By Soumyadipta Banerjee
Every director worth their shot knows that there are two ways of making a film – a film that you want to see or a film that your audience wants to see. Some of the most well-known filmmakers – at some point of time started making films for themselves and stopped thinking what the audience demanded from them. That's a reason why some of the most respected classics are actually miserable flops at the box office.
This is anything but a commercial film
It seemed that Anurag Kashyap got so consumed while making Gangs Of Wasseypur that he forgot that he will have to commercially release the film one day. The film may win awards at festivals, but we doubt whether it is going to win the audiences' hearts. At one point of time, Anurag Kashyap seems to be that boring college professor who forcibly sits you down for a lecture while all your friends have bunked.
When you are releasing a film commercially, one expects that you will get to see a film that will entertain you. However a good movie this may be, the never-ending saga cannot be termed as ‘entertaining’ from any angle. On top of this, we are saying this after seeing only half of the film. The other half of this five-hour ‘saga’ is still lying in the cans.
The first part of the first part seems like a never-ending tale…
The story is actually more spread out than an Amitav Ghosh or a Vikram Seth novel. It starts from the pre-independence era and will perhaps end in the present day. The story is about the politically sensitive coal belt of Wasseypur that once belonged to Bengal (before 1947) and then became a part of Bihar before finally settling into Jharkhand. Wasseypur is a coal-rich belt and like any other mine area, this region is a hot-bed of criminals and a pitch where the mafia have a free run.
The film goes on to narrate how two influential families in a village get into a fight with each other over looting goods trains that pass through it. It tries to tell a story about how the enmity is passed on to their future generations and how the relationship between the two families becomes further complicated with each passing generation.
The sub-plots of the film include Manoj Bajpai’s love life where he maintains a mistress and a wife and gets them pregnant at the same time. However, the ‘romantic’ element of the film doesn’t stop here -- it then starts to explore his sons’ love lives where one of them falls in love with a girl of the rival family. We wonder if the next ‘episode’ of the film will show the love life of Manoj Bajpai’s grand-children at an Ivy-league London college.
What sets the film apart?
There are several reasons why this film neither fits into the parallel film bracket nor it qualifies as a commercial film.
1. Apart from the fact that Anurag Kashyap forgot that his film will be seen at multiplexes, he spent so much time turning history into a story that his script became a novel rather than a screenplay. Instead of a story that could have been told very simply, Mr Kashyap has taken the ‘intellectual’ way out. He has made a very simple story as complex as possible which starts from the pre-independence era. In between the narration, Kashyap gets so busy doling out gyans from the pages of history that he forgets about the story alltogether.
2. The film also stands apart in its liberal usage of cuss words. It vaguely tries to latch on to some ‘entertainment value’ in its liberal dosage of gaalis that refer to mothers, sisters and even pubic hair! Alas! Even that can’t contribute to the entertainment factor of this film.
3. The film carries on like the soppy serials on Doordarshan and at some point of time, seems like that boring book you have vowed not to read. Some of the sequences of the film are so unnecessary that it makes you wonder who was editing the film. The film gives you a feeling that the editor never had the independence of doing his job. We have a hunch that every time the editor was readying his scissors, Mr Filmmaker would jump in and say, ‘Hey! What the hell are you doing? This is a classic scene, don’t you dare chop that!’ The result? The movie just goes on and on and on and on...
4. Blood and gore are sprinkled in the film so liberally that it's nauseating. The film just hinges on violence and it seems that the entire narration is aimed towards bringing you towards a scene where blood will be spilled.
5. The sub-plots in the film are so meaningless that you might start yawning in the middle of it. After a point, you realize that the sub-plots in the film are like item numbers in the movie – just to entertain and very loosely fitted into the narration. The problem is: These ‘item numbers’ never entertain.
Confused whether to watch the movie or not?
You take your call. We think that Gangs Of Wasseypur has turned out to be a love letter to Anurag Kashyap from Anurag Kashyap. Go watch the film if you have enough love for him. Or, may be you want to watch a historical docu-drama that gives you a lecture about the violent history about the coal-belts in eastern India.
If you don’t have an academic bent of mind and you wish to be entertained, this movie is obviously not for you.
in.com rating: 1.5/5
ALSO LISTEN TO: Gangs of Wasseypur music
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