Over the past few years, Anurag Kashyap has carved a niche for himself as one of the most creative, talented and unconventional storytellers of Bollywood. Therefore, the expectations from Gangs of Wasseypur were sky high, especially after all the hype which surrounded the movie before its release.
It starts with a sequence of Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi on a television set followed by a bunch of goons shooting mercilessly inside a house in an attempt to kill everyone inside. That scene pretty much defines what the rest of the movie deals with – gunfire, violence and a lot of bloodshed.
The film is set in Wasseypur in the district of Dhanbad, which has shifted from Bengal to Bihar to Jharkhand over the passing of time and deals with a family feud which is fought over three generations. The coal mafia forms an interesting backdrop to the film, but fails to create a hard-hitting impact.
Stylized visuals and unique use of colours on screen have always been Kashyap’s forte, and he follows this trend, making the movie a visual treat. For the majority of the movie, the soundtrack is in keeping with the visuals as well. However, apart from that, there is little in Gangs of Wasseypur to quench the thirst of a film lover.
The narration of the film starts in the 1940s, and carries on right up to the 90s. Although the film is extremely detailed in each and every aspect, it is difficult to focus on it well because of the many number of characters involved. Each of the characters develop over the five decades, making the narrative a little difficult to comprehend at times.
The performances by the actors though are par excellence. Manoj Bajpai proves yet again that it takes more than a K-last name to be a brilliant actor. He is fierce, vengeful, intimidating and manages to keep the attention of the audience whenever he is on screen. Richa Chadda carries on from where she had left off in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! to deliver yet another absolutely mind-blowing performance. The rest of the cast, although relatively unknown, does extremely well. However, I felt Reemma Sen was not quite up to the mark. Apart from certain scenes, her character was not explored to the fullest. The occasional spurts of Bengali didn’t sound authentic and thus, did not help her cause at all.
Kashyap has attempted to fit in a lot into a single movie. Right from history lessons about Dhanbad to earth-shattering violence, from romance to discussions on the roles portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan in Bollywood; he has tried to fit it all in. It is a praiseworthy effort, but the only result is a film which drags on for three hours (and mind it, this is just the first part of the movie) and becomes exhausting and boring, for the majority of its running time. The convoluted plot doesn’t make the film any more interesting either.
All in all, Gangs of Wasseypur is definitely not Anurag Kashyap’s best work. At least, the first part is not. In fact, it can be quite a disappointment for fans who think they are going to watch a typical Kashyap film which is usually fast-paced. The film ends on a note slightly more interesting than the rest of the film, with a trailer of what awaits in the second part, and one can only hope, that the second part will be better and will pick up speed. Watch this film only if you want to experience an experiment by a film-maker who dares to do things his own way. Do not go for the regular Anurag Kashyap film experience that most of us have gotten used to.