Gunday: A macho masala from the 70s

Published: February 28, 2014

An enjoyable treat for those moviegoers who love to watch loud, action and drama packed and romance filled movies with crispy dialogues. PHOTO: FILE

An enjoyable treat for those moviegoers who love to watch loud, action and drama packed and romance filled movies with crispy dialogues. PHOTO: FILE An enjoyable treat for those moviegoers who love to watch loud, action and drama packed and romance filled movies with crispy dialogues. PHOTO: IMDb

Director cum writer, Ali Abbas Zafar waited a couple of years after the release of his debut ‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’, a comedy hit of 2011, to entice filmgoers with an action packed crime thriller. This time, Zafar has replaced the genre of a light romantic comedy with a nice mash-up of 70s’ action films to present the perfect commercial movie – Gunday.

If you are a fan of Amitabh Bachchan, particularly of his angry, young man image and classics like SholayDon and Kala Pathar, then Gunday is a big treat for you. It’s all about action, double-dealing, revenge tangled with friendship, deceit, romance and betrayal.

The film starts with ace actor Irrfan Khan’s opening narration about the fictional story of two refugees, set in the backdrop of the 1971 war between Pakistan and India.

“Bangladesh is born as Pakistan surrenders on December 16 at the end of the India-Pakistan war. It also gave birth to two young orphans; Bikram and Bala. Fighting for survival, they clung to each other and escaped to Calcutta.”

The storyline further traces the strong ‘bromantic’ bond between Bikram (Ranveer Singh) and Bala (Arjun Kapoor), who became gun carriers as kids and eventually end up becoming Calcutta’s leading coal mafia. They are also shown to be involved in every act of notoriety taking place in the black market during the 80s.

Source: IMDb

Both, however, fall head over heels in love with Nandita (Priyanka Chopra), a cabaret dancer who jeopardises their corrupt activities ultimately weakening their childhood friendship.

Source: IMDb

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Satyajeet Sarkar (Irrfan Khan), is a rogue cop who sets out on a mission to catch Bikram and Bala. He is desperately in search for evidence with which he can finally convict them.

Source: IMDb

The rest is a story encircled around disloyalty, weakness, aggression and deception.

Source: IMDb

The chemistry between the lead actors Singh and Kapoor is flawless. Like the previous two hits, Lootera and Ram-Leela, Singh appears comfortable in his new role and develops an energetic bond with Kapoor. With his quirky style, he maintains to be a confident performer. In my opinion, it is evident that Bollywood has found another great star in the form of Ranveer Singh.

Source: IMDb

From Ishaqzade to Gunday, Kapoor has played a turbulent, rustic, angry young man. With his signature scornful smile and facial fuzz, Kapoor did his best to turn the role of Bala into an energetic one but was unable to fulfil the gap in certain areas. For instance, I felt that Bala lacked the agony and sorrow required in the second half of the film.

Source: IMDb

Priyanka Chopra, attired in multihued saris looks as beautiful as the typical Yash Chopra female lead usually is. She appears as a sensational dancer and a forthright woman in her pivotal role.

Source: IMDb

Irrfan Khan’s spontaneous dialogue delivery and expressions when portraying a larger-than-life heroic role are exceptional, leaving a lasting impression.

The music composer, Sohail Sen, produced high tempo and energetic foot-tapping tunes with heavy beats coupled. But if you are a fan of romantic songs, such as ‘Zehnaseeb’ (Hasee Toh Phasee), ‘Ankahee’ or ‘Shikayatein’ (Lootera), then Gunday’s music will not appeal to you.

Source: IMDb

Zafar’s Gunday has been packaged in just the right manner but the content is just not up to the mark. The artistic appeal could have been increased if a little more effort was put into the direction.

As a matter of fact, the story is neither electrifying nor awe-inspiring for the avid filmgoers. Although it is not badly written, the criss-cross of the characters is quite predictable as majority of the audience has already witnessed such twists in typical macho masala films of the 70s and 80s era.

Source: IMDb

The highlights of the movie are Singh and Kapoor’s superb chemistry, Khan’s crafty acting skills and the exceptional cinematography. Overall, it is an enjoyable treat for those moviegoers who love to watch loud, action and drama packed and romance filled movies with crispy dialogues and ‘Asalaame Ishqum’ type songs; all in two and a half hours.

In my opinion, Gunday deserves a rating of 2.5 out of 5, solely based on Singh, Kapoor and Khan’s performance.


Tanveer Khadim

Tanveer Khadim

An avid reader, freelance writer and a blogger, Tanveer is pursuing fashion designing. She has a passion for cooking, attended cookery courses and tweets as @TheFusionDiary (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • A.R.

    Gulaab Gang releasing next friday is the film to watch out for!! Simply Awesome Trailer. Looking forward.Recommend

  • Hassan

    Good analysis. The film is for Ranveer Singh fans.Recommend

  • Rashid Najam

    Accurate write up, it is not inspiring movie yet good to watchRecommend

  • Rehan Ali

    I am a big fan of Amit jee! I will watch Gunday to see difference between classic hit Sholay and this film.Recommend

  • Qasim

    Thumbs up for a nice review.
    Arjun Kapoor is really a bad actor, you have pointed it out rightly.
    Lootera’s music wasn’t good at all.Recommend

  • Atul

    Opening narration in the film is shameful, a complete distortion of Bengladesh history.Recommend

  • Atul

    The shameful opening narration is distortion of Bangladesh history.
    Government of Bangladesh has already expressed disappointment and taken up the issue with Indian Government.Recommend

  • Zarmeen

    Asalaame Ishqum is a catchy song, film’s story is so so.Recommend

  • Arsi

    “Bangladesh is born as Pakistan surrenders on December 16 at the end of the India-Pakistan war” very complicated line of the narration…Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ali

    Tune maari entriyaan , re dil mein baji ghantian , ton ton ton ton ton ton

    My favorite line

    Dil key na hoon marmtain na hoon koi warrantian

  • Norain

    Well I agree with you Tanveer. Gunday is not for everyone, I only love one thing and that’s Ranveer’s acting in it.
    I look forward to your reviews keep writing!Recommend

  • Anoop

    Request you to not to have such high hopes for the movie. Sholay is a work of sheer genius.

    This is a mishmash of what a very unintelligent fellow derived from the movies of the 70s.Recommend

  • Nabeel

    Mentioning Bangladesh in opening narration wasn’t important it is beyond my understanding why director mentioned it.Recommend

  • Arshi

    I loved the movie. Priyanka Chopra looks so beautiful in simple make up and she showed her talent.Recommend

  • Sam

    Well-pointed author songs do not make any senseRecommend

  • Sam

    Movie’s action sequence wasn’t good, no eye-popping action.Recommend

  • Daniaal

    Still want to watch this flop mishmashRecommend

  • Nazish

    Gunday is a good family entertainer than Dedh Ishqiya full of vulgar dialogues you can’t watch with your family.Recommend

  • Zee

    @ Author Good review .. it is an average Indian movie which lacks maturity. Heroes with bare chests did pathetic action. Priyanka looks pretty hot in songs.Recommend

  • Nida Ali

    Public had high expectations but movie turned out a big disappointment even presence of Irrfan Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh didn’t help it.Recommend

  • Javeria

    Haan Meri Nigahen Teer hain
    mere yaar nishana tum

    I just loved the song… I’ve seen this movie only because of its two song…Recommend

  • Bahauddin Naul

    Do Indian film even directors know what the definition of a movie is? Why Indian cinema when we have an easy access to the western movies. India is a thousand years behind the Iranian film, let alone the West. I wish our audience had no access to bollywood movies. Recommend

  • someone

    So how many Iranian movies play on Pakistan cinema halls? Care to share the data?Recommend