No town is too small to have a history of its own. A deep enough dive may yield a blood splattered story, more often than not.
OVERALL SCORE – 4/5
Gangs of Wasseypur is a 2012 crime epic directed by Anurag Kashyap, written by Zeishan Quadri, Anurag Kashyap, Sachin Ladia and Akhilesh and stars Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Riccha Chadda, Reema Sen, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Piyush Mishra and many others in very pivotal roles. The film chronicles the life and times of the most notorious gangsters of the city of Wasseypur.
Anurag Kashyap goes all out in this movie and gets all of his cast and crew to do the same. There are no weak performances to be found nor are there any glaring technical flaws. What is on screen however is a deeply disturbing, ultra-violent and long standing feud between two families who spend decades on end warring against each other. A small city in Bihar is the backdrop for a multitude of stories and characters. Even though the city changes with time, the deep seated themes of revenge, ambition, envy and love do not. The film does itself a huge favor by keeping the major themes and arcs easy and relatable. Almost every character’s motivation is clearly spelled out from the time they enter the film for the first time. The film doubles down on it and keeps them there for the entirety of its runtime. It avoids confusion when dealing with a story of such epic proportions.
The performances from each and every actor is outstanding. Every individual seems to know what is expected of him/her and goes all in to keep the film ticking. Manoj Bajpayee and Nawazuddin Siddiqui have the showier roles but all the other actors inhabit the 1B slot below the aforementioned actors in the 1A positions. High praise goes to the direction and the attention to detail throughout the film. Even though the film specifies dates, it does not slack. The city of Wasseypur is recreated each and every time the film moves into a new period. The posters of films of the time, fashion of the time, music of the time are all present. An audience member with a sharp eye might catch a myriad of references to pop culture of times old and recent.
The film does well to have some engaging songs at specific places but let’s itself down with some ill-advised ones as well. The major flaw with the film is its length. The length of the film comes from its excessive number of sub plots. Some sub plots are more relevant than the others but all of them add to the time one may take to get through this over 5-hour epic. This is common problem with most films that go for a large scale story. To get the scale of the film across the filmmakers end up making tradeoffs. It does not lessen the achievement which is present on screen but it may make the audience look at their watches a few times.
A full review highlighting all the good and some of a bad of this film might takes a few pages of hard thought writing but even after all that the final thought I would leave any reader with would be the same. The film is worth the patience any audience member would give it. It might be a tad too indulgent and a tad too overlong but what it lacks in restraint, it more than makes up for in sheer style, flair, panache and storytelling. Anurag Kashyap shows the audience nearly every trick he knows how to pull and pays homage to every one of his idols, from Sergio Leone to Ram Gopal Varma. It is always a joy to watch the work of a person who is so in love with his craft and infects every frame of his film with it.
OVERALL SCORE – 4/5