GRADE: BB / 60%
Summary: Although Gangs of Wasseypur Part 2 is aesthetically and stylistically gripping, it is emotionally hollow and superficial. It feels as though the film has been ironed till is so flat and so red hot that its emotional essence has totally evaporated and it brutality burns our eyes.
Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur Part 2 is emotionally hollow and superficial. It seems as though the film has been ironed till is so flat and so red hot that its emotional essence has totally evaporated and all you get to watch is one-dimensional malicious minds with such a relentless impulse for violence and treachery that it burns your eyes. Rubbing your eyes with stinging nettle will probably cause less strain than watching Gangs of Wasseypur.
What Kashyap basically does here is similar to what Ram Gopal Verma did in his Sarkar films except that Kashyap’s treatment is far more credible; while Verma’s Sarkar offerings usually ended with the omniscient Subhash Nagre (played by Amitabh Bachchan) magically unraveling the grand scheme of his enemies and framing every possible guy introduced during the film, Kashyap’s Wasseypur Part 2 introduces characters who crave power over desire for revenge and thus can readily switch loyalty unlike the protagonists from the first film. Unfortunately, each character is so sharp that we don’t like their world even a teensy bit.
There is no soul in this movie, and if there is then its dead and even its funeral has been crudely treated. There is no theme in this film that is deeply explored, and what we see is only the choppy waters above. None of these characters question their actions very much and everyone seems elated being bad all the time. We end up admiring the grand scheme of Kashyap’s Wasseypur but are so emotionally detached that it becomes incapable for us to cherish this film in our hearts; its soul is black as coal and too hot to handle.
Anurag Kashyap is undoubtedly smart when it comes to making his film aesthetically and stylistically gripping. His film does not repeat itself and tries to be as inventive as possible. Consider its beginning, when the Wasseypur saga resumes with Sardar Khan’s assassination at the hands of Sultan. We watch the same portion from the point Sardar leaves Durga’s home to his death at the petrol pump; Kashyap knows here that his audience wouldn’t like watching the same scene just as it was in the previous part. So he shows the same scene using different camera angles, for example, in Wasseypur 1 we could only see Durga’s back as she watched Sardar through the curtains, but this time we see her from the front. Kashyap modifies the same scene to make it less repetitive for those who’ve watched the first part. So, what happens in the film after Sardar’s death is that his son Danish rushes with the other men in the family to the spot where Sardar’s body lay. On finding one of the killers in the police jeep, Danish violently assaults him in front of the helpless cops before shooting him dead. Sardar’s funeral takes place and is livened up with music by the same band that played during Danish’s marriage.
Later, Danish hunts down another killer and creates his alibi by surrendering to the police for a minor crime he didn’t even commit. On leaving the court however, he is shot dead by Sultan’s men and so there’s the second funeral in the family with the same band crooning. With Sardar and Danish down, it is up to Faizal to avenge the deaths of his brother, father and grandfather Shahid, but his family has little hopes in the drug-addicted day-dreaming Faizal until he mercilessly beheads his close friend Fazlu after suspecting his treachery (Fazlu tries influencing Faizal to go against his father plus those who’ve watched the first part will remember that it was him who had abetted Sultan in murdering Sardar). He marries Mohsina, the movie-crazy lady whom he had a crush on since childhood (leading to a funny sex scene where the entire household is kept awake by the sound of their rickety bed shaking with their humping) and then expands his gang’s operations by dealing in illegal sale of scrap business. Taking advantage of his poor business acumen, Shamshad Alam, a transport businessman joins hands with Faizal in his steel business and tries duping him. Faizal’s younger brothers too grow up to become as dangerous as him but they are very reckless and openly aggressive unlike the much more calculative Faizal. Their names are worth a mention here: two are named Perpendicular and Parallel while the third, the son of Sardar Khan and Durga, is named Definite. Out of these three names, only Definite’s real name is the same i.e. Definite and here I have to mention another witty moment that’s suffused in dry humor; it happens later when Faizal asks the people around him what Definite’s actual name is and is given the same answer by everyone : Definite. A definitely delicious moment from the film.
What’s definitely bland in this film is the emotional connect; Anurag does not want us to bother about death here and so we always watch Wasseypur’s characters from a distance. The blood and gore and lack of empathy makes this distance even more pronounced. I am reminded of the film Zero Dark Thirty, which evoked a very similar response; Kashyap only captures the picture, not the emotion. Even though there’s plenty of bloodshed in the movie, the emotional core of Gangs of Wasseypur Part 2 remains bloodless.
- Review of Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1, An Anurag Kashyap Film Starring Manoj Bajpai, Richa Chadda, Nawazzudin Siddique, Tigmanshu Dhulia (sashankkini.wordpress.com)