(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, on 11 August, 2012, retrieved from http://newindianexpress.com/entertainment/reviews/article587277.ece)
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Piyush Mishra, Huma Qureshi, Richa Chadda, Reema Sen, Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkumar Yadav and others
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Rating: 4 stars
If you want to watch vampires salivate, play them the two-part Gangs of Wasseypur. In this cornucopia of gore, death becomes incidental in a decades-long inheritance of vendetta. As a tired Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) explains to Faizal Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), the son of Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpayee), there’s no enmity between his family and Faizal’s – they had nothing personal against Faizal’s grandfather, father, or brother. One disposes of people who are a threat to one’s life.
Set against a backdrop where people are so hardened that a man will shoot his sister when his acrimony with her husband’s family is renewed, and a mother would rather have her sons die avenging their father than make peace with his killers, the story is what happens between chases and shootouts.
The second edition of the movie traces the lives of Sardar Khan’s sons. He has four from his wife Nagma (Richa Chadda)and one from his concubine Durga (Reema Sen). The cycle of revenge is what drives everyone, including Nagma, who made such a fiery entry in the first edition as the motormouth bride. She has grown into a tired old woman, almost benumbed to pain by the loss of men she has loved, but not quite sick of bloodshed – she threatens to cut off the fingers of a son she deems unfit to avenge the deaths of his father and brother. Her transformation is made believable by Richa Chadda’s superlative performance.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui owns the movie. His is the only character who has any arc of growth – everyone else is in it either to further a sub-plot, or to bring out another aspect of Faizal’s character. However, these are wonderfully fun characters – ‘Perpendicular’, the fourteen-year-old terror whose speech impediment takes nothing away from him, his second-in-command ‘Tangent’, the hot-headed Shamshad Alam, and the slippery ‘Definite’.
The film tickles us with everyday irony – a man who has just been informed of his father’s murder dashes off, and then returns for his chappals; people who don’t speak English give their children names whose meanings they spend the rest of their lives guessing at. In the harsh realities of the town of Wasseypur, Ramadhir grunts that every man has his own movie, starring himself, running in his head.
At several points in the film, Faizal breaks down, bemoaning his father’s decision to come back to Wasseypur, and plunge them all into this life from which there is no escape. But he’s in his element when he’s chasing down men, bullying people into giving him protection money, and exacting revenge for deaths. One gets the feeling, even as the epilogue plays out, that there could quite easily be a spinoff.
With chutney songs like Frustiyaao nahin moora, Narbhasaao nahin moora alternating with Bhojpuri beats and Bollywood classics, the music is almost a character in the story. The only downside to the film is that the graphics make all the bloodshed more ridiculous than grisly.
The Verdict: Despite its nearly three hour duration, Gangs of Wasseypur 2 sustains interest with its lively pace, packed action, and brilliant repartee.