'Ho Gaya Publicity' - This single moment of outburst by a don-on-the-downfall (Vijay Raaz) raises good enough chuckle during DEPARTMENT which otherwise hunts for such relief in an over two hour long affair that has an action sequence practically in every 10 minutes. That by the way is a tad too long to digest since one expects a dramatic outing from Ram Gopal Varma instead of a film which only has one action sequence after another.
As for the 'Ho Gaya Publicity' stunt, it is a gem indeed from Vijay Raaz as he reprimands his small time gang members (Abhimanyu Singh, Madhu Shalini) from being overzealous in their approach to take on encounter cops (Sanjay Dutt, Rana Daggubati) who only end up raising further heat on them. The reason why Raaz is not-so-supportive of Abhimanyu-Madhu's misadventures is hinted towards the dying moments of the film (a good story angle, which sadly hasn't quite been nurtured to the fullest) but by then DEPARTMENT turns out to be an extended action affair that could have done with more such one liners and drama.
What is interesting though is the character played by Amitabh Bachchan who never even aims at being menacing and while he neither borders on being the 'Babban' of RGV KI AAG nor the 'Subhash Nagre' of SARKAR, it is his mind games which one does remembers after DEPARTMENT is through. The problem though again lies in the exploitation of this episode as is the case with some genuine twists that are left only at the surface without being churned out to the fullest. There are at least a couple of superb turns that the film takes, both in the first and the second half of the film, but surprisingly Ramu adds such mundane scenes immediately after them that ends up diluting the impact that had just been created.
However the film goes for a toss in the second half as it shifts towards Abhimanyu and Madhu. In particular, the chief culprit here is Abhimanyu who makes one wonder whether he is the same guy who came tops in GULAAL, RAKHT CHARITRA or that menacing cop in 'I Am'. In 'Department', he only ends up being a gangster spoof that just doesn't work. Another spoof is the very item number featuring Nathalia Kaur. Yes, Sanjay introduces it well as the item number it is supposed to be but if the journey around Nathalia's thighs and crotch was the idea behind it then well, a porn clip could have just done the trick.
What works though is Rana Daggubati who stands out as the central protagonist of the film. Convincing and boasting of a good screen presence, Rana shows yet again that he could be the man for the job if put into a dramatic/action genre. On the other hand Sanjay Dutt looks disinterested and if one has to compare this with his last few movies then well, he seemed to have had much more fun even in RASCALS, leave aside AGNEEPATH. Anjana Sukhani, after being short-changed in her earlier multi-starrers like GOLMAAL 3, SALAAM-E-ISHQ, actually finds herself a part of the film from start to finish and does rather well.
Technically speaking though, one has to give it to Ram Gopal Varma for not just attempting but going all out in making sure that not even a single frame of DEPARTMENT belongs to 'seen-that-done-before' style. However that turns to be bane rather than boon because it is this very technology that consumes him in his storytelling. The camera angles are definitely innovative but instead of being an experimentation towards the narrative, they turn out to be the very narrative that only ends up killing that impact that could have been created.
While Ramu must have thought that it would be a good enough reason for majority to check out DEPARTMENT, it only threatens to be a definite put off for most. Add to that a pencil thin storyline on which it bases itself and there is a ticking bomb that ends up exploding on the face of everyone involved.