Anurag Kashyap revisits his roots with this movie, set in Bihar. ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ was premiered at Cannes to good reviews and carries fairly good awareness back home as well.
Kashyap has even credited prominent Tamil directors Bala, Ameer and Sasikumar (all from Madurai) in the title credits for inspiring him. The Tamil connection doesn’t end here as prodigal composer G.V.Prakash has composed the BGM score for this movie.
The film is basically Sardar Khan’s (Manoj Bajpayee) quest for revenge against Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia), a coal mine contractor in Dhanbad and also Sardar’s long standing inter-community rivalry with the Qureshi clan in Wasseypur. The reason for his motive is the killing of his father, the brave Shahid Khan, by Ramadhir. Sardar has a weakness for women and he isn’t loyal to his first wife Najma (Richa Chadda) and has a second setup with Durga (Reema Sen) as well. He uses the 2 women in his life as ‘child-producing’ machines and has a tough time handling them.
The background narration by Piyush Mishra establishes the scene of action right from the pre-independence times to the times of Shahid Khan to the following decades. The backdrop of the coal mafia adds a relevant historical subtext. The coal mining mafia rules the scene all along. This narration is tough to follow because just too much information is crammed in.
Even though the film traverses many decades, the lead players do not age much particularly Manoj Bajpayee, Richa and Reema
The violence on screen is pretty brutal and raw. The choicest of expletives are used on screen which the audiences seem to enjoy a lot. The songs have just been used to take the plot forward like in other Anurag Kashyap movies. The BGM score by G.V.Prakash is scintillating to say the least. There are so many themes that will impact you. But, just as you keep replaying one theme in your mind, the next one comes and overtakes the preceding theme. Such is his contribution to this movie.
The tone of the movie is raw and real much like the aforementioned Madurai trio’s movies. The humor is all situational and finely woven into the narrative such as the scenes when Manoj Bajpayee woos Reema Sen. In fact Manoj Bajpayee’s character, despite being wicked and crude, makes you root for him with his mannerisms and escapades with the women. He has literally breathed life into the movie with his powerhouse performance and bald looks.
Jaideep Ahlawat as Shahid Khan has terrific screen presence thanks to his manly looks and flowing hair. We even wonder if that is Manoj Bajpayee in a dual role. Perfect casting. Jaideep sparkles during the initial scenes detailing the 1940s when British goods trains were looted by Shahid Khan in the name of the brigand, Sultana Daku.
Reema Sen looks voluptuous and is seducing thanks to the sexy way the saree is draped on her and also due to her eyes. Richa Chadda has her moments when she pours her heart out due to her husband’s flirty ways. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Faizal will play a major role in the sequel and the way he woos Mohsina (the sexy Huma Qureshi) is hilarious.
The trailer of the 2nd part played after this film actually reminds us of ‘The Godfather’, what with the son taking over the reins.
On the downside, the film is too long, there are too many characters, the screenplay isn’t focused and the language in the movie isn’t easy to understand for people who speak colloquial Hindi. English subtitles should have been included in the Indian theatrical release prints as well, like ‘Paan Singh Tomar’.
To conclude, Anurag Kashyap has put his heart and soul into this movie and that shows. His team’s effort is Himalayan. Respects to that. The 2nd part of the movie that will conclude this revenge saga is worth waiting for.
Verdict: Gritty, rustic and raw - this revenge saga is just halfway through.