Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gangs of Wasseypore- A review

“The idealisms of the Society are not mandated by the Society, but by the so called custodians of the Society”. Thus stated Anurag Kashyap in an interview. Well... not in those words but that is my loose translation of what he stated in Hindi. In my life I haven't seen a film maker tackle and take head on the custodians of Society like Mr. Kashyap. It is even harder in SE Asian cinema because of the shackles by which the society is tied down. Anurag is like the giant monster that has broken down those shackles and lives large with the audacity to tell a story how it is supposed to be told.

It is easy for the Coppolas, Spielbergs and the Polanskis of the west to tell a bold story. But in India it is unheard of. For us SE Asians cinemas is a means of escapism from reality than send a message or learn about what reality is. The Society in general goes to cinema to escape from the grueling reality that is life and live in a fantasy world for 3 hours. To tell a story like what Anurag did in Gangs of Wasseypore is no small achievement. Yes, this is all about Gangs of Wasseypore and the brilliant story teller that Anurag is. Look at him; he looks like one of my tapori friends who don’t want to be associated with. Smoker, typical bhaiya like mannerisms, etc. Yet today the world loves him and so do I. More like awe than love. But you have to love him to be awed by him.

I remember growing up and getting beaten up exactly with what my mom had in her hand, be a rock or a piece of stick. That was tough love, and I love her to death.

I watched Paan Singh Tomar and said to myself, now this is cinema and this is how a story is told. Then I came across GOW and said hmm.....worth a peek, no harm done, guess what? It has been 2 months since then. I have seen both parts frame by frame about 20 times. Listened to each song about 25 times.

Sneha K, can't say enough of her, she is an evil genius just like Anurag. If you listen to the song 'Abroo ki kasam", "keh ke lenge", oh what the heck all the songs even the “chattano sey kreeda karthi”.......it will suck you in and won't let you leave till you have nothing left. Trust me; you don't need weed or liquor to enjoy these songs. Well... if you do have it I am sure it will enhance the pleasure... not that I had to indulge in any of these to enjoy the music.

I am not going to detail the cinema here. You have to see it to believe it, to understand it, to appreciate it and love it. Every character is unique, even the young junior artist who you see a glimpse of, eating rice with a big smile on his face surrounded by filth, sometime towards the middle of the first part while Piyush Mishra is narrating the changes happening in Dhanbad. Asghar, Guddu, JP Singh, Durga, Shama Parveen, Mohsina, Danish, Babua, Tangent - I am naming the characters instead of the actors because it is as if these actors were born to play these roles and they do it with so much conviction. No melodrama and no exaggeration. I am going to save Sardar Khan, Faisal Khan, Ramadhir Singh, Sultan, Nasir and Definite for special mention as Manoj, Nawaz, Tigaminshu, Pankaj, Piyush and Zeishan will live on forever in the hearts of true Hindi cinema aficionados. Anurag and Sneha blended this story like poetry in the form of motion picture. The Lust, passion, violence, gore and brutality that is shown is true and unfortunate reality. GOW (I am not going to break it down into the 2 parts) is truly an epic that should be canned into a time capsule for people to see a thousand years from now and still appreciate it.

If I compare Manoj Bajpai to Marlon Brando, it is an honor to Brando, and at the same token comparing Nawaz to Al Pacino, is an honor to Pacino. Tony Montana (Scarface) Sonny (Dog day afternoon), Faisal Khan, you can mention these characters in the same breath and not think twice about it. Like Anurag stated, camera loves Nawaz and boy does the camera love Manoj! It is a chilling scene when he asks Ramadhir- “Maja aa raha hain”? Ramadhir Singh had send Sultan to kill Sardar Khan and had failed, the expression on Ramadhir's face not knowing what to expect...is priceless.

Faijal climbing up the window sills to get into his lover's room is a scene that is simply priceless.His awkwardness, hesitation and the eventual explosion where he is pounding away all night, boy isn't it real? The expressionless Faijal pumping hundreds of bullets into Ramadhir's lifeless body is vengeance at its best. So much hatred.... it makes you shudder.

"Bhoos ke Dher", "Ek Bagal mein Chaand", they are playing like a record in my head all day every day for the past few weeks. Hats off to Varun Grover and Piyush Mishra for the thoughtful and melodious lyrics.

GOW will probably go down as one of the best Hindi movies, I have ever seen, along with Aashirwaad, Deewar and Paan Singh Tomar. It will be hard for Nawaz to top what he did in GOW. If he does, more power to him. Same goes for Manoj.

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