Gangs of Wasseypur II
Chandigarh based Vijendra Trighatia is a film buff and writes extensively on cinema. His take on Gangs of Wasseypur 1 can be read here.
So does lightning strike twice? Anurag Kashyap would have you believe that. The second part of the desi gangster saga is here. I was immensely curious to find out if the steamrolling drama would maintain the pace it had set. It takes a huge skill to do that and I came away with mixed feelings once again. The concept of GOW 1 was new for the audience brought up on a steady & redressed diet of Godfather clones; hence the visuals and appeal of the drama set in the small towns of Bihar had a tremendous impact. Happily the sequel effortlessly picks up the narrative but creates a direction of its own. The third generation gangster has evolved from being a fist fighter and an ice pick stabber to a Ganja smoking (a la Scarface) wielder of automatic weapons. The geographical boundaries of operation are redrawn but the principal protagonists in this story of vengeance and the struggle for dominance & power remain the same. The changed scenario understandably has new generation characters with quirky traits, hunger for money and power per se but lack the depth and conviction of the older set. Rather than a single minded pursuit of revenge as claimed in the promos and its logical culmination it seems more like a journey on the gravy train with the declared objective of eliminating opposition popping up only at periodical intervals. The game plan is missing and perhaps it’s the perennially stoned psyche of the hero which could be the reason.
Having said that, the roll out of the events is taut & gripping. Unlike its predecessor there is hardly any dull moment. One is also partially spared from the barrage of expletives and whatever is said sounds good. The love play between the main leads is superb and Huma Qureshi brings the house down with her rustic sexuality. I loved the mischievous and subtly erotic onscreen banter between the two. In fact the screenplay is the greatest strength of the movie. Not once does it lose pace or direction and constantly maintains fidelity with the background of the characters. The performances of almost everyone are exemplary. Richa Chadha effortlessly transforms from the hot blooded wife to a sedate widow. Piyush Mishra seems wasted in the what’s-he-doing-in-the-movie role. The new comers with crazy names like Definite, Perpendicular and Tangent look the part. And Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the lotus eater turned gang lord was amazing.
The single biggest difference is that it lacks the understated menace of latent violence. It’s much grosser here. Jean clad youngsters brandishing Kalashnikovs look a little out of place. I’ll prefer the ice pick Bajpayee any day. There seems less method to the wham bam action which gets gorier with the developing story. I hate to say this but the climax is overly bloody and reminiscent of the Kill Bill sequences of Tarantino. And since I am at it, the music was hugely disappointing. Piyush Mishra & Varun Grover slipped up here. Each song of the earlier version is potentially a cult classic but here with the exception of the old world sound of “Taar Bijli Se” and the incredibly loony and foot tapping “Chhi Chha Ledar” all others are forgettable. Of course these are isolated observations but as a package Kashyap has pulled it off again. It’s a great watch and effectively stitched but will remain in the shadow of the first born.