3.5 Very Good

The newspaper reports, documentaries and also our cinema have highlighted a disturbing fact that even today, lawlessness prevails in various part of the country. It’s going on since years but no one has succeeded in explaining as to how it all started. Anurag Kashyap attempts to do it with Gangs Of Wasseypur, an ambitious venture which tracks three generations of a family and their hostility and conflicts with one another. The Part 1 throws lights on the significant events that happened from the 40s till 90s and reminds one of the various biopics of great men that we have seen in our lives. Only difference however is that the film doesn’t focus on heroes, but the villains…the villains of Wasseypur!

The story of the movie: The story begins in 1941. Shahid Khan (Jaideep Ahlawat) loots trains carrying British goods, assuming the identity of the legendary Sultana Daku. Soon, he gets outcast and begins working for Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia), a ruthless owner of a coal mine. Ramadhir kills Shahid in an act of betrayal and 20 years later, his son Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpayee) decides to take revenge from Ramadhir not by killing but by wrecking havoc in his life. Sardar then slowly gets on his mission and at the same time devoting time to the two women in his life – Nagma (Richa Chadda) and Durga (Reemma Sen).

Gangs Of Wasseypur Part 1 begins with an immensely interesting sequence, shot entirely in one take that instantly sets the mood for the revenge drama. With so many characters and sub-plots, the direction and script ensures that viewers can comprehend and decipher the goings-on. The entire Shahid Khan track was brilliant and Sardar’s rise makes for an interesting watch. One of the significant factor that makes Gangs Of Wasseypur Part 1 stand out from the rest of gangster and revenge flicks are the ‘trial-n-error’ scenes, wherein Sardar and his gang members throw bullets and bombs at their enemies, albeit unsuccessfully! Quite witty!

The craze continues in the second half as well. However, the film gets stretched at this juncture. Also, too many characters become a part of the narrative. Few of them were immensely interesting but didn’t have much to contribute in the first part of the film. However, the film picks up dramatically in the climax which was terrific and gives a fitting conclusion to the first part!

The film shines in the acting department, with almost every actor pitching in an award-winning performance. Manoj Bajpayee have had the opportunity to play a lead role in quite a few movies but never got the appreciation he deserved. Gangs Of Wasseypur shall hopefully change things mindset of the industry and trade as well. He’s in many ways the soul of the film and efficiently carries the venture on his shoulders! Tigmanshu Dhulia, who directed Haasil, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster, Paan Singh Tomar etc, makes his acting debut and man…what a job! The actor shines like anything and Ramadhir Singh’s role was tailor-made for him! A performance to watch out for!

Richa Chadda surprises with her spell-bounding performance and stands out from the rest of the so many actors that feature in the film. Reemma Sen sizzles and does a fine job too. Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Faizal Khan) gets a very interesting character but sadly, didn’t have much to do in the first part. Same for Huma Qureshi, who raises loads of laughter in the pre-climax scene. Piyush Mishra, besides doing the voiceover, underplays his part beautifully, somehow reminding of his powerful act in Gulaal. Jaideep Ahlawat shines in the cameo and indeed looked like Manoj Bajpayee’s father! Vipin Sharma (Ehsaan Qureshi) as usual rocked. Pankaj Tripathi (Sultan) leaves a mark. The rest too pitch in a fine performance.

Sneha Khanwalkar’s music is the highpoint in the film. Bihar Ke Lala definitely works like anything and so does Womaniya, Hunter and Keh Ke Loonga. However, the best track was Ik Bagal, composed, sung and written by Piyush Mishra. Outstanding! G V Prakash’s background score is damn effective. Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography is flawless and very well captures the mood. At places, I felt that I have almost reached Wasseypur and that I could experience the chill and fear in the air! Shyam Kaushal’s action is utmost realistic.

Zeishan Quadri, Sachin Ladia and Anurag Kashyap’s script delivers the right punch, but the effect gets diluted in the second half. Anurag Kashyap’s direction was unconventional and yet very much into the realms of what we call as ‘commercial cinema’. Contrary to reports, I feel there was far lesser amount of violence and sex in the film! Yet, the impact is created and everything seems as real as possible. It requires immense guts and conviction to come up with such a film that deals with three generations of a family and their violent encounters and adventures. Although the film’s length is immense, it’s noteworthy that the director didn’t care a bit for the popular perception that small-duration films should be the order of the day and came up with as long as a 5 ½ hour film (part 1 and 2 combined)! Thankfully, the courage paid off and hope that Gangs Of Wasseypur Part 2 too shines like its predecessor!

On the whole, Gangs Of Wasseypur Part 1 is a captivating revenge saga, in spite of the 2.40 hours duration and loads of characters. The film keeps you glued thanks to the brilliant script, direction, performances and music, all working beautifully to provide the viewers a fine piece of cinema! Enjoy!

My rating – *** ½ out of 5!

P.S.: Wait for the end credits to roll to watch the trailer of Gangs Of Wasseypur Part 2! Don’t forget! It won’t be released online anytime soon and hence it’s best to watch it in theatres!