Director: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Piyush Mishra, Reema Sen, Richa Chadda, Jaideep Ahlawat, Zeishan Quadri, Pankaj Tripathi, Jameel Khan, Pramod Phathak, Huma Qureshi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vineet Singh, Raj Kumar Yadav, Vipin Sharma, Satya Ananad, Yashpal Sharma, Anurita Jha
Synopsis: 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 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. Staying true to its real life influences, the film explores this revenge saga through the socio-political dynamic in erstwhile Bihar, in the coal and scrap trade mafia of Wasseypur, through the imprudence of a place obsessed with mainstream ‘Bollywood’ cinema.
Review: Whenever a director makes a film about gang wars, it’s seldom welcomed with both hands by the masses. However, for a heady mixture of intelligence with crass language, flock to the theatres for Anurag Kashyap’s two-part brainchild, Gangs of Wasseypur.
The film looks at how the uncrowned kings of Wasseypur (a small town in district Dhanbad, now in Jharkand) came to be. In true Anurag Kashyap style this film too reads the psyche of his characters (in this case the small-time robbers who pass on hatred and revenge through the generations).
At the opening scene of the film, we are welcomed to Tulsi’s (Balaji Telefilms’ Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi) gharonda. Soon there is silence – all by a gunshot! Since the script is so well-woven, the history lesson was very engaging, unlike the usual cause of classroom boredom. Each character is introduced separately to the audience in order of their appearance onscreen and hence, analyzed in detail. You may also notice the uncanny resemblance this film’s story has at places to Francis Coppola’s famous crime-thriller, The Godfather – a film that most people hold as a benchmark.
It is the legacy that Shahid Khan (Jaideep Ahlawat) left behind that continues through generations. Ofcourse, part one of the film tells us how Shahid Khan is executed by a man who is power-hungry and wants to continue ruling through his dishonest ways. Hatred and vengeance brings Shahid Khan’s son, Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai) face-to-face with one too many villains in the story until he manages to pacify the upheaval amongst the families. That the film introduces the much-loved director, Tigmanshu Dhulia (Paan Singh Tomar, Haasil) as one of the villains – Ramadhir Singh, is more than just a treat to watch. All his films so far have been amazingly made and with this one he makes his acting debut too. And what a spectacular debut. That said, all the characters were playing their part with much panache. Perfect emotions, love, hate and the jazz. Piyush Mishra fails to disappoint with his role here too. He is the older, mature person throughout the film who is aware of all that transpires with Shahid Khan and then Sardar Khan and his family eventually. The father figure role is attained with absolute perfection. Ik Bagal is a very beautiful song sung by Piyush. It transports you back in time when the only voice you heard was S.D. Burman’s in films. Most songs in the film were good, but the best in the album is Keh Ke Lunga sung by the music director, Sneha Khanwalkar and Amit Trivedi.
Richa Chaddha (seen earlier in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!) as Sardar Khan’s first wife was good in places, except when she expresses extreme emotions, the feeling just lifts off. Reema Sen will be seen after a long time on screen in the role of the wife-turned-vamp. Like a perfect thriller, you won’t know till the end who’s going to turn around and stab you in the back, for it could be one of the few people you can trust with your life.
Finally coming to Manoj Bajpai, well, the guy has more than once proven that he is impeccable with what he does. But here, he gave the aura of Bhiku Mhatrey, 14 years later. Settling right into the skin of the character, for a long time even after the film, he will be Sardar Khan, the Mafia and not Manoj Bajpai, the actor. After 160 mins in the movie, you will come out of the theatre feeling very strongly for him. The film has a part 2 as well, which is now greatly awaited, where Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Faizal Khan) will continue his father’s unaccomplished goal read – maqsad.
The film was a great watch, violent but adorable. There is a strong connection with Indian roots in the film, which explains it’s successful filming at the Cannes Film Festival. It doesn’t earn its adulations through the comic scenes or the frequent cuss words alone. The dialogues are the unseen stars of the film along with Anurag Kashyap’s direction. He proves again that film-making exists in more genres than the feel-good, lovey-dovey, dance-around-trees style. Kasam paida karne waali ki, movies are our passion and when they are superbly made, they are not just seen and forgotten. Don’t you agree?
Verdict: Violent, gory yet adorable. Anurag Kashyap is a Wizard of Oz-some!