Review: Gangs of Wasseypur

Like Raja Sen says on Rediff.com, it hurts to give this a bad review. It must have taken long hard years of unrelated work to be able to make this movie, and sell it. It must have taken a lot of courage throughout many careers to have been able to make this or be in it. All the people involved with this, are people who have been able to make different choices. But…

Truth is this would have been far better as a BBC style series. Even as a series though this one is all show with no heart. A desi version of cool (On one side of the scale is Karan Johar and on the other Anurag Kashyap, we all live in a high school! *sigh*) People mouthed lines that were not unlike lines in Rowdy Rathore, just a little more customized. The story felt tailored, the setting an afterthought. It felt like an outcome of conversation like this:

lets make a movie like this man.

where can we set it in?

Wasseypur would be ideal man. Stuff like this happens there for real dude!

Or something along those lines. Kashyap has long proclaimed that he was inspired by his brother’s movie ‘Dabang’ but looks like he was inspired by a little bit more than that. This is the Indian version of Godfather 1 2 and 3. The story mirrors a lawlessness that resembles the Wild West / Italian Mafia set up. Thankfully one can steer clear of it if one is a common man. The most a common man could suffer in this movie would be if he accidentally came in the line of fire of the hundred thousand bullets unleashed in the movie. Otherwise it is bad guys/ bad guys. And if you don’t consider yourself a bad guy (i.e you don’t own a gun and a bullet and aren’t trying to make money through nefarious means), you are fairly safe in Wasseypur. This kind of intense concentration on the bad guys is what reminded me of Godfather or even Quentin Tarantino movies which are too twisted and filled with dark situational humor to be compared to the straight and in your face Gangs of Wasseypur.

The biggest problem for me is the insincerity of the story and plot. All of Anurag Kashyap’s movies that aren’t literary adaptations feel like silent screams asking desperately for a good story/plot. While ‘Black Friday’ had me clinging on to his side of the fence, the spew of movies that came after that had me running for safety.

To be fair, the movie was quite good in parts but failed to ever come together as a whole. The back stories could have been very interesting to watch except they looked and felt exactly like the front story, and the story lurking on the left aaand the story lurking on the right of the central plot (was there a central plot?). It was more like revenge to the power of generations = Infinite screen time. The Rediff review suggested that many of these back stories could have been fit into well written and well timed dialogues. I still don’t know if that would reduce the factors in the above equation.

The heart, the heart. This movie has a missing heart. Or even a sense of life really. It is only about ‘Revenge’. The background score is great, costumes hit the mark, production design is excellent, and the acting is superlative, especially Richa Chaddha who seems to have a special chemistry with the camera.

On an aside, I should also mention that I really liked watching Pulp Fiction AND Godfather and I am not against the genre whatsoever. But something’s missing in this “Lentil Soup”

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