Anurag Kashyap, Sunil Bohra.
Director: Anurag Kashyap.
Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Jaideep Ahlawat, Richa
Chadda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jameel Khan, Syed
Quadri, Reemma Sen.
of Wasseypur, like so many recent films, highlight a
local story. This seems to be a trend among new generation
filmmakers in Mumbai. Unlike the earlier filmmakers
who came from many parts of India but merged into mainstream
filmmaking, the new lot is staying away from the mainstream
commercial format. They dabble in stories they grew
up with or were privy to.
of Wasseypur takes a story about rivalries in a small
town called Wasseypur, which, over a period, changed
its parent state few times and is located near the coal
mining hub of India, Dhanbad. The birth of gangsterism
is credited to legendary outlaw, Sultana Daku (who has
been a subject of a couple of Hindi films earlier) notwithstanding
the fact that Sultana was a dacoit, not a gangster,
who looted train wagons of goods transported by the
British rulers of India.
was repentant of his past and did not want his sons
to take to the same life as his. Contrary to that, Gangs
of Wasseypur is about dynastical enmities between two
Muslim clans: Khans (Pathans) and Quereshis (butchers).
is a third angle to the story about the local bahubali/warlord
and politicians, Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) whose
life has been made miserable by the Khans, who plays
Quereshis against them.
film begins with a prologue showing Quereshis ambushing
the house of Khans and leaving convinced they have killed
all of them. While that prologue will matter more in
the second part of the film, here it creates the groundwork
to take you back to 1941, the origin of the crimes and
Khan (Jaideep Ahlawat) has picked up where Sultana Daku
left off. He is a dreaded train robber who has mended
his ways and started working as coalmine labour at a
mine owned by Ranbir Singh.
Shahid Khan's wife is dying during a child delivery,
the miners' muscleman, who treats these labourers like
slaves, does not allow him to leave and run to her rescue.
When he manages to reach, it is too late and he has
lost his wife and is left with a new-born baby in his
arms. He kills the miner's muscleman and at the same
time, also earns the same job for himself. However,
Shahid Khan is an ambitious as well as a ruthless man.
He soon expects to kill Ramadhir Singh and take his
place as the mine owner. His ambition causes him his
life and almost that of his tiny son and cousin but
they manage to run away in the nick of time.
Khan's son grows up to be Sardar (Manoj Bajpayee) and
all the prologues and preambles later; this is what
Part I of Gangs of Wasseypur is all about: the life
and times of Sardar. Sardar is now grown up, told of
the cause of his father's death and initiated into violence
for revenge. He decides to play games with Ramadhir
Singh and humiliate him and his MLA son on regular basis.
enmity between Khans and Quereshis dates back to Sultana
Daku days when a Quereshi dared to infringe on Sultana's
wagon-breaking monopoly and looted some food grain wagons.
He paid for this with his life and the Khans and Quereshis
have never seen eye to eye ever since! So what if the
story of revenge is between Khans and Quereshis, Sardar
Khan is back in Wasseypur to avenge his father's death
and his enmity is with Ramadhir Singh. The Quereshis
are just silent spectators and haters of Sardar Khan
until one day they are provoked into action by Ramdhir
Singh, aided and armed amply with automatic guns and
let loose on Khans.
Khan's aim is to avenge his father's death and kill
Ramadhir Singh but lesser priorities take over and soon
he is into one wife (Richa Chadha) than whoring, and
then another wife, a Bengali maid, Reema Sen, as well
as plundering and looting.
follows the trends of American Italian mafia except
that he is neither as brainy nor as resourceful. That
means no drugs, no casinos, and no prostitution. He
just takes over the local lake and its fishing monopoly!
Meanwhile, the much humiliated Ramadhir Singh, who can't
cope with Sardar Khan alone, seeks the help of age-old
enemies, the Querishis and seeks revenge through proxy.
Sardar Khan is betrayed and assumed dead even while
he hitches a hike on a cycle cart and the rest is left
for Part II.
now, Sardar, the Khan, has been routed.
of Wasseypur aspires to be an Indian Godfather, but
unlike the old classic, it has no relevance to the whole
of India in that it is purely a local folk. Director
Anurag Kashyap has shot the film as if for the History
Channel with having an editor on the roll only to delete
NG shots. For most parts, it is not a regular film but
a straightforward account. The film is the director's
dream and obsession and an editor is, at best, a nuisance.
Technically and production-values wise, the film is
shoddy. Songs in the background serve little purpose.
The background score is inconsistent and often fails
to match the events on screen.
Gangs of Wasseypur really scores is on the performance
front. The film has some excellent portrayals and the
one to lead the gang is Richa Chadha as Najma, Sardar
Khan's first wife, followed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, who
as the conniving ex-strongman is subdued yet effective.
Manoj Bajpayee needs to get out of his skin and play
the character instead of playing himself.
Of Wasseypur is replete with gore, violence and foul
words which cuts out a huge part of its audience. The
film's prospects thus depend on single screens. The
film's best chances are in Eastern UP and Jharkhand
and to some extent in Bihar.