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Producer : Adishakti Films
Director:
Mahesh Manjrekar
*ing
:
Sanjay Dutt, Namrata Shirodkar, Mohnish Behl, Ektaa, Deepak Tijori, Shivaji Satam, Reema Lagoo, Paresh Rawal, Ashish Vidhyarthi, Mohan Joshi, and Sanjay Narvekar
Music: Jatin Lalit

Released on : October 15, 1999


Reviewed by: Aniket Joshi
aniket@indolink.com


out of 
Vaastav has the Mumbai underworld as its backdrop. This subject has been dealt with before many times in Hindi films. But rarely is it handled properly. Satya is probably the best underworld film to come out Bollywood in recent years. Vaastav is not flawless like Satya, but it has a gripping storyline, good direction and characterizations, and most importantly - Sanjay Dutt.

The story is about Raghu (Sanjay Dutt), who lives in a chawl with his parents (Shivaji Satam and Reema Lagoo) and his brother Vijay (Mohnish Behl). Raghu doesn’t pay attention to his studies and always hangs out with his friends. Raghu’s father tells him to settle down and do something, either get a job or pay attention to his studies. Raghu persuades his father to lend him money to open up a pav bhaaji stall that he’ll run with his buddies. His father agrees, and Raghu starts working and making money.

Raghu accidentally kills one of his customers in a fight over an unpaid bill. That customer was the brother of a gangster, now Raghu is on the run from the police and the gangster. Through one of his friends (Deepak Tijori), Raghu finds refuge under Vitthal Kaanya (Ashish Vidhyarthi); a rival gangster of the one Raghu is running from. Kaanya turns Raghu into a gangster and a dreaded name in the underworld. Babbanrao Kadam (Mohan Joshi) is a corrupted minister and begins to use Raghu to get rid of people that are a threat to his political career. Raghu meanwhile, begins visiting a prostitute named Sonu (Namrata Shirodkar) whom he later marries. Raghu also gets addicted to cocaine and alcohol.

This is probably the best role Sanjay Dutt has got his hands on since Khal-Nayak, and he takes full adavantage of it. This is his best performance in quite awhile, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets an award for it. He deserves it. Paresh Rawal, though in a guest-appearance type role, manages to make an impact. He plays a broker that settles disputes between rival gangs. Reema Lagoo and Shivaji Satam give good performances as Raghu’s parents. Sanjay Narvekar (he’s Dedfutia, Raghu’s best pal) is pretty good also

What’s different about Vaastav and other films in its genre is that it’s emotional and hard-hitting at the same time. Some of the scenes are very well directed. For example, there’s a scene where Raghu’s father and Raghu breakdown in each other’s arms because of what Raghu has become and there’s no way out for him. The film depicts a grim look at the underworld rather than glorifying it. It shows that even though a gangster stays above the law, how restless he is. That’s why Vaastav is worth watching.

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