3 May 2010 | Peter_Young
Sanjay Dutt's reality show.
The talented Mahesh Manjrekar directs his second feature which centres around the character of a simple guy whose attempts to lead a normal life fail and as a result he becomes a merciless underworld don. Manjrekar's direction is excellent and he successfully depicts the dark tone of the crime world. He offers a grim look at the underworld and not even once does he try to glorify it or show it in a positive light. On the contrary, through the main character he shows how restless those who get involved in it are. The film, though a bit unevenly executed at places, generally remains steadily focused, and the proceedings are raw and serious, without useless attempts at comedy and unnecessary subplots one gets to see so much in Hindi films. Many of the film's scenes are extremely moving.
For the demanding role of Raghunath, Manjrekar casts Sanjay Dutt, one of the industry's most respected and loved stars, yet one of its most underrated actors. Dutt is simply exceptional, portraying every shade of his character with sheer conviction. He actually becomes Raghunath and manages to create a real new screen persona with his line delivery, body language and his often frighteningly serene attitude. This is one of his absolute best. Other cast members do a very good job, with Reema Lagoo delivering the most memorable performance of the lot as Raghu's tormented yet loving mother. Sanjay Narvekar is quite effective as his best friend, while Namrata Shirodkar does a fine job as Sonu, a young prostitute with whom he falls in love.
Vaastav is not without its flaws. I, for one, found Raghunath's transformation far too quick to be completely believable. The film, though generally gritty, intense and matter-of-fact, gets at times a bit too emotional and consequently the level of its authenticity is thus reduced by a iota. Nonetheless, the film's final scenes are powerful and riveting and the very last scene is fantastic. Do watch Vaastav, mainly to see Sanjay Dutt's performance.