Gunday: A macho masala from the 70s
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 Sholay, Don 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.
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.
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.
The rest is a story encircled around disloyalty, weakness, aggression and deception.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.