Films | GANGS OF WASSEYPUR – Movie Review


Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on June 22, 2012 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Sunil Bohra, Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Ajay Rai (co-producer)

DIRECTOR – Anurag Kashyap

WRITER – Akhilesh Jaiswal, Anurag Kashyap, Sachin K. Ladia, Syed Zeeshan Qadri

CAST – Manoj Bajpai, Richa Chaddha, Huma Qureshi, Reema Sen, Jaideep Ahlawat

MUSIC – Sneha Khanwalkar

As Indian (read Hindi) cinema struggles to find its own voice and identity a consistent crop of formuladefying films inform the question, ‘Is our cinematic identity more about texture than stories?’ It will probably take a few more years and films to answer that but Gangs of Wasseypur, on the heels of Paan Singh Tomar, Kahaani, Shanghai and more makes it a question of immediate import.

Put simply, Gangs of Wasseypur is a revenge saga set in the coal-mining district of Dhanbad that spans over sixty years. It is split in two parts, (with both parts releasing within a gap of each other.) and probably this gives it the length and breadth to explore the histories and travesties of the families of Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai) and Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia). It takes its time to create unique nuances of characters and setting while merrily investing enough quirk and cinematic referencing to make the experience full-bodied. Therefore, while the film creates unconventional heroes, heroines and villains it pays homage to everything from Mithun, Scorsese, Amitabh Bachchan and Coppola’s films.  Pitched as a masala entertainer and promising the same, the film invests a lot in its quirky ambience that reflects in the cinema-obsessed milieu. If cinema is a passionate connect for the Wasseypurites so it is for us and it doesn’t fail to delight.

For Anurag Kashyap, the poster boy of serious cinema, it’s an unlikely film he seems to have made. This time round, he trades darkness for humour and drama to clever effect, never diluting the tension and never trivializing the intent. He uses Sneha Khanwalkar’s rebelliously heady music in a very different manner adding the crunch to the already spirited pace of the film. Piyush Mishra and Varun Grover’s imaginative yet earthy lyrics combined with Sneha’s intuitive sense of sounds and timbre creates an entire off-centered world of their own. Wasik Khan creates a Wasseypur that may or may not be true to the original but is real enough for the sore-with-gloss eyes. Then we have performers cast for their talent flaunting their best and the package is far richer than we are used to. Manoj Bajpai’s, randy, vengeful, part-foolish, part-wily Sardar Khan stands out, as does Richa Chaddha as his wife Naghma. Nawazzuddin Siddique’s presence is searing as is the anticipation of his role in Part-2. Jameel Khan, Reema Sen and Tigmanshu Dhulia fortify the film even more.

For a film of epic proportions, Gangs of Wasseypur suitably pays its tribute to the entire genre it belongs to. Leave alone the referencing, direct and indirect, it takes the masala genre of revenge and turns it around to give us as much masala as we are used to but as a dish differently spiced. If this is a mark of our cinema changing, it should be incredibly interesting to wait and watch for how it develops from now on. In the meanwhile, we have part-2 to watch out for.

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