Anurag Kashyap’s Gang of Wasseypur is in town. And after watching the movie I can say Anurag Kashyap is Quentin Tarantino‘s brother from another mother. The movie, set in the backdrop of coal mafia in the state of Bihar and is about all the political rivalry between two families who fight for supremacy.

GOW is just like a top quality grass joint which Anurag Kashyap has rolled with all his brilliance. Just like when you make a joint you look for the best grass, rolling paper and a good roach, Kashyap does exactly that. He gets actors who are close to their roots to play characters who are brought to life as if they were to born to play that. Then Anurag takes all the grass and starts rolling the joint.

The movie plot starts with Smriti Irani on TV with her kyun ki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi!  serial and that sets tone for the movie- changing power equation, dirty politics and gruesome legacy which is passed on from one generation to the other.

The Joint is now ready to be smoked.

Tigmanshu Dhulia plays a coal mine owner who trusts no one. To have a foothold in the area he hires henchman Shahid Khan (Jaideep Ahlawat), with whom the fallout happens. After Shahid is killed, his son Sardar (Manoj Bajpayee), whose only aim in life is to avenge the death of his father at the hands of the capitalist-turned-politician Ramadheer Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia). Sardar is married to Nagma (Richa Chadda) and to Durga (Reema Sen), a Bengali woman. Besides the big names, the limelight is hogged by Faizal, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, a Bollywood &  Amitabh Bachchan fan. Faizal has his own style which makes him unique &  interesting. Slowly, more people get involved and then it is flooded with innumerable characters. Pankaj Tripathi as Sultan the butcher, Jameel Khan and Dhulia as the politician among others, play their roles with smooth conviction. Jaideep Ahlawat as Shahid Khan has terrific screen presence and looks a lot like Manoj Bajpai. He looks brilliant during the 1940s scenes when he use to loot British goods trains in the name of the brigand, Sultana Daku. Thick textured, the movie has all the elements-devious & comical ganglords, subservient but aggressive women and dramatic side kicks. With Piyush Mishra‘s narration, the movie unfolds smoothly as you will keep watching the ‘bakaiti’ and the ‘bakchodi’.

The joint (movie) you are smoking is slow in the first half and takes its own time to kick in but when it kicks in it takes you to a different level in the second half. The screen gets blood, gore, politics, and sexual lust—all of it with an entertaining humour. Ample dark humour is used to show the gang war milieu.  The animosity is passed to the next generation which continues in the second part.

If the movie is a joint, then the story is the rolling paper, characters  are the “maal” & the roach is the background music and cinematography which also needs to be top- notch. Sneha Khanwalker‘s rocking  music brings a whole new level of excitement in the film and Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography is sheer brilliance. The sense of timing with the use of music is exemplary. And all this is rolled perfectly by Anurag Kashyap. By the time the movie ends, you will realize what were you smoking and what a tripp you got. But then after the credits, comes the trailer of part 2. Focussed all on Faizal, the second part looks a notch above the first.

With Gangs of Wasseypur, Anurag Kashyap presents a grim picture of human decadence. Manoj Bajpai delivers a power packed performance, with Tigmanshu Dhulia good as the warlord turned politician, Richa Chaddha is crass yet strong, Reema Sen voluptuous and canny, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays almost the role of his life. Look for the scenes between him and Mohsina (the sexy Huma Qureshi). I expect Siddiqui to have a major role in the second part of Gangs of Wasseypur considering the similarity of his part to Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone.

Now as you come back to your senses after the movie ends, you will try looking back at what happened and what is to come. For those who haven’t seen it then I suggest go with an open mind, patience and then experience it yourself.  Yes there is an uncanny similarities with Tarantino style but then to reach that level is also an achievement.

Sudeep Shukla