It’s back to the inhuman factor. A thousand bullets, a slaughter count straight out of an abattoir, a finale bloodbath within the premises of a hospital – is this all believable and is it worth watching? Yes it is. Unmitigated violence happens.
Anurarg Kashyap’s epic Gangs of Wasseypur is remarkable especially for its detailed unspooling of a vendetta story which revolves around feuding clans in a cash-rich township where mortal danger lurks around every corner of its congested mohallas.
Part 2, in fact, is far more engrossing and cinematically accomplished, somewhat on the lines of The Godfather 2 being more audacious than its prequel.
For one, the main protagonists and the turbulent backdrop are already established, and the backstory doesn’t have to dwell on the earlier conflicted generations. The strong screen presence of Manoj Bajpayee in the first-parter is missed for sure, compensated by the introduction of smart-assed characters like Definite (another Michael Corleone in the making) and Perpendicular, a stammering boy whose mouth conceals a killer shaving blade. In fact, the two Gangs of Wasseypur would make for a bestseller if were to be ever written in a book form.
Like most multi-generational crime and quixotic punishment epics, the plot does get complicated, compelling you to give up on figuring out who’s-exactly-who, and why-the-hell so many shifting loyalities and last-minute double-crossing realignments.
Power acquisition and spiralling greed for money are the motivating factors. You accept that, and if the outcome is low on the emotional quotient, fine. That’s Kashyap’s prerogative. Yet you do regret that a strong mother figure is cavalierly dismissed, the son barely mourning her slaying in a bazaar. And the only romantic element exists between a gangster and his moll-like wife, who warbles a hybrid seductive song into his ear at a point of dire stress. Amusing, but that’s it.
Over to Faizal Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), addicted to ganja and indolence, who must now take charge of his fast-depleting family. Quite perilously done. Steadily he becomes the townships’s de facto boss, posing a threat to the rival mafia headed by the stealthy power-wielder Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia).
Piquantly, the Hindu clan is supported by a splinter Muslim group. That’s practically the sum and substance of the story content, which Kashyap narrates with excellently conceived and executed skirmishes. Note especially, Faizal’s cunning step-brother, Definite, being chased through a railway yard; a killing awkwardly planned via cellphones; and and the climactic bloodfest. Action director Sham Kaushal achieves his career-best set pieces of raw violence.
And there are more striking vignettes like Faizal’s mother (Richa Chadda) breaking into a ribald song at a wedding ceremony, the gangster’s bout of helpless tears and peripheral characters using their business cunning, as well as fluency in English language, to make inroads into the power structure. If the end is predictable, you go with it, because it’s the only way a saga of unchecked violence could come to a resolution of sorts.
Quite naturally, the film ends with a hint of the continunation of the Gangs of Wasseypur series. A fake, comfortable end to the ageless political and economic exploitation in the badlands is ruled out. After all, the outlook is dark throughout. So why spray sunshine over a system where life is a game of everyday survival?
Audaciously, Kashyap lets the viewer reach his own conclusions. The voice-over of the narrator(Piyush Mishra) sustains a cool, objective attitude. If he suffers from sexual deprivation, and whips himself, this bit of masochism is open to myriad interpretations.
Alas, Part 2 cannot sustain its excessive length of 2 hours-40-minutes though. Okay, the influence of Bollywood cinema (so many wannabe Munnabhais around) is articulated but a speechling about the various kind of heroes be it Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan is gratutitous. Plus Faizal Khan’s canoodling sessions with his saucy bride (Huma Qureshi) become repetitious.
Technically Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography, Sneha Khawalkar’s music score and some editing flourishes are excellent. The dialogue, bristling with profanities, is as real as it gets. And of the cast, Richa Chadda is impressive as the mother with her own code of conduct in the midst of the gang warfare. Huma Qureshi fits the bill perfectly. Zeishan Quadri as Definite is a discovery with plenty of potential.The show, of course, belongs to Nawazuddin Siddiqui who is consistently in character. Here’s an actor who’s A-grade.
Bottomline: Gangs of Wasseypur 2 does go yawn and yawn towards it concluding section. Never mind. It has more spine and sinew than anything else seen in recent months. Make that years.