Anurag Kashyap, one man who can definitely claim to make "DIFFERENT" cinema. We do not expect him to make run of the mill, trying to be different yet is just a hair of a variation from the the classic formula, nonsensical and sometimes downright painful, cinema. So expecting some of the brilliance of NO SMOKING which went heavily under appreciated or the new approach take of DEV D, I went in with expectations rather than an neutral mindset. As the movie begins we see a very interesting opening sequence of a house unknown being raided by the fire power exhibited by only the military. Very powerful and the good part being the reason not being explained at all, I like when a movie opens to an unconventional take.
The movie then progresses to a 45 minute historical setup of the coal mine mafia and it's roots from the very beginning. This is somewhat of a lag and is very confusing to say the least. For beginners we are bombarded by characters and plot lines which determine the course of the film and yet the intensity or motivation is definitely lacking. The film assumes that we are understanding the characters and their way of life, this is one mistake which I feel should have been rectified. But the upside being that we are presented by excellent actors playing these characters. This is what really uplifts the film from the very beginning, whatever new person that you see on screen is believable and realistic enough to actually connect to. This is what we expect from Anurag who has always relied heavily on realistic yet very extraordinary characters. The plot of the film is revenge and very filmy if I may. But as you expect the film to be a story of this revenge , it surprises you by putting everything else in it's way, so much so that the main plot is seemed to be lost until the very last scene.
The film takes all the turns which are not expected, we have wives, children, mistresses, more children, infidelity, even more children, wayward hand made guns and bombs(really funny even thought it is such a serious take on reality), a sort of gang war, a human meat shop, a distinct village power play, polticians, police and everything in there which makes for interesting viewing. But there is one major drawback of having so many ingredients in a recipe. The quantity and the sequence should be perfect or else it can be a disaster. Yes the plots are interesting, yes the gaali's are magnificent (sometimes forced and added as a gimmick), yes the characters are brutal and violence is resembling a Quetnin Tarantino film but the mix is just not right. Some of the sequences are really forced and dragged (prime example being the mistress track), it really breaks the flow of the film and really sometimes is boring to watch. Some of the plots are really wasted and make for no sense in this part (yes this is a prequel, there is a sequel to this movie). The dialogues are also sometimes lacking a certain luster which rustic India is all about. The plot was so complex till the end that the climax to this movie really feels abrupt and seems the writer decided that the budget would over spill so lets just wait for a sequel. I hate such movies which built up a story just to make the sequel more interesting, which makes the first film having no point what so ever to say.
I have a special mention here to say something about the great casting of this film, it has used it's talent to the fullest. The characters are not the usual mix but are different with not all being cast as good and bad. The writing and portraying of them are really hand in hand and it make for fun viewing when your judgement about someone does not hold true from scene to scene. The stand out performance is obviously by Manoj Bajpai who delivers to his potential but somewhere I believe, could have been given more space to develop on screen rather than over the narrative. He has successfully shown(AGAIN) that he is an excellent actor. Very powerful and demanding on screen, this actor really takes off with this role. Another mention goes out to the actor who surprised me known as Jaideep Ahlawat who plays the father to Manoj's character. This was a fine performance by this actor even though he gets very little screen time and dialogues. He has great potential and should be given a fair platform in his career.
Disappointed? I wouldn't say so but satisfied I am definitely not. Hoping this is a "I want to say so much" film for this director for if this is his choice of gang I say there is a war ahead of us all...........