LOOK MOM, THERE'S A CAMERA IN MY TEA-CUP!
It wouldn't be far-fetched to suggest that every filmmaker (good or bad) has just one or two original ideas reflected in their best work and they spend the rest of their careers either telling the same story in different ways, or then, parodying themselves. Ram Gopal Varma's single plot was about a world devoid of innocence and moral order disintegrating into anarchy and senseless bloodshed. It found fruition in Satya (1998), after which came several versions -- Company, Sarkar, Sarkar Raj, Rakhta Charitra and so on.
At the start of his career, he was labelled a maverick trying to reinvent the game by challenging existing norms both thematically and stylistically. His Factory launched many young filmmakers and actors. Today, his films don't even have proper credits for the technical team -- the camerawork of Department, for instance is credited to the FXS team, and what Varma has described as 'innovative' in interviews, is in fact so incongruous, it seems like the handiwork of film school amateurs out to impress, rather than to service a story.
But then Department doesn't even have a story to tell. It's just a mishmash of crazy camera angles, endless fights and bombastic, sometimes downright vulgar dialogues (divided between Amitabh Bachchan, who is parodying himself as mechanically as Varma is making movies, and Vijay Raaz, who is probably just earning a living) loosely strung together. There are item songs where the dancers are challenging the Censor Board to snip them, but surprisingly survive when so much more is deemed objectionable. There's Sanjay Dutt with a visible paunch still trying to pass off as an action hero and Rana Daggubati with his Telugu twang hoping to impress national audiences.
On the periphery is Abhimanyu Singh playing practically the same character he did in Rakhta Charitra, but with a different name, and his chain-smoking girlfriend who insists she's more man than most men on the planet and pumps endless rounds of bullets into various characters (RGV still hasn't lost his flair for picking the ugliest bunch of extras) to prove her point.
The only questions Department leaves unanswered are, who funds these shockingly bad films (with the threat of a sequel looming over our heads) and why on earth does Amitabh Bachchan continue to patronise RGV?