After watching Gangs of Wasseypur Part I – and frankly, I only went for it because of the lethal combination of Manoj Bajpai and Anuraag Kashyap – I was beginning to wonder whether the director had lost his sense of focus and sharp story telling. The script meanders along and has too many sub-plots; in spite of some truly brilliant performances and a faultless casting, the film lost its punch – and me – well before the interval. While a storyline such as this required deserved moments of violence, Part I kind of went on a senseless bloodbath many a time even though, paradoxically, the scenes were exceptionally executed and shot. Go figure!
Well, of course I had to go see Part II out of a sense of unfinished business, although not without some trepidation, given the three hours of varied plots I followed earlier. Thankfully, GOW2 is shorter by half an hour, and moves along at a zippier pace; which same kinda makes me wonder whether the prequel was stretched out simply to accommodate this unusual idea of releasing sequels in Bollywood, that too within weeks of each other (unlike Godfather).
In fact, not only has the director redeemed himself – somewhat – with Part II, he lives up to his initials as well. The film moves at AK47 speed (literally!) with simultaneous staccato bursts of dialogue and gunfire and liberal doses of black humour! This one is so well knit that even if you haven’t watched Part I you don’t lose the sense of the plot in Part II. The editing is crisp, although the film could have still been improved by a few minutes… Faisal carrying in the lamb, the wedding song, Danish’s funeral scenes, the scene where the meaning of ‘Definite’ is played out– all could have been tauter. While the performances are above par, some scenes are not well fleshed out. For instance, you see Danish’s wife refusing to eat after his death and yet, a few scenes later she is dancing at Faisal’s wedding – perhaps it would have been relevant to have the timeline explained here. The thirst for vendetta from the second wife is also out of place; surely her bloodletting could have been satiated with being the cause of Sardar’s death in Part I. Instead, I would have perhaps thought a few more minutes of Danish being at the helm of affairs would have helped. Casting was perfect in Part I; in Part II, it goes a bit iffy. I was not so impressed by Sardar’s illegitimate son Definite; while on this, what’s with names like Definite and Perpendicular, of all things?? Misplaced sense of humour, coz I certainly don’t think Bihari goons are so well versed with the English language; it certainly didn’t raise any chuckles from a Delhi audience!
Nawaaz Siddique turns in a competent performance. I refrain from using more adjectives, as it is hard to judge how much of his performance is inborn talent and how much can be attributed to the director’s will. Certainly, a deadpan expression throughout has not done much. This character has not been thought out in detail; random shots showing him puffing away are supposed to keep reminding us of the fact that he is a drug addict. Also, what’s with this sudden transition from trousers (Part I) to lungi; clue me in here, but do Bihari dons faff around in lungis, is this some signature mark or sumtin?!
Huma Qureshi as Mohsina, is a good find. The girl is a natural and should go far.
I have to, simply have to, bung in this bit about GOW I here – the scene where Reemma Sen is washing clothes and Manoj is flirting with her, is a classic. Simple and spontaneous, it stands out in my mind long after the movie is over.
Speaking of which, what happened to Manoj Bajpai?? All his media quotes about this being his “most negative performance” etc notwithstanding, the fire of Satya and Zubeida is missing. Manoj – I want the real ‘you’ back pronto.
A performance that has been consistent through both the films is Richa Chadha. She has totally gotten into the skin of the character and there is none to say she is not a foul mouthed, loud, crass Muslim woman in actuality, down to the look and the mannerisms. Well done.
Cinematography – no complaints here. Rajeev Ravi has wielded the camera with infinite mastery.
There is only one phrase for the background score. Bloody awesome!
Perhaps I am overly critical, and perhaps Kashyap should stop resting on past laurels, stop playing to the gallery and do what he does best – which is to believe in his convictions and bash on ahead. Which is why I used the word ‘somewhat’ earlier in this review. The man undeniably has potential. We expect more from the man who gave us Satya and Black Friday. Go for it, dude.
*This review is written exclusively for The Film Writers Association of India.