Every Anurag Kashyap movie has given has something to ponder upon. He has always attempted a wide plethora of themes and more often than not, came out all guns blazing. His success in getting people’s attention is well documented in the fact that “Black Friday” was banned in India for a long period sighting reasons that it might negatively affect the ongoing trial by molding negative public opinion. How many movies can actual boast of receiving such importance in the real world? So when Gangs of Wasseypur was announced, people stamped it as a dark horse and there were discussions, not on whether it would be good or bad, instead the discussions ranged between how good it would be?
Gangs of Wasseypur starts with a marauding gang of assailants attacking an already battered villa. They leave the place considering all inside dead and gone. On the way back they encounter a police picket and within a moment we swoosh back in time. Towards the end of colonial India, Sahid Khan, a Pathan among Qureshis, loots the British trains, impersonating the legendary Sultana Daku of the Qureshis. The Qureshis banish him from the village for his audacity and he ends up working at Ramadhir Singh’s colliery. The Qureshis hardly know that they spurred up a revenge battle that would pass from generation to generation. Sahid is later murdered my Ramadhir Singh sensing a betrayal from him. At the turn of the decade, Shahid’s son, the philandering Sardar Khan vows to get his father’s honor back, becoming the most feared man of Wasseypur and putting an end to the rein of the Qureshis as well as sending Ramadhir sending back to hell. The rest of the film explores this revenge saga through the socio-political dynamic in erstwhile Bihar (North India), in the coal and scrap trade mafia of Wasseypur, through the imprudence of a place obsessed with mainstream ‘Bollywood’ cinema.
After sitting through this mammoth (approx 3 hour runtime) cinematic bonanza, I was completely exasperated. The screenplay had overtaken my senses and long after it was over, all I could think of was how would this tale of revenge end. Yes!! Gangs of Wasseypur will be released in two installments and this is only the first part. The movie leaves us at a point from where you can say “Now the plot thickens !!!”. Having said that, Gangs of Wasseypur still has everything that it takes to give you a compound sense of satisfaction or should I say, a complete movie watching experience. Based mostly on true events, the movie takes an entertaining look at the happening which charecterises the place Wasseypur from a period that dates back to the 40s. The movie at no point of time turns preachy. Neither does it take the characteristic documentary kind of a look at the happenings reminiscent of Black Friday. Rather there is sufficient amount of situational comedy packed in which at many places will leave you rolling out with laughter. That might be a hard fact to fathom considering the theme of the picture but Anurag Kashyap has amazingly pulled off an achievement which is as funny as it is gruesome.
The explicit action and violence will leave many shocked and frankly speaking it isn’t a movie for the faint of the heart. The abusive language, which on the contrary is absolutely apt, will be another sore thumb for those who are looking for good clean family entertainment. The furious verbal onslaught used by both men and women here is something we might not have seen before in Indian cinema. The dialogs and the language contribute much to the endearing charm of the movie as it does to the authenticity. The gags are all situational and are tailored in seamlessly with the proceedings. None of it seems forced or over the top for that matter.
Coming to the performances, Manoj Bajpai delivers a knockout punch in a role that seems tailored made for him. The many shades of Sardar Khan are brought out poignantly by this master artist. Watch out for the sequences where he is caught in a brothel by his wife and the scenes where he woos Durga (Reemaa Sen). The whole movie is laced with such sparkling moments which will continually catch you off guard. Piyush Mishra as the narrator and Farhan, the uncle who raises Sardar Khan is a revelation as always. Tigmanshu Dhulia, powers in a authoritative role as the principle bad guy Ramadhir Singh.
Gangs of Wasseypur has everything going in its favor. It has an astute story, a perfect screenplay, terrific editing and an ensemble cast helmed by a director who refuses to put for a wrong foot. It has Character written all over it and in this week people should throng the theaters for a slice of reality served with delicious and mouthwatering toppings. Don’t forget to grab you bite….