Mostly 3.5 *s for Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur

25 Jun,2012

Gangs of Wasseypur

 

Directed by: Anurag Kashyap

Produced by: Anurag Kashyap, Sunil Bohra

Written by: Zeishan Quadri, Akhilesh, Sachin Ladia, Anurag Kashyap

Starring: Jaideep Ahlawat, Manoj Bajpai, Richa Chadda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jameel Khan, Syed Zeeshan Quadri, Aditya Kumar, Reemma Sen

 

Anurag Kashyap has annexed the role of rebel against Bollywood and by making dark, violent films, has got himself a following in the indie and festival circuit. But after the excessive Gangs of Wasseypur (Part 2 is coming up), one can only hope he has exorcised the ghost of The Godfather, and can now truly become a chronicler of the times; he has the style, he has the cinematic sensibility, he has to grow beyond a laddish fascination for violence and men who indulge in crude power games.

 

Critics feel duty bound to praise his films, because he dares to go against the rules of Bollywood and thrives; he has edged out Ram Gopal Varma from his prince of darkness pedestal. He also drums up a serious amount of hype. But is there more to him than machismo?

 

The film got mostly 3.5 star ratings, as if critics were shying to give it that extra half star and bring it to the excellent category- so despite the praise, it’s technically just a little above good in the ratings.

 

Raja Sen of rediff.com found it boring, gave it 2.5 and wrote: “It must here be remembered that mob bosses, at least the ones Hindi cinema have accustomed us to over the years, have hardly been an efficient lot. They growl orders, surround themselves by those applauding their every maniacal move, and, intoxicated by their own bluster, proceed to boast about their convoluted plot to the protagonist, resulting in their climactic downfall. It is this look-what-I-did windbaggery that constantly weighs down Wasseypur, a highly competent and occasionally enjoyable product, and keeps it from soaring like it should have.”

 

Anupama Chopra gave it 3 and commented: “Kashyap’s material is strong, but there’s just too much of it. There is so much plot squeezed into the two-hour-forty-five-minute running time that your head swims. We hardly ever stay with a character long enough to get emotionally invested, and a voice-over clumsily interrupts the story to connect the dots. At one point, I was so confused that I longed for a master key booklet to the film that outlined the various factions, relationships and rivalries. The narrative also moves constantly between the personal and professional (murder, revenge and thuggery being the main professions). So the film moves from the enmity track to Sardar’s mistress and at one point even segues into Sardar’s son’s Bollywood-inspired romance-over-Ray-Bans fantasy. It’s indulgent and much too long.”

 

The 3.5 club included Rajeev Masand of IBN: “Filmed crisply, without any gimmicks by Rajeev Ravi, Gangs is both steeped in cinematic tradition, yet modern in its treatment. You’re especially seduced by the way Kashyap blends the songs into his narrative, often using them against the film’s most visceral, violent scenes. A big thumbs-up for composer Sneha Khanwalkar who goes all guns blazing to deliver a marvellous mixed-bag of a soundtrack that contains such irresistible gems as I am a hunter and Keh ke loonga. Bolstered by its riveting performances and its thrilling plot dynamics, this is a gripping film that seizes your full attention.”

 

Karan Anshuman of Mumbai Mirror (3.5) wrote: “Gangs of Wasseypur is the kind of film you will have to watch in a theatre. You absolutely need to be sitting in the dark with no volume control to enjoy what Kashyap throws at you without a care of turning down the noise of gunshots and explosions, without exposing your expressions of guilty pleasures to others as a crude seduction scene plays out. The digressions – though merited – are one too many and this greatly affects length. Its lack of coherence may not work for everybody. Its runtime didn’t even work for me. That’s the only flaw here: it’s just too long.”

 

Vinayak Chakravorty, Today (3.5), raved: “Anurag’s new film, first of a two-part saga, repositions The Godfather lore with a hardy Bihari twist. You spot tribute nods to Tarantino, Scorsese and Sergio Leone all along, as the film leaves you dizzy with its wanton celebration of the gory and the immoral. But Anurag isn’t aping the western masters. He wholly turns every inspiration into an original cinematic statement as the reels roll. In that sense, GOW comes across as a crossover film in the truest spirit of the term – juxtaposing global influences onto a desi gangland canvas, and setting off masala basics within a believable premise.”

 

Madhureeta Mukherjee of the Times of India (3.5) gushed: “This one’s a gang bang. Sorry, make that a gang bang-bang; because that’s how this story explodes – with bullets, blasts and bust-ups. Throw in gallons of blood, body-counts and ‘boom-boom’, true Bihari ishtyle. It doesn’t need coal to fuel this revenge drama. It fires on Anurag Kashyap’s penchant for the dark, dubious, deadly and daring.”

 

Blessy Chettiar of DNA (3.5) commented: “There are times the self-indulgent ghost of That Girl in Yellow Boots wanders around Wasseypur, with seemingly pointless gore and montages eating into precious screen time. Many a time the camera wanders aimlessly, on severed heads and pretty faces. The changing history of Dhanbad at its centre, over a dozen important characters, a web of plots and subplots moving deftly to a to-be-continued finale, can leave you exhausted and confused.”

 

Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV (3.5) wrote: “The saga tosses and turns convulsively from one shootout to another as a bunch of amoral human bloodhounds sniff around for their next kill in a volatile, lawless landscape. The unbridled violence and fetid language – the expletives fly as thick and fast as the bullets – are, however, only one facet of this cinematically layered shot at a time-honoured and popular genre. The spirit of no-holds-barred derring-do embedded in the narrative sinews of Gangs of Wasseypur is so pronounced that there is little in the film that goes along expected lines. Gangs of Wasseypur is part Sergio Leone, part Sam Peckinpah on the one hand. On the other, it embraces elements from Quentin Tarantino and Johnnie To. But the manner in which Kashyap stamps his own home-grown style and sensibility on the manic melange makes it an exhilaratingly edgy movie experience.”

 

Shubhra Gupta of Indian Express gave it a surprising 4 stars: “‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ is a sprawling, exuberant, ferociously ambitious piece of film making, which hits most of its marks. It reunites Anurag Kashyap with exactly the kind of style he is most comfortable with: hyper masculine, hyper real, going for the jugular. It’s not so much about gangs, as about men who are pushed into ‘gangstergiri’ as a thing to live by; as you go along, you see that Wasseypur is not just a place, but a state of mind, which roars and strikes after each deceptively quiet patch. I liked most of ‘Gangs’, Part One, enormously.”

 

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