Gangster films or mob films can be traced back to the 1930s in Hollywood. Having evolved into a sophisticated, sought-after film genre, they enjoy a special allure. Let’s admit. We all love a gangster flick.
Is it the swag? The gorgeous women? The cool cars and the devil-may-care attitude? Perhaps it is the larger-than-life, all absorbing personalities that the on-screen gangsters seem to exude. Maybe, it is the fact that most mob films are rags-to-riches stories about dreams coming true, and rise and fall. Or maybe, it is just the primal human fascination with violence. Our base admiration for someone getting away with something. Or even, the need to the know the story of a man’s devolution, and finding excuses for the crimes perpetrated by the criminal – our need to find hope in the bleakest situations.
Bollywood has long since been obsessed with mafia, mobs and gangsters. Big, bad city swallows up the poor, helpless lad and spits him out as the polished, classy, heartless-yet pain-filled, slick scoundrel. We all know the plot. We all know we adore the plot. What’s more, we all, almost always can guess the climax. But, the hunt is relentless. We won’t give up our perennial pursuit of comprehending the criminal psyche.
As the rakish, rough-hewn protagonist continues to make us swoon, take a look at some of the films that have been immortalized by Bollywood.
A story of a brother who gets sucked in into the vortex of mafia, in order to provide better circumstances to his brother. Tragically though, his brother gets caught in the fray and loses his life.
Allure: Perhaps one of the best works of Vidhu Vinod Chopra if not the best, Parinda steals the cake for truly delving into criminal psychology and deglamorizing crime. It was simultaneously murky, scary and tragic.
Essentially a vengeance story, the original Agneepath starred Amitabh Bachchan as Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, who ends up on the path of crime and grows up to become a feared yet revered underworld don.
Allure: Vijay’s nonchalance and the relaxed, deadpan mannerisms.
A story of Satya (JD Chakravarthy), a simpleton who comes to Mumbai with dreams in his eyes, but ends up getting ensnared in the gritty, dreary world of crime, and joins hands with Bhiku Mahtre (Manoj Bajpai). It shows the degeneration of a man.
Allure: Satya was the first of its kind to essay gangsters as regular men, with regular lives. It deals with crime and mafia clinically, separating the stigma from the reality.
Chandu (Vivek Oberoi) joins Malik’s (Ajay Devgn) gang. As they manage to gain control and supremacy, there are ego clashes. There is jealousy, insecurity, resentment, and finally the fated come-uppance.
Allure: Company cleverly shows how the functioning of gangs and mafia are much like companies and corporations. There are Directors, CEOs, and even mergers. It shows the organized functioning of a seemingly hay-wire institution. The method to the madness, if you will.
Gangs of Wasseypur(2012)
Gangs of Wasseypur, is set in Dhanbad, Jarkhand and revolves around the coal mafia. Amid an atmosphere of politics, vengeance and violence, unfolds a plot that leaves the audience wanting more. With stellar performances byManoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi and Richa Chadda, this 5-hour-long film (Part 1 and 2) has no dull moments.
Allure: Anurag Kashyap’s flawless direction, and his innate ability to impart oodles of style to all his films, manages to give GoW elements of noir. The performances define gangster-chic, with just the right amount of smack and brashness.
Try as it may, humanity can never get rid of crime. This is a genre that is here to stay. Gangster films have us lapping them up and will continue to do so for years to come.
— By Maitreyee Avachat