
executed, especially Ishrat's murder at the interval
AGYAAT becomes an adventure ride in the post-interval
portions. Though it rests on a thin story, it's the
adventure element that drives the film to its
destination. There are deaths galore, but it's not blood
or gore that puts you off. The murders are depicted
very, very differently, leaving a lot to your
RGV experiments again, this time attempting an all-new
genre. It must've been extremely difficult to shoot in
the forests, that's the first thought that crosses your
mind. As mentioned at the very outset, the sound design
[Dwarak Warrier], background score [Amar Mohile] and
cinematography [Surjodeep Ghosh] are top notch. Thee
three names contribute enormously to RGV's vision.
Now to the actors! Nitin Reddy [a star in Telugu films]
makes a first-rate debut in Hindi films. He dances
exceptionally well [the film begins with a dance] and
his confident performance make him an actor to watch out
for. Priyanka Kothari shows vast improvement over her
previous works. She's good this time. Gautam Rode enacts
the hot-headed superstar with conviction.
Every actor in the film makes an impression, but
Ishteyak, Kali Prasad Mukherjee and Rasika Duggal stand
On the whole, AGYAAT has an absorbing second half, but
the culmination to the film would meet with diverse
reactions. At the box-office, the distributors have
recovered a substantial chunk of their investment from
its dubbed Telugu rights and the remainder should be
recovered given its aggressive promotional campaign and
extensive release. The low-cost film, therefore, should
prove to be a profitable venture on the strength of its