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What's all the fuss about?
SAIBAL CHATTERJEE | New Delhi, February 22, 2014 12:20
Tags : Ranveer Singh | Arjun Kapoor | Irrfan Khan | Priyanka Chopra | Sushant Singh | Ali Abbas Zafar | Gunday |

In a Hindi film, if it’s Kolkata, the Howrah Bridge, the Hooghly and Durga Puja have got to be de rigueur. And there are bound to be frequent allusions to fish, football and frenzied festivities.

This film also throws in a glitzy nightclub named Calcutta for good measure just in case you are so lazy that you still aren’t sure where you are. Gunday is that kind of film – it leaves nothing to the imagination.

Writer-director Ali Abbas Zafar’s second film hinges on the premise that clichés are the safest bet when the plot is riddled with hackneyed ideas filched from the ‘angry young man’ genre of the 1970s.

The two outlaw buddies (Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor) at the centre of Gunday are victims of the unspeakable violence unleashed by the war for Bangladesh.

They cite the scars as a justification for the illegal activities they indulge in after they flee to Calcutta from a Dhaka refugee camp.

Their ways are as dark as the coal they peddle in the grey market but their friendship is pure. Short of breaking into a Yeh dosti hum nahin todenge kind of song, they do everything that the grammar of such films demands.

In walks a cabaret dancer (Priyanka Chopra) and the two boys who wear their hearts on their shirtfronts flip for her head over heels.

Their friendship goes for a toss as the girl chooses one over the other. Much rancour, fiery fulminations and a bare-fisted, bare-bodied duel later, it can never be back to business as usual.

Their thriving empire of crime is consequently under threat as a no-nonsense cop (Irrfan Khan in a special appearance that overshadows everything else the film has on offer) moves in for the kill as the action shuttles back and forth between the banks of the Hooghly and the coalfields of Dhanbad.

Bikram and Bala are no Jai and Veeru and their triumphs and travails never assume the epic proportions that could have made all the difference.

Ranveer and Arjun, for all their youthful swagger and bluster, cannot raise Gunday above the level of mediocrity that the screenplay condemns the film to.

Priyanka is eye candy all right, but her fluttering eyelashes and the anachronistic backless blouses are as false as the rest of the film.

Irrfan, trapped in a storyline that is about as exciting as a cat-and- mouse game in which the rodent is dead as a dodo, tosses off his lines with evident disinterest. Even at half tilt, he is a delight.

Wish one could say the same about Gunday. It is a competently mounted film. But its foundations are weak. It comes crashing down all too easily like a house of cards erected on shifting sands.

Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

Cast: Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Sushant Singh


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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017