By Damian D’Souza
Long before RGV Ki Aag and Guns and Thighs, Ram Gopal Varma gave us a masterful Mumbai gangster movie like Satya. Crime films need characters, not caricatures – they need real grime, not artistically recreated versions of it. They don’t make films like Satya anymore.
Years before he flipped out and slid into cinematic insanity, Ram Gopal Varma had all the trappings of… dare I say it… genius. Ramu, who recently went “full retard” with Guns and Thighs and God, Sex, and Truth, once gave us gems like Ab Tak Chappan, Company, Sarkar I. But before all of this – and the reason we can forgive him for RGV Ki Aagand Sarkaar 3 – is the OG Mumbai mafia movie, Satya. The film turns 20 today.
Mumbai’s status as the country’s financial and entertainment capital makes it ground zero for crime, but rarely does a movie do justice to this fabulous seedy side of the city. Suckered in by the possibility of untold riches, with dreams that are chambered to a .45 , young men still flock to the land of opportunity, like moths to a flame. Their meeting with the inevitable facilitated by the khaki-clad grim reaper has been romanticised countless times in books and film. But none has managed to capture the grittiness in all it’s gory glory better than Satya. The mafia milieu perfectly captured by its motley crew of characters that represent the ’90s, a period of time in Mumbai’s mythology when the city was in the throes of a passionate yet violent, torrid affair with shady men with guns, on both sides of the law.
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