By Pratima Chaudhuri(13 Jul 2012)
The flip side of watching a popular movie much later than the released-week is that the opinions have already floated, expectations have been built...and in the era of social media, I don’t know of any way to insulate myself from the propaganda; the only way is to make a conscious effort while watching is to pretend that it’s a film I am watching about which I know nothing...and it takes some effort to do that!
To watch a film that has Manoj Bajpayee starring in it is synonymous to watching some hard-core stuff, for sure it won’t be a feel-good flick and gangs of Wasseypur is not...it is quite stark to say the least, especially the bloodied shots taken in the butcher’s quarters or the lecherous exploits of the protagonist, Sardar Khan. Manoj Bajpayee can seamlessly slip into a character without effort; especially with the language that one almost starts believing that it’s real. Anurag Kashyap has time & again proved that language of the Hindi-heartland is his forte, along with building characters. If Sardar khan was the protagonist with the grey shades, then his archrival Ramadhir Singh was a villain worth having! Not a stereotypical villain, one who hardly raises his voice...I thought Tigmangshu Dhulia was a real treat to watch! One can’t help but notice his controlled voice, his make-up, and his approach to the character of Ramadhir Singh. He actually could stand up to Manoj Bajpayee’s performance. I fervently hope that Gangs of Wassypur would not be his one-of projects and Bollywood doesn’t typecast him in Ramadhir kind of roles! Nagma Khatoon played a very important role in the story, and I think her character was the most real of them all. Some women scream at others all the time, especially in the environment portrayed in the movie...that’s their way to survive in that dirty unfair World...& Richa Chadda did justice to Nagma.
After watching the movie for a little over an hour, I lost the plot - what is the movie about? – is it about a man’s journey to avenge his Father’s death, is it about the coal-mafia or is it about the social landscape in erstwhile Bihar or is it about mindless violence and cuss-words? One area I felt the movie faltered was the story-telling. While watching the promos and the marketing campaigns, it came across to me that it was about coal-mafia...the story did start with that, but meandered along to other usual things of politics. It started introducing new characters and hatching new sub-plots every few minutes after the first hour. Somewhere in between it started showing distinct shades of ‘The Godfather’...& worst of all was the last half an hour...all it did was prepare the audience for a sequel, the marketing promotions of Gangs of Wasseypur Part II had already begun even before Part I could end!