Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) - Movie Review


Mr. Anurag Kashyap has always been guilty of indulgent film-making; Gangs of Wasseypur (GOW) assumes epic proportions. Wilderness and finesse seldom co-exist; neither do documentaries and commercial cinema blend. But then this is no ordinary movie. If I were allowed to make one comparison, viewing pleasure of GOW is strikingly similar to reading pleasure of 'Catch 22'.

Finally, a truly desi gangsta movie that has every aspect of Hollywood film making that one yearns for. GOW is raw, wild and very vivid in portrayal of rage and hate - animal instincts of humans. 

The Plot: As eminent by the title, the movie follows the gangs and the gang-wars in Wasseypur; a small town in the Coal Capital of India. Shahid Khan (Jaideep Ahlawat) is banished from Wasseypur for looting trains in 1940's; a privilege that the village had exclusively bestowed the Qureshi family. He takes refuge at a coal mine in Dhanbad under the coal mafia head Ramadhar Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia). Shahid secretly aspires to kill Ramadhar, take over his emapire; go back to Wasseypur and kill those that put him out of the town. However, Ramadhar comes to know of his ulterior motives and disposes him off (read, kills him).

Enter Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpayee), son of Shahid Khan with a single point agenda to avenge his father's murder. Before we know, Manoj Bajpayee has two wives and three sons between them and Ramadhar becomes an elected member of the people. The power and control is now divided between 3 parties, the vengeful Sardar khan, the coal mafia Ramadhar and the oppressed members of the Qureshi family. Pankaj Tripathi is cast as Sultan Qureshi, butcher and henchman wanting to kill Sardar Khan.  

The bloody fued for power, ego and vengeance forms the rest of the story. 


Don of Wasseypur
The Review:  The story is based on a exaggerated version of several real stories put together. Zeeshan Qadri, who is the story writer (who also plays a role in the movie) actually hails from Wasseypur.  

The plot isn't the most intelligent or original we've seen in the recent past. However, the success rides on the characters and narration. The movie rides on several protagonists, each of whom is either a Bewakoof (fool), Harami (bastard) or both. And all of them are trigger-stab happy and driven by either rage, hatre or misplaced sense of righteousness. Put in one word, the theme and plot of the movie is CHAOS.



What sets GOW several notches higher than any other desi movie is the raw depiction of this chaos and the finesse in capturing it. It is as though watching a disturbing video on high definition screen and with Dolby surround sound. While the content itself is discouraging, you cannot help appreciate the brilliance with which it is presented.



The casting is perfect and performances are stellar. It will surely be a hard time for the jury at all award ceremonies. I am sure more than half the nominations for the best performances in lead/supporting roles will come from GOW.


Look out for:
As the story is spread over 7 decades and 3 generations, the movie also mirrors the socioeconomic and cultural transformation that India went though during the period. Along the movie, you will notice the transformation from train-robbers to local-goons to armed gangs. 
From dhoti-baniyan to kurta-pyjama to bell-bottoms to polga-dots. 
From knives to country-pistols to hand grenades to automatic pistols. 
From bicycle to motorcycle to jeep to ambassador car. 
From country music to radio, to music bands, to Bollywood and eventually K-Serials.

This transformation blends very well into the narration and sets the stage for changing priorities and also evolution of gang-warfare. 



You better know:
  • At a run time of 5 hour 20 mins (both parts put together, GOW will test your patience for sure
  • With over 350 actors, the movie is easily 100 characters more than what average mind can register. At times one may even wonder, how are the two characters in one frame related to each other and to those that were murdered in the previous scene
  • Be prepared to sit through hazaar (a thousand) gaaliyaan (swear-words). All characters unabashedly pack a mouthful at every opportunity. GOW really makes Delhi-Belly look like a trailer. Even the female protagonists know their adjectives well. 
  • Anurag kashyap likes to leave his movies open ended; without an obvious conclusion. So, even after all the while, it might not all add-up.

Watch Trailer - GOW



My take:
GOW is consistent with Anurag Kashyap style of film making. De-glamorized presentation, humor blends with the script, gripping screenplay and a narrative that is noon-conforming to say the least. It shows when a creative team is let alone to pursue art without much worrying about RoI.

I'm sure Anurag & Co made this movie with the same fervor that Howad Roark would erect his buildings; uncompromisingly.

GOW may not appeal to those that seek definitive conclusion or a social message. Watch it if you like off-beat movies and there's a good chance you may even appreciate it. 


My Rating: 8/10.

Sneak Peak - Gangs of Wasseypur (Part 2): 
I have a strong feeling that GOW could be our very own bihari version of Godfather; a good one at that. However, the director has clarified that the sequel will explore honor, love, friendship and loyalty. Last but not the least, the hidden innocence in the misguided vengeful soul that knows nothing but to kill (source).



Reactions:

3 comments :

  1. Excellent review. You put in as much effort to write the review as much as Anurag might have put in to make the film. Although the film had 20 plus songs, never did I feel that the flow of the film was intervened. Hats off to Anurag for that. Secondly, the characters drive the film but not the story.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Haricharan.

    Yes, I totally agree with you. The characters are the high point of this movie; not the story.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is said that nothing succeeds like success. But to be successful one does need a first break. And when it comes to getting break in Bollywood, only the divine power of influential stars can bring in success. To enter Bollywood is not any easy task and after entering to be a successful artist is all the more difficult in this world of cut throat competition. While many struggling artist turn to astrology to correct their future and chase astrologers to suggest some “REMEDIES” here is a case where astrology chased to a non-believer and pushed him towards success-that too in Bollywood! Now that “GANGS OF WASSEYPUR” has been a hit movie, its debutant writer and actor “SYED ZEISHAN QUADRI” has also tasted success and is now a known name. Zeishan has written script of the movie (Part-I & II) and act as actor in “GANGS OF WASSEYPUR Part-II”.
    http://avshastri.blogspot.in/2012/07/success-story-of-zieshan-gangs-of.html

    ReplyDelete