Blasting coal mines, mean butchers, seamless weaving of pre/post independance montages, lecherous & humours Biharis, firebrand womaniya, dark alleys of Bihar - everything is just so perfect to the minmum detail. Everything is presented in a way we have rarely seen before. And with finest bunch of the actors, Anurag Kashyap has his handful of the best formula for cinematic brilliance. But, the problem starts when AK goes self indulgent way. No, its not bad to do so, but when it makes the pace suffer, there IS a problem. Gangs Of Wasseypur has its own sparkling moments, but as well as its own flaws that hinders it from being a MASTERPIECE, a document on mafia / gangster movies.
The movie starts off in a mind 'blowing' way, literally. But soon you realise, the first scene itself is overdone. You just lose the count and wonder when the gunshots will be stopped. And, surprisingly, after all these bam-bang-boom, the goons don't even care to check whether the task is accomplished ! (No, the 'call' doesn't count). Maybe, 'Bihari' silliness that is. But soon the story goes right on track when it visits the pre-independence era - year 1941, and its a treat to watch the story unfolding in non-traditional way (animation and all) narrated by Piyush Mishra. Train robberies, coal mine labors and bandits. Add Piyush Mishra's songs, it gives altogather gives a different feel. Wonderful use of the song 'Ik Bagal'.
'Bees saal saad' - yes, after 20 years, we meet THE Sardar Kha. 'The' - because the character is SO influencing, you just can't wash it off your head after hours of watching the film. Played effortlessly by Manoj Bajpayee, Sardar Khan is the backbone of GOW. And the rivalary is befittedly played by Tigmanshu dhulia. As Ranadhir Singh, you start to believe he is the ORIGINAL goon and not just a character. But, just when you start enjoying the 'dushmani' - you realise there is lack of tension in this rivalary. Less moments of something concrete happening on the screen, and that too - despite of the fact that there are number of things going on in the narrative. That, confuses the viewer.
Even in the second half, the empasis on bigamy of Sardar and too many things going on at Wasseypur and Dhanbad, mars the pace. But again, its a treat to watch Sardar Khan with his second womaniya, Bangalan - Durga. More humour and Bollywood references (that I always love) are there in the second half that without much effort, entertains and holds your attention. And this half has some best scenes of the movie - example - that epic scene where Sardar Khan openly challenges Ranadhir Singh, on megaphone, while playing 'Kasam Paida Karne Waale Ki' in the background.
Tehnically, there are no complaints. It's brilliant in all aspects, striking shots (by Rajeev Ravi) of mine blasts, rivers, lakes and 'womaniya's. (nuff to hold your attention). The songs, take the narration forward without much effort, something that AK has mastered, always. But somewhere, it feels bit out of place. For example, while 'Keh Ke Loonga' is being played in background, there isn't much tension on the screen unlike that feel when you just hear the track. There is this one long shot of a jeep passing on the road (numerous of such, actually) and the song is played, wasted. But barring one-two sequences, songs are masterfully used. Womaniya-being the best of the lot. Sneha Khanwalkar's soundtrack is inseparable part of the film.
Throughout the film, I loved how Piyush Mishra remains low profile. The silent spectator, and still as effective as ever. Jaideep Ahlawat, as Shahid Khan who propels the movie, is fanstastic to watch. Wish there was more scope for him. While, that familiar face, who assists Sardar Khan in butchering people - is excellent (who's that guy?), Sultan Khan played by Pankaj Tripathi, is I feel, under written. (or may be he will be more effective in second part?). Somehow, here, i missed Abhimanyu Singh. (Remember how effective he was in Gulaal and Rakhtacharitra?!)
And oh, Womaniya !! Ah, womaniya !! GOW would've never been the same without its Womaniyas. Be it the firebrand Nagma (Richa Chadda) or the sultry Bengal tigress - Durga (Reemma Sen) or the Permission girl, Huma Qureshi. In already crowded Wassepur, they make their own place and leave mark. All of them are part of the finest moments of the film. And epic lines. Lets see where are they heading in the second part. Oh, and in the second part, I am betting on Nawazzudin Siddique. He did not get much screenspace in this part, (but whatever he does, he impresses) but heard he is THE one in the second installment. Can't wait to see more of him.
Phew, nuff of all the rambling. This is perhaps not the best from whatever Anurag Kashyap has given till date. Despite length, editing and pace being its issues at places, still there are factors that makes the movie an experience. An experience to remember for its execution, its lavishly large storyboard and the inseperable characters. Gangs Of Wasseypur - is a must watch even if you are not a fan of the genre.
Tags : Gangs of Wassepur movie review, anurag kashyap, dhanbad, piyush mishra, sneha khanwalkar, bombay velvet, rajeev ravi, film review