An epic called ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ – Movie Review (No spoilers)

  • Rarely, does a Hindi movie manage to attract international critics as well as the ‘mass’ Indian audience.
  • Rarely, has an Indian director compared to the likes of Quentin Tarentino and Francis Ford Copolla – and that, by international film critics at Cannes.
  • Rarely, does a film have so many strong characters, and portray each one without compromising on the strength of characterisation.
  • Rarely, does a movie like Gangs of Wasseypur ever get made.

A section of my fellow conversationalists might beleive that I am pushing the envelope here with my opinion on Gangs of Wasseypur. But I will still hold ground. Gangs of Wasseypur is a movie that you want to watch again, for a second time, probably the third – because each time you feel you are able to connect the dots a little better. The slight nudge, the muted reactions, the deeper reasons and the hidden intentions. It is like an epic that unfolds itself – thread by thread.

If you like GOW1, you are probably going to like GOW2 even more. If not for the cinematic experience itself, you will love it for the characters. They have a way of endearing themselves to you. Even though they may be negative. In the past, there have been movies where negative roles ‘rocked’ because the characters were overtly negative and perhaps even repulsive. GOW takes ‘the middle path’ – perhaps making sure that ‘grey’ characters are loveable – simply because of who they are. And Anurag Kashyap has managed to do this without broaching or preaching morality. Quite commendable in a country with a ‘holier than thou’ audience like ourselves.

If Manoj Bajpayee’s portrayal of ‘Sardar Khan’ in GOW1 gave you a sense of familiar brilliance, you have fresh brilliance to contend with in GOW2. ‘Faizal Khan’ (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is flawless. While the performances of virtually all actors was excellent (and that again, is rare), one performance that still managed to stand out – is that of ‘Definite’ – played by Zeishan Qadri, incidentally also the script-writer of the film. I found this interesting piece about the evolution of the script (and the script-writer) on wikipedia which is worth a read:

“..and started writing a concept note for a film based on real-life incidents in Dhanbad. On May 30, 2009, he sold the concept to Anurag Kashyap, who he had been chasing for about a fortnight.Quadri’s deal was simple. He would write the script and play the character Definite, a key character in the second part of the two-part film.[6] In 35 days, he produced a script of 140 pages, which read like a novel. Anurag didn’t want to leave out any detail therefore it was decided that Gangs of Wasseypur would be made in two parts, a story that would span several decades and generations, from 1941 to 2009. Zeishan Quadri brought the real story of gang war, involving the coal mafia, on big screen with Gangs of Wasseypur.”

A strong, impactful and deeply influential performer int he movie is the music. For a script with strong characterization, it is the music of GOW which adds character to the script itself. Sneha Khanwalkar, is in my opinion, an absolute rock-star (and I mean don’t mean the genre!). She has the ability to get immersed and get her listeners immersed along with her. True genius. Being authentic without belonging to a certain place is a skill that she seems to have mastered (a case in point being the music of ‘Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye’, also by the same lady). Personally, I liked the music of GOW1 better than GOW2, but Sneha – beating your own record is totally permissible! 😉

A close friend attributes my fondness for the movie to the “relatability” factor. He thinks I like Gangs of Wasseypur so much because I spent 4 years of my engineering in the state. I beg to differ. I like the movie because it is a piece of art. Period.

Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5.

2 thoughts on “An epic called ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ – Movie Review (No spoilers)

  1. Brilliant!
    Absolutely true. This movie is a piece of true genius and no compromises…it has been portrayed without any bias or prejudices of “what the public wants” and has been narrated of how Quadri wanted to narrate it…That’s why it has got this unique appeal…

    And you’re right about the “relatability” factor…I have lived in the region of Dhanbad for almost quarter of a century and know this story of “Ramadhir Singh” and his rise to power in Dhanbad like the back of my hand…so that should have worked against the movie (me knowing the story)…Instead, the movie just made me forget all that…

    It is a much needed fresh breath to Indian Cinema…a lot of directors in the past have used the term “honest” for their efforts and movies…well, they should now make this movie a benchmark and must think twice before labeling any other movie as honest…this one epitomizes honesty in all areas movie making – story, script, acting, music, direction, editing…
    I can go and on in its praise…but then… just two words will also do the job – “Absolutely Brilliant”

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