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Anurag Kashyap's 'Gangs' invades Cannes

 

SAIBAL CHATTERJEE | Cannes, May 23, 2012 00:11
Tags : gangs of wasseypur | anurag kashyap | 65th cannes film festival | directors fortnight |
 

gangs of wasseypurAnurag Kashyap’s eagerly-awaited Gangs of Wasseypur descended on the French Riviera in full strength for the film’s premiere in the Directors Fortnight on Tuesday afternoon.

The two-part epic set in the crime-infested coal belt of Dhanbad and its environs is a sprawling, rollicking and vibrant ‘blazing guns’ opera that is ingeniously cast in the mould of a delightfully innovative Bollywood musical.

It delivers shock and delight in equal measure without condoning the often meaningless spiral of violence, which is presented matter-of-factly as an inevitable legacy of the area’s blotted history.

The director and cast of the film were presented to a packed Theatre Croisette by the head of the Directors Fortnight, Edouard Waintrop.

Kashyap was followed on to the stage by the cast members – Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Richa Chadda, Reema Sen, Huma Qureishi and Piyush Mishra, among others.

Kashyap thanked Viacom 18 for backing the film “against conventional Bollywood wisdom”.

The screening of Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 was followed by the film’s second part after a 20-minute break.

Gangs of Wasseypur is embellished with music drawn from the coal belt’s folk traditions (including some risqué ditties that passionate lovers sing) and popular film songs of the different decades that it traverses.

The first part of the film benefits immensely from a towering performance by Manoj Bajpayee, who immerses himself in the character with such conviction and control that it becomes difficult to separate the actor from the part.

Spanning across six decades in the history of Dhanbad, whose mineral riches have always been a bone a contention between warring profit-seekers, the film straddles two principal spaces – the town itself (where the action begins in 1941) and Wasseypur (once a village off Dhanbad but now a part of its urban spread).

The central character, Sardar Khan (Bajpayee), whose brave father was killed by a powerful contractor, Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia), has two wives – one in Dhanbad (Richa Chadda), the other in Wasseypur (Reema Sen).

He also has to contend with two sworn enemies in the two different turfs. In Wasseypur, it is Sultan, who belongs to the Quraishi clan that has traditionally held sway over the area for decades; in Dhanbad, it is the contractor-turned-politician Ramadhir. Against both, Sardar Khan’s wars are bitter and extremely violent.

But Gangs of Wasseypur is a gangster film with a marked difference – the bloody scenes are treated with a wry sense of humour and an air of inevitability. The place witnesses gruesome daylight killings, yet the film does anything but come across as gory.

The energetic performances by the ensemble cast and the lively music on the soundtrack lend to Gangs of Wasseypur a degree of infectious vitality that few recent Hindi films have exuded.         

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017