Movie Review: Gangs of Wasseypur – A Gritty and Gripping Tale

Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Jaideep Ahlawat, Richa Chadda

Director: Anurag Kashyap

With an opening shot that seems like a cinematic depiction of Counter-Strike, you know you are in for a thrill ride with ear splitting and dizzying explosions, gang warfare and depraved killers. Anurag Kashyap’s new film, first of a two part saga is a gripping tale that spans over many years and over many lost lives.  It is an account of deep-rooted family rivalries, vengeance and starts with a quintessential avenger who seeks to avenge his father’s death.

Gangs of Wasseypur has an extraordinary story which will remind you of movies by Scorsese and Tarantino.  With a 1940s setting in Wasseypur district in Dhanbad, the narration kicks off with a spat between the Khans and the Qureshis which gives birth to a rivalry between the two families. When Shahid Khan is killed by the capitalist coalminer, Ramadhir Singh after a tiff, his son Sardar Khan vows to seek a slow painful revenge and what follows is a bloody massacre.

The movie is 2 hours and 40 minutes long but will seldom have your mind diverted. It’s a riveting tale that grabs your attention, holds onto it right up till the end and leaves you asking for more. There’s blood being spilled, bullets being fired ruthlessly and innocent lives falling dead on the ground on account of enmity.

Anurag Kashyap has narrated the story superbly starting from the pre independence era and gradually moving ahead to more recent times with revenge passing from one generation to another. The writing by Syed Zeishan Quadri, Akhilesh Jaiswal, Sachin Ladia and Anurag Kashyap is elaborate, detailed and expressive. With gorgeous camera work from cinematographer Rajeev Ravi along with a brilliant soundtrack from Sneha Khanwalkar, the movie scores on many levels. The story goes ahead on a pulsating pace and has humorous scenes making appearances amidst all the blood, gore and blatant crude language.

The movie has vibrant characters and wonderful performances by the artistes. Manoj Bajpayee as Sardar Khan, who is ruthless, violent, merciless and a womaniser, has given a crackling performance along with Tigmanshu Dhulia as the capitalist turned politician Ramadhir Singh. Other notable performances are by Richa Chadda as Sardar’s steely first wife Nagma, Pankaj Tripathi as Sultan Qureshi, Reema Sen as Sardar’s second wife, Durga, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the debauched hash-smoking pothead Faizal Khan (a Michael Corleone in the making?)

The story could have been a bit tighter. It might get a tad confusing for some viewers who are not accustomed to be introduced with extensive family trees and numerous characters. That apart, Gangs of Wasseypur is a gripping tale of blood soaked drama, has enthralling performances and a brash tone. It is one of the best made movies in Indian cinema and it’s worth watching a second time.

- Esha Chanda

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