Nawazuddin Siddique is most probably blessing Sardar Khan for not fulfilling his “Keh ke loonga” dreams. Gangs of Wasseypur is a happy revenge saga for this finally successful and well deserving actor.
I must confess before I continue further that I might be a biased reviewer. I was expecting a lot from this film and was very confident it wouldn’t disappoint me. Anurag Kashyap as a director has taken up increasingly challenging projects and delivered each time. With his success trail of Dev D, Black Friday, Gulal, I knew I was in for a trip when I purchased my tickets for both Part 1 and a month later part 2 and sat rapt with attention.
Indian cinema is finally moving out of Mumbai and “Bollywood”. It is finding mesmerising stories with new flavours at different turns of the erratic landscape of the Indian subcontinent. Gangs of Wasseypur is one such story of never before seen on-screen characters, never before heard genres of music and never before celebrated actors.
The story starts with pre-independence India’s Wasseypur – The Coal Capital of India (A small town initially part of Bengal, later Bihar and finally Jharkhand). Our first protagonist Shahid Khan (Jaideep Ahlawat) lands himself a job at the coal mines owned by Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia). Power hunger and insecurities lead to Shahid Khan being murdered by Ramadhir, triggering a two generations long battle for revenge picked up first by Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai) and in the second part by his son Faizal Khan (Nawazuddin Siddique)
Gangs of Wasseypur 1 leaves the audience high and dry, eagerly waiting for the sequel as revenge has not been taken and Ramadhir Singh has left the Khans (and the audience) with more wounds.
Gangs of Wasseypur 2 is even better than the first part with Faizal Khan turning out to be a fearsome and cool minded don also passionately romancing his love interest Mohsina (Huma Qureshi). Faisal Khan’s character is built in a way that the audience blindly trusts him to kill Ramadhir Singh without fail. The sequel is ornamented with intriguing performances of Perpendicular (Aditya Kumar) and Definite (Zeishan Quadri) (Yes! These are the names of the characters).
Anurag Kashyap has managed to bring forward fantastic new actors out in the open through these films. But let’s not forget the music which is as new to the Indian film industry as the music director, Sneha Khanwalkar. The ambience Sneha’s music lends to both the films is rather curious. She has picked up sounds from the streets and alleys of rural India and given it a slight twist of Caribbean music. The music opposes the visuals as much as they contribute to it. A causal song with lyrics full of sexual innuendoes being sung by a group of hippies (I am a Hunter) is the last thing the audience expects to hear when the visuals are full of uncertainties and tensions.
This contradiction pattern has been used throughout the film. In fact the long opening shot shakes the audience out of the comfort of their homes. A family is watching a famous Indian TV soap (which became the identity of the Indian middle class family at one point of time) when suddenly the television is shot at and the soothing melody of a woman’s voice from the TV is replaced by harsh gun fire noise, shutters being pulled down etc. This is our first hint that the story which is going to unfold before us is not something we’ve seen on our TV sets before, nor does it belong to the comfort zones we come from. I felt the opening of the film has just this purpose to serve, otherwise I find it quite baffling why a linear story would suddenly start it’s narration from the middle of Faizal’s story, leave it midpoint and then come back to tell us how it began with Shahid Khan.
All in all, it is definitely a land mark film for Indian Film industry. Anurag Kashyap knows how to entertain his audience with story, humour, acting, music et al. Ramadhir Singh’s fall becomes a collective revenge of the characters and the audience by the end.