Gangs of Wasseypur Movie Review by Taran Adarsh


Anurag Kashyap is in receipt of enthusiastic evaluations for GANGS OF WASSEYPUR, prior to the film’s theatrical release in India. Subsequent to its unveiling at Cannes this year, GANGS OF WASSEYPUR has harvested buoyant acknowledgment, is fervently anticipated and highly estimated. The film has been prized by assessors for its authoritative and engaging plot, vengeance being its nucleus subject matter.

The stripes connecting mainstream, conventional, profit-making cinema and parallel or corresponding cinema are smudging. The mainstream is being reformulated and the superior thing is that it co-exists comfortably in the present day, thanks to critically acclaimed and commercially successful films KAHAANI, PAAN SINGH TOMAR and VICKY DONOR. The parallel cinema that was once deemed as lackluster is far more fascinating and pleasurable currently. In the last couple of years, diverse categories of movies have surfaced, innovative initiatives are being endeavored, new-fangled stories are being acquainted with.

Anurag Kashyap, who is celebrated for his effort in generating a position in Indian cinema’s forward-thinking space, narrates a classic account of two disputing families set against the milieu of the coal mining groups in Dhanbad. Heightened by strong acts by a gifted and assorted cast, the film is ingeniously narrated and has several power-packed sequences that render you speechless. However, it’s not without its share of blemishes… But more on that later!

Towards the end of colonial India, Shahid Khan loots the British trains, impersonating the legendary Sultana Daku. Now outcast, Shahid becomes a worker at Ramadhir Singh’s colliery, only to spur a revenge battle that passes on to generations. At the turn of the decade, Shahid’s son, the philandering Sardar Khan, vows to get his father’s honor back, becoming the most feared man of Wasseypur.

With so many characters, the account being narrated by a voiceover and the film constantly going back in time, it takes time to get a hang of things initially. The film begins in the center of things and then hauls us back to 1940, where the recounting initiates.

GANGS OF WASSEYPUR has a capricious first half, but the film advances vigorously post intermission. There’s never a tedious moment in the second half of the gangster epic, the plot throws a number of disclosures at you, it dribbles with visual style, laces up with commanding, acidic and witty lines… with Rajiv Ravi’s camera moving incessantly. In fact, there’s so much that Anurag invests in the movie. Clearly, he has that streak of courage that very few film-makers in Mumbai pride themselves in. But there’s a flipside too: The screenplay could’ve been crisper and taut. It slackens sporadically [in the first hour specifically]. Most importantly, the excessive run time makes you fidgety, even though the content leaves you mesmerized and captivated on numerous junctures.

Also, you ought to have a really strong stomach to absorb a film like GANGS OF WASSEYPUR. The generous usage of expletives/cuss words, the gruesome violence, the repugnant visuals can prove to be disconcerting to an oblivious spectator. In fact, it’s not your regular Bollywood entertainer. It’s not like anything the Hindi moviegoer has ever witnessed. That’s precisely why one should enter the auditorium cognizant of the fact that he/she is going to witness something absolutely contradictory to what he/she has been subjected to for eons. Let me, at this juncture, put you on alert that GANGS OF WASSEYPUR is not for the faint-hearted or lily-livered. But if you are in a mood to experience something diametrically diverse, chances are you may come out feeling elated and ecstatic.

The soundtrack of GANGS OF WASSEYPUR will be remembered as the reappearance of small-town folksy music in a contemporary avatar, though it can be assumed that the music is vastly experimental. Deep respect for music director Sneha Khanwalkar for merging folk music with fashionable sounds to exactitude. Though hard to choose the best one, ‘O Womaniya’ and ‘Jiya Ho Bihar Ke Lala’ certainly stand out, ‘Kehke Lunga’ is also a frontrunner. Besides, ‘Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki’ and ‘Salaam-E-Ishq’, the evergreen tracks from yesteryear hits, are smartly placed in the narrative.

BANDIT QUEEN, SATYA, ZUBEIDAA, AKS, PINJAR, 1971, SWAMI, RAAJNEETI and LANKA are some of the performances of Manoj Bajpayee which are, for eternity, committed to memory. The skilled actor now adjoins GANGS OF WASSEYPUR to this imposing listing, wherein Bajpayee appends incredible value and weightage to the intense character he depicts. His presence illuminates every sequence that he emerges in and compels you to esteem the actor with amazement.

The other performance that takes you by surprise is that of Tigmanshu Dhulia. An accomplished director, this film makes you open your eyes to the fact that he’s an incredible actor as well. So strong is his screen charisma that he is in possession of every frame he features in. Both Richa Chadda and Reemma Sen have meaty roles, but Richa is the definite discovery. She is simply brilliant from the very inception. Reemma is in terrific form, essaying a difficult part with flourish.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is first-rate and one presumes, one would get to see more of him in the second installment of the movie. Ditto for Huma Qureshi, who’s introduced much later in the film. She’s wonderful in the sequence when Nawaz attempts to get a little extra comfy with her. Piyush Mishra, as always, is hugely competent. Jaideep Ahlawat is another actor who leaves an indelible impact. He’s fantastic! Jameel Khan, who features prominently with Manoj Bajpayee all though, is effective. Pankaj Tripathi is in terrific form. Note the flare-up at the marriage. He’s fabulous! Vipin Sharma gets into the skin of the character and delivers a wonderful performance. Vineet Singh, who portrays Manoj’s elder son, is perfect. Yashpal Sharma appears in a cameo. Anurita Jha gets minimal screen presence in this first part.

On the whole, GANGS OF WASSEYPUR symbolizes the fearless new Indian cinema that shatters the clichés and conventional formulas, something which Anurag Kashyap has come to be acknowledged for. It has all the trappings of an entertainer, but with a difference. The film prides itself with substance that connects with enthusiasts of new-age cinema. But, I wish to restate, one needs to have a really strong belly to soak up to a film like GANGS OF WASSEYPUR. Also, this striking movie-watching experience comes with a colossal length and duration. The reactions, therefore, would be in extremes. GANGS OF WASSEYPUR is for that segment of spectators who seek pleasure in watching forceful, hard-hitting and gritty movies.



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