Director: Ali Abbas Zafar
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra
Back in the ’70s, there was an angry young man, who had enough bravado to crash into a godown full of goons, lock the door from inside and sit on a chair inviting them to come and bash him if they dared. You didn’t distrust his bravery even for a second; rather you looked up to him in awe as he coolly sauntered out after reducing those goons to pulp. He didn’t have muscles rippling out of his shirt, he didn’t sneer at everyone around randomly and he spoke in his baritone voice only when needed. That was Deewar and the man of course, is a legend now. And more importantly, that was a different era.
Gunday attempts to bring back that time, that bravado and a whole mish-mash of action sequences from films such as Deewar and the like. Unfortunately, everything rings as false as the mile-long eyelashes of the cabaret dancer Nandita, played by Priyanka Chopra.
To give it due credit, Gunday begins with a rather gripping storyline of two boys, Bikram (Ranveer Singh) and Bala (Arjun Kapoor), who end up in a refugee camp after the India-Bangladesh partition in 1971. The two boys are forced to take up a life of crime for survival and they soon start revelling in it.
Yes, as you have seen in innumerable films of the ’70s, the boys grow up in Calcutta (now Kolkata) to become two Robin Hoods for the price of one. The bromance between the two continues to prosper along with the many charitable hospitals and schools that they set up, till Nandita enters their lives and both fall in love with her. And then there is the cop Satyajit Sarkar (Irrfan), who has sworn to put them behind bars. Soon, the predictable happens: there’s a misunderstanding between the inseparable friends thanks to the one woman they love, who can’t seem to decide who she wants.
Looking at the positive side, the detailing to match the setting of the ’70s is commendable. Arjun Kapoor has an endearing smile, Ranveer Singh is earnest but then that is obviously not enough. In a world where the two main actors are grimacing and grunting, in the name of acting, and the lead actress is just busy purring and pouting, Irrfan stands tall with his obvious talent. Add to that, he looks so charming and fit in this film that it is difficult to take your eyes off him when he’s in the frame.
And though this film does have some rare sensitive moments, it might have worked better if one, there was no incessant, absolutely irrelevant background music assaulting the senses, and two, if the lead actors were asked to relax a bit and some humour was infused into the storyline. In fact, the chemistry between Ranveer and Arjun is fantastic and their body language is such that one is almost certain that they would have shined in scenes with some fun element.
But alas, that’s not to be. The director (Ali Abbas Zafar) seems to have taken himself too seriously with this one.