Here's a short and sweet message for lovers of masala movies: Rejoice! For, Yash Raj's latest offering GUNDAY, directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, more than lives up to the hype and hoopla associated with the movie.
A couple of masala fares that released last year were spiceless, borrowing the age-old template to woo moviegoers of all ages. GUNDAY, which also falls in the same genre [masala], has an attention-grabbing premise, well-etched-out characters, high-octane drama, is generously peppered with vibrant songs and energetic action pieces, boasts of defining performances from the principal cast and of course, is an entertainer. In short, GUNDAY is for those who relish and celebrate masala cinema.
After attempting a light-hearted entertainer like MERE BROTHER KI DULHAN, Ali Abbas Zafar does a complete U-turn, taking you back in time [1970s Calcutta], narrating a dynamic story of two orphans and their bromance. Yes, of course, it is age-old formula, but Ali makes sure he reinvents it with flourish, serving the formula in a contemporary format. GUNDAY is designed as an entertainer and it serves it all unabashedly.
When they ran to save their lives for the first time, they were mere 12-year-old boys and the world called them refugees. The war of 1971 gave birth to a new country -- Bangladesh. It also gave birth to two young orphans -- Bikram [Ranveer Singh] and Bala [Arjun Kapoor]. They witnessed the war and its aftermath, where the world tried to trample over them. Fighting for survival, they clung to each other and escaped to Calcutta.
Before they knew the world, they knew each other. Such was their bond, such was their friendship. In the years that passed, Bikram and Bala became Calcutta's most loved, most celebrated, most reckless, most fearless and most powerful gunday. Nandita [Priyanka Chopra], the most beautiful cabaret dancer, walked into their lives. They fell head over heels in love with her. But that was only a blissful lull before an impending storm...Â¦
Enters ACP Satyajeet Sarkar [Irrfan Khan], the right for every wrong, a law for every outlaw and a counter force for Bikram and Bala. What happens next?
First things first! GUNDAY is smartly penned, lavishly mounted and sharply edited... and it carpet bombs the spectators with every trick in the book. The bromance, the romance, the gunday versus cop clash, the burst of colors, the unpredictable screenwriting coupled with smart lines, the spray of bullets... the director, who has also penned the film, makes sure he leaves his stamp all over the film.
There are interesting twists in the narrative and though the viewer might feel he knows what's going to transpire next, the writing catches you by complete surprise as a brand new twist comes to the fore. On the flip side, the film is bloated in length and could've had a shorter run time, especially in the second half. The penultimate portions in particular could've done with trimming. It's prolonged for no reason. Also, a few twists tend to get repetitive, but the very next episode makes you forget the defect.
The DoP bathes each and every frame in lush colors. The usage of colors during the intermission point, when the twist in the tale happens, is striking. The action sequences are lively, with the violent scenes never going overboard. The soundtrack [Sohail Sen] is wonderful. 'Tune Maari Entriyaan' is, without doubt, the hot favourite. 'Jashn-e-Ishqa' and 'Asalaam-e-Ishqum' are lively compositions and sync well in the scheme of things. Dialogue are striking and at places, clapworthy. As a matter of fact, each department seems to have worked really hard and in consonance to realize the director's vision on celluloid.
The four pivotal characters -- Ranveer, Arjun, Priyanka and Irrfan -- vie for top honours. However, the show belongs to Ranveer and Arjun. The firecracker bromance is the mainstay of the enterprise. Together, they create one of the best on-screen jodis that would make it really difficult to erase from public memory. Both are pitch perfect in their comprehensively defined characters, although Ranveer's character has a slight edge. Those who felt that Priyanka had been elbowed out of the race will eat their words back once they watch GUNDAY. For, the actress is in top form, delivering an elegant performance and matching steps with the male leads. Watch out for the sequence when she confronts Arjun. She's super. Irrfan, as always, is in superb form, fitting the role to the T. Saurabh Shukla and Victor Banerjee stand out in their respective parts. The child artists enacting the parts of young Bikram [Darshan Gujar] and Bala [Jayesh Kardak] are remarkable. Pankaj Tripathi and Manu Rishi appear in cameos. Anant Sharma [as Himanshu] is perfect.
On the whole, GUNDAY has a credible story to tell, is packed with unexpected twists that keep you on the edge and offers entertainment in large doses. This racy, gripping masala fare is sure to hit the pot of gold at the box-office!