Movie Review: Gangs of Wasseypur II

OMG! This one’s such a long film it should have been made into a TV series. They could have easily pulled off an hourly 13-episode show. Definite and Perpendicular could have become household names and our children could have learnt some choice gaalis sitting right at home. Not that one has anything against gaalis, especially since one bit back a few ‘Whathefa…’s while watching the film. Really, towards the end of the film, protagonist Faisal Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) cries defeatedly over the mire of revenge and crime he’s been sucked into. “It shouldn’t have gone this far,” he says. We agree.

Like one of the rickety jeeps in the film, Gangs II continues to load characters and rudely offload them at will on a rather pointless gunshot-ridden journey. True, these are interesting characters; who would have thought of Perpendicular, a blade chewing delinquent teenager? Or Tangent his cowardly chum? Or Iklak the educated linguist con-man? But does the story really need all these people? Not necessarily. 

Gangs of Wasseypur 2 poster
Nawazuddin Siddiqui shines and Huma Qureishi is promising.

The film takes off from Sardar Khan’s murder and his son’s reactions to it. Most Godfather-like, his eldest Danish goes on a murder spree to avenge his death. He pokes a knife in the eye of a man he has killed and then gets bumped off in retaliation. 

Faisal, Sardar’s second son, smoking pot while waiting in the wings, starts his revenge career by slitting the throat of his friend who conspired in his father’s murder and then couriering his chopped off head to his family in a plastic bag. In his quest for power and revenge, Faisal and his cronies go on a killing spree. There’s also Definite, Sardar’s son from the Bengali Durga, wanting to reclaim his birthright, first by rebelling against Faisal and then by joining forces with him. Much gunshots later, the film fizzles out with a completely predictable end.

Nawaz shines; he makes an unlikely hero but he is stylish and intense and thoroughly wonderful to watch. Huma Qureishi is also promising; she’s made for more glamourous roles. 

Even with their acting skills, the white hair and fake wrinkles, Richa Chadha and Reema can’t carry themselves off as middle-aged women. Piyush Mishra remains his tense alert presence. Definite (Zeeshan Qadri) turns up as a good surprise. 

Director Anurag Kashyap is on a roll, flavouring and layering his scenes with detail and humour. He also uses music interestingly in his narrative. However, after the first half, one wonders if the whole exercise has been too much of an indulgence. Too much childlike fascination with gruesome violence and grammatically challenged English, if you ask me. 

Although more coherent and contained than part I, Gangs II manages to weave a complex tale around its protagonist Faisal Khan and his quest for revenge. Like its first part, the sequel too is cheeky and irreverent. It stays rooted to its history, geography and politics. But where the first had the excuse of building up the plot, the second doesn’t take its responsibility of concluding it too seriously. Instead, it introduces new conflicts and twists that make the whole film pretty tiresome. 

Although, a raw powerful tale, the two parts could have been easily fused into a single taut narrative. That would have been much more enjoyable.    

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