Gunday Movie Review by Taran Adarsh

GundayCheck Out Gunday Movie Review by Taran Adarsh Starring Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor and Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar.

Here’s a short and sweet message for lovers of masala movies: Rejoice! For, Yash Raj’s latest offering GUNDAY, directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, more than lives up to the hype and hoopla associated with the movie.

A couple of masala fares that released last year were spiceless, borrowing the age-old template to woo moviegoers of all ages. GUNDAY, which also falls in the same genre [masala], has an attention-grabbing premise, well-etched-out characters, high-octane drama, is generously peppered with vibrant songs and energetic action pieces, boasts of defining performances from the principal cast and of course, is an entertainer. In short, GUNDAY is for those who relish and celebrate masala cinema.

After attempting a light-hearted entertainer like MERE BROTHER KI DULHAN, Ali Abbas Zafar does a complete U-turn, taking you back in time [1970s Calcutta], narrating a dynamic story of two orphans and their bromance. Yes, of course, it is age-old formula, but Ali makes sure he reinvents it with flourish, serving the formula in a contemporary format. GUNDAY is designed as an entertainer and it serves it all unabashedly.

When they ran to save their lives for the first time, they were mere 12-year-old boys and the world called them refugees. The war of 1971 gave birth to a new country — Bangladesh. It also gave birth to two young orphans — Bikram [Ranveer Singh] and Bala [Arjun Kapoor]. They witnessed the war and its aftermath, where the world tried to trample over them. Fighting for survival, they clung to each other and escaped to Calcutta.

Before they knew the world, they knew each other. Such was their bond, such was their friendship. In the years that passed, Bikram and Bala became Calcutta’s most loved, most celebrated, most reckless, most fearless and most powerful gunday. Nandita [Priyanka Chopra], the most beautiful cabaret dancer, walked into their lives. They fell head over heels in love with her. But that was only a blissful lull before an impending storm…

Enters ACP Satyajeet Sarkar [Irrfan Khan], the right for every wrong, a law for every outlaw and a counter force for Bikram and Bala. What happens next?

First things first! GUNDAY is smartly penned, lavishly mounted and sharply edited… and it carpet bombs the spectators with every trick in the book. The bromance, the romance, the gunday versus cop clash, the burst of colors, the unpredictable screenwriting coupled with smart lines, the spray of bullets… the director, who has also penned the film, makes sure he leaves his stamp all over the film.

There are interesting twists in the narrative and though the viewer might feel he knows what’s going to transpire next, the writing catches you by complete surprise as a brand new twist comes to the fore. On the flip side, the film is bloated in length and could’ve had a shorter run time, especially in the second half. The penultimate portions in particular could’ve done with trimming. It’s prolonged for no reason. Also, a few twists tend to get repetitive, but the very next episode makes you forget the defect.

The DoP bathes each and every frame in lush colors. The usage of colors during the intermission point, when the twist in the tale happens, is striking. The action sequences are lively, with the violent scenes never going overboard. The soundtrack [Sohail Sen] is wonderful. ‘Tune Maari Entriyaan’ is, without doubt, the hot favourite. ‘Jashn-e-Ishqa’ and ‘Asalaam-e-Ishqum’ are lively compositions and sync well in the scheme of things. Dialogue are striking and at places, clapworthy. As a matter of fact, each department seems to have worked really hard and in consonance to realize the director’s vision on celluloid.

The four pivotal characters — Ranveer, Arjun, Priyanka and Irrfan — vie for top honours. However, the show belongs to Ranveer and Arjun. The firecracker bromance is the mainstay of the enterprise. Together, they create one of the best on-screen jodis that would make it really difficult to erase from public memory. Both are pitch perfect in their comprehensively defined characters, although Ranveer’s character has a slight edge. Those who felt that Priyanka had been elbowed out of the race will eat their words back once they watch GUNDAY. For, the actress is in top form, delivering an elegant performance and matching steps with the male leads. Watch out for the sequence when she confronts Arjun. She’s super. Irrfan, as always, is in superb form, fitting the role to the T. Saurabh Shukla and Victor Banerjee stand out in their respective parts. The child artists enacting the parts of young Bikram [Darshan Gujar] and Bala [Jayesh Kardak] are remarkable. Pankaj Tripathi and Manu Rishi appear in cameos. Anant Sharma [as Himanshu] is perfect.

On the whole, GUNDAY has a credible story to tell, is packed with unexpected twists that keep you on the edge and offers entertainment in large doses. This racy, gripping masala fare is sure to hit the pot of gold at the box-office!

Rating: 3.5/5

  1. cr7 10 years ago

    Hilarious review of Highway.


  2. Author
    aryan 10 years ago

    Gunday Movie Review by Raja Sen

    Gunday is utter garbage

    ‘Director Ali Abbas Zafar has directed a monstrous film, one with a repellent 70s-set storyline that makes no sense whatsoever, and a cast who should all hang their heads and offer up a minute’s silence for assaulting their respective filmographies,’ says Raja Sen after watching Gunday.

    Gunday is the sort of film some people may mistakenly call a bromance.

    There is, however, nothing bro-tastic at all about this loud and slow-motion actioner, a film that tries hard to be old-school but proves only that its makers need to be schooled.

    This is, as a matter of fact, a more blatantly homoerotic film than any in our history. If you’ve played a little nudgenudgewinkwink at Sholay subtexts, your mind will explode when the Gunday leads — with coaldust blown into their faces by a guy about to kill them — look at each other and… well, pucker.

    That’s right, these two are always on the verge of jumping each other’s bones. Chests shaven, oiled and heaving — in sickeningly slow-motion — Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor consistently look at each other with maddeningly lusty eyes.

    Theirs is a physically demonstrative friendship, to the extent that whenever Ranveer hugs Arjun he sinks his face into the nape of Arjun’s neck, and when they are both aroused by the sight of Priyanka Chopra inserting herself into a classic song, the sexiest in Hindi film history, they feel the need to immediately hold each other’s hands.

    It coulda been a progressive film if it wasn’t constantly trying to call itself macho.

    They could have called it Gun-Gay but that’d mislead us into believing this could be a quieter film.

    Not so, ladies and gents, not so.

    Director Ali Abbas Zafar has directed a monstrous film, one with a repellent 70s-set storyline that makes no sense whatsoever, and a cast who should all hang their heads and offer up a minute’s silence for assaulting their respective filmographies. This is garbage.

    Now, some of the films of the 70s and 80s — those loud and over-the-top actioners with wicked zamindars and wronged fathers and disabled mothers and avenging heroes — were trashy as hell, but they added up.

    They had solid, meaty plots and, more importantly, they had really good actors as villains being defeated by the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Sunny Deol and Sunny Deol’s dad.

    These were men with great presence facing off against solid actors who made careers out of being evil, and the meaty plot — the twists and turns of which would always take more than a few lines to summarise — only made them more fun.

    This has none of that, with a plot thinner than sliced cheese, hacky characters and actors who don’t know what to do with themselves.

    Ranveer and Arjun essentially play a couple of gangsters — and very repressed men in love with each other who get off seeing each other do Baywatch runs — who find everything going for a toss when a heroine walks in on them with their dhutis up.

    Neither is in love with the girl, but both overcompensate, playing a game of chicken as they clinch each other tighter. That, in a nutshell, is all there is to it.

    Meanwhile Irrfan Khan, who apparently gets paid pretty good money for films these days, does his bit and says a few lines and makes them count.

    He isn’t around much, but if bilge like this helps actors like him make a buck, long may he spend counting out his money.

    Naturally, the two idiots fight over the girl. And it is in the film’s asinine second half, where they stop embracing and start yelling at each other, that it becomes clear these aren’t heroes at all.

    They might be the best looters of coal this side of Dhanbad, and may have amassed a fortune — wealthy enough to buy anything but shirt-buttons, clearly — but these are two villains in the lead roles, two villains lacking the charisma to be the main baddies.

    Basically, we’re seeing a three-hour film featuring the kinda guys who’d take orders from Sadashiv Amrapurkar or Amrish Puri to go get biffed by Sunny paaji.

    Somewhere in this mess is Priyanka Chopra, looking like a bobble-head and making about as much sense.

    Her commitment to the part is in the way she sashays, and while she delivers most dialogues better than the boys, she’s given a maddeningly inconsistent character.

    At one point when pushed onto a pile of coal, she falls down straight but in the next shot is lying on her side with her butt stuck out, possibly in the hope that she can Rihanna her way out of a graceless film. (Spoiler: She can’t.)

    The film starts off weak, with accidentally fun moments every now and then — the only one that stayed with me involves Pankaj Tripathi stretching out his arms in a Shah Rukh Khan pose after being shot — and we begin with a couple of annoying kids who refuse to grow up.

    That Bachchan-defining shot, of a child running and kid-legs turning into Amitabh-legs as the camera pulls out, finds many echoes here, but despite many slow-motion opportunities, the running kids exasperatingly enough stay running kids.

    That’s about the only suspense in this film until the two leads finally appear, Ranveer’s nipple bouncing alarmingly.

    Everything goes further downhill from there. These are protagonists who wear white pants with red hearts on the bottom, and yet this film doesn’t pick up on opportunities for irony or kitsch.

    Calling it a throwback seems insulting enough; imagine the Once Upon A Time In Mumbai films without Ajay Devgan, Emraan Hashmi and Akshay Kumar.

    That’s what Gunday is. And Ali Abbas Zafar should have his directorial license revoked for daring to end this godawful film with a Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid finish.

    Rating: Half Star out of 5 Stars.

  3. sputnik 10 years ago

    Gunday Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

    Rating: 2

    February 14, 2014

    Cast: Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Irrfan Khan

    Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

    The nostalgia that Gunday evokes is unmistakably 70s Bollywood. From its best-friends-versus-the-world premise to clap-trap dialogues delivered with clenched teeth and flared nostrils, to the messy hand-to-hand fight scenes…the ingredients are certainly in place. For a while, the film succeeds in grabbing your attention too with its striking period detail and some nicely mounted scenes. But rolling out at 2 hours and 34 minutes, it can’t help feeling like a slog.

    Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor are Bikram and Bala respectively, two buddies who were displaced as kids after the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Fearless and pushed to the wrong side of the tracks, they return to Calcutta becoming petty coal thieves, and then quickly go on to control the local black market. A senior cop (Irrfan Khan) is transferred to the city to “break them”, even as a pretty cabaret dancer (Priyanka Chopra) becomes the object of both their affection, predictably driving a wedge in their seemingly unshakeable friendship.

    It’s all formulaic stuff, and director Ali Abbas Zafar cheerfully pilfers bits and bobs from the best of 70s Bollywood, including Sholay, Deewar, and the Yash Raj banner’s own Kaala Patthar. He gives us slo-mo entries for the protagonists, heroes who swear undying friendship, lofty lines peppered with keywords like jigar and zameer, and just about everything that you’ve seen a hundred times before. The problem with Gunday isn’t only that it’s derivative, but also tediously boring.

    The film’s leading men too, although unquestionably sincere, don’t have the sheer machismo or the sex appeal of such action stars as Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna in the seventies. Don’t get me wrong: Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor sportingly strip down to flaunt their waxed and oiled chests in what turns into an unintentionally comical action scene. The camera caresses their gleaming torsos as they land blows on each other in slo-mo (again!), the whole sequence looking like a deodrant commercial.

    Priyanka Chopra is annoyingly coquettish in her early scenes, but quickly finds her groove, and a few solid scenes to show what she’s got. Expectedly, it’s Irrfan Khan who leaves the lasting impression. Whether plotting against his prey, or reminding another officer not to mix feelings with duty, he chews up the scenery every time he’s on screen.

    Gunday isn’t unwatchable, but it’s certainly a case of potential squandered. The film has an authentic look and feel of 70s Calcutta, some robust cinematography, and a few good tunes. It’s also got two live-wire leading men whose on-screen chemistry sadly isn’t mined for enough laughs.

    I’m going with two out of five for director Ali Abbas Zafar’s Gunday. Watching it is a lot like eating the same thing for dinner four times in a week.


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