Verdict: This crime drama proves to be the baap of all gangster flicks.

Crime as a film genre is both fascinating and dreadful. Gangsters and underworld dons exist and so do the umpteen instances of butchering these masterminds carry out. Bollywood has time and again experimented with films based on real life gangsters and mafias. September 2017 itself will see two gangster flicks Daddy and Haseena Parkar hit the screens. So what is so special about Daddy? This criminal biopic on the life of one of Mumbai’s most dreaded gangsters, Arun Gulab Gawli, is as realistic as it can get. Also unlike many of the other biopics, this one tells the story of a living person, thereby carrying a heavy load of expectations.

Directed by Ashim Ahluwalia of Miss Lovely fame, Daddy tells the story of Arun Gawli (Arjun Rampal) and his meteoric rise in the rough lanes of Dagdi Chawl. The story, narrated in flashbacks by different people at different time frames, begins with the murder of an MLA. Arun Gawli’s long time enemy, Inspector Vijaykar Nitin (Nishikant Kamat), jumps at the opportunity and begins collecting evidence against Arun to avenge a past incident. In his pursuit, the Inspector learns about Arun`s initiation in the crime world alongside Babu Reshim (Anand Ingale) and Rama Naik (Rajesh Shringarpore) – the B.R.A trio – followed by Arun Gawli’s eventual supremacy over Dagdi Chawl and in the Mumbai underworld.

Amidst the sepia tone set-up and narrow bylanes of Byculla and Central Mumbai, the BRA Gang operated their extortions and murders under the aegis of Dawood alias Maqsood, the most powerful don of the 1980s. When Arun Gawli’s most trusted friend Ram Naik gets killed in a fake encounter by Inspector Vijaykar, which Arun suspects to be carried out under the command of Maqsood, he dons a new avatar. As Arun’s power rises steadily, he makes a lot of enemies and consequently takes shelter in jail by getting arrested. But the 1993 riots give him a golden chance to get back to his people and his benevolence towards both Hindus and Muslims during the riots wins the hearts of everyone, leading to his entry in politics. The latter part of the story explains how Inspector Vijaykar leaves no stone unturned and finally gets Daddy imprisoned for life.

Talking about performances, Arjun Rampal has completely nailed it. Right from his look and physique to his body language and accent – everything is just flawless. His prosthetic nose, extreme weight loss and personal conversations with the man himself have definitely helped. Farhan Akhtar as Dawood alias Maqsood is another treat to the eyes. Aishwarya Rajesh as Arun Gawli’s love interest and wife Zubeida delivers an equally powerful act. Though the editing looks a little haphazard and could have been better at evoking emotions in certain scenes, the overall direction and cinematography stand out as they take viewers into the Mumbai of the 80s, 90s and present day, while maintaining the charm of each decade. From retro cars and haircuts to the cabaret of the 80s, everything in the film will remind you of a particular time period. Had the plot-line been a bit tighter and the editing crisper, Daddy would have easily been counted amongst the best Bollywood movies of 2017. Nevertheless, Daddy is still powerful enough to hit the right spot and there is no reason why you should give it a miss.

Why You Should Watch The Movie:

If gangsters and guns interest you, then Daddy will definitely fill your cinematic appetite. Also watch it to witness the human side of a fierce criminal who robbed thieves and killed murderers to ultimately be called as the Robinhood of Dagdi Chawl. Nobody is a born criminal. Watch Daddy to see what turned Arun into one. And lastly, check out the film to see Arjun’s best performance till date.

Checkout this video to discover unknown facts about Daddy.