Many parallels have been drawn for the Hindi movie, Gangs of Wasseypur. Some say it reflects a Corleone-like family revenge drama from The Godfather. Some compare it with the Spaghetti Western films of the 1960s and 70s. Some compare the style of film-making with greats such as Sergio Leone and Martin Scorcese.
The lust for revenge passing down generations may be similar to The Godfather. But no matter how close the Corleone-family saga may appear to the fictionalised account of real-life incidents in Wasseypur, in the coal belt of Dhanbad, the flavour — in songs, dialogues and backdrop — are a hundred per cent local.
Director Anurag Kashyap said, “The movie is based on actual stories. And I can guarantee you those people did not read The Godfather before they saw this.”
The second part of the five-hour-long movie, set for release on August 8, flows seamlessly with the first, only it amplifies the political power dynamics.
It elevates gangster films with its undiluted violence, both in action and words, something that Bollywood had hitherto flinched from. If anything the movie may actually be a one-up on the legend of violence, Quentin Tarantino, just for the incredibly calm manner in which it deals with violence. It is not for the weak-hearted. But then no one said it was!
This is one of the few productions in which every single cog is appears to be in perfect harmony with the wheel – be it music or acting, or even the guns and knives.
The movie is like a turgid, living, breathing creature with a single focus – the climactic, heart-stopping revenge drama. Everything else, even the causes and the socio-economic backdrop, seems incidental. The movie makes no pretence about its subject.
At the end of part one it was obvious that Nawazuddin Siddiqui would play a central character in part 2. And the film did not disappoint. He is central, yes, indeed, he so is. He wowed us in Kahaani and the man awes us in GoW2. He doesn’t even need lines. All the man needs a little space on the screen and you cannot look anywhere else.
When asked if Siddiqui is the new Irrfan Khan, Kashyap laughed, “I see him as the only Nawazuddin. But yes, if you don’t get Irrfan you get Nawazzudin.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how great Siddiqui is.
Definite (Zeishan Quadri) and Perpendicular Khan are two characters to watch out for – and not just for the amusing names!
The film is full of irreverent and natural black humour that simply never fails to tickle the outsider. It seems to have flowed out all on its own.
Talking about the film and its much-criticised level of violence, Kashyap said “Our over-protective tendencies and the tendency to equate violence with porn” is a big problem.
He said it is important to show violence in its face. “When violence is real and you flinch away from it, violence does not push people to try and imitate that. Often, we shun the violence that makes us flinch, because it disturbs us. And what makes us uncomfortable and disturbs us, is not often bad,” he said.
However, he admitted that unthinking minds, which he classified as below-10-years of age, may not be able to understand the consequences of violence.
If anything the level of violence escalates in the second part of the movie, with blood and gore shown as never before. It is cold, cruel and awe-inducing at some levels. But maybe a little taxing towards the end.
Maybe it was best that the movie was released in two parts in India. Despite its length, its pace is breathless! It leaves the mind numb and fingers tingling. The movie is like an over-load of sensation.
An edited and smaller version of the story was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 7, 2012 (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/todays-paper/tp-others/tp-variety/article3735475.ece)