“Sab saale…sabke dimaag mein apni apni picture chal rahi hai… Sab saale hero ban na chaah rahe hain apni picture mein… ee saala hindustaan me jab tak sanima haii..log **ootiye bante rahenge.”
Nope…you are not entirely true old man…
A time comes, it comes but rarely, that a cinema a hits the silver screen…and also the taste and conscience of people, a cinema which shatters all the set stereotypes and makes people think that look, ‘this’ also is possible. Real story, surreal characters, brilliant script, even more brilliant direction and smooth coherent editing, this is what Gangs of Wasseypur is all about. The only thing you need to appreciate this movie is taste…a real taste of things. What this movie does to you is that it creates a dark and bleak atmosphere around you and the most interesting thing is that you don’t know what to do, whether to smile or to feel sorry!! Remember that scene in which Faizal kills Yaday Ji in that musty Benaras room. The dark atmosphere of The Godfather is easy to identify..you know that you have to feel the melancholy. In GoW, there is light, but its dark. Its hard to identify the metamorphosis of melancholy into satire and that of satire into sarcasm and then back to melancholy. Watching the movie is a thing, appreciating and clapping on the scenes is another, but to understand what every scene wants to say is an entirely different experience.
For each one of us, who have liked and loved this movie, there is a reason of his own why he has liked it. For me, it happens to be the motifs used in the movie and the dialogues. First motif I noticed in the movie was Durga’s bare back (come on…I am a man). Many have tried to use sensuality as a motif in the past, but the way Anurag Kashyap used Durga’s bare back was incomparable. Not showing anything, and yet throwing everything open. And when you have a veteran actor of the caliber of Manoj Bajpai, you haven’t got many things to worry about. That lust oozing out of his eyes..!! . Lot to say about that bare back…but that would get this post an A cerficate….
Next motif was really hilarious. The two Ray-Ban goggles, with golden rims, one worn by Huma Qureshi and the other by Nawajuddin Siddiqui, and to add to it, the song Salaame Ishq, with all the R’s converted to D’s. Now converting the R’s to D’s was a masterstroke. The scene moves in slow motion and wide angle is used. For me, it’s a whole Subhash Ghai ‘don’t –fall-in-love-rise- in-love-theory’ concentrated in two minutes. In these two minutes, Anurag Kashyap did with two goggles and one old song, the thing which makes the likes of Karan Johar move to the locations of Europe and Egypt. This scene just floats…and you watch it with a smile on your face, which you never knew was there.
Equally beautiful is the use of the Pager. It remains unfathomable to me what made them use the pager. God..it was a brilliant idea!! In that scene, it’s not only a pager, it’s a symbol of authority, of power and confidence. So with putting it on the tea table, Faizal khan asserts his authority over his would be in-laws, saying without saying a word – look what I have, look who I am and look ‘this’, is why you should adore me and accept me, otherwise, I know how to have my own way.
But my favorite motif is the one which has been there always, stuck deep, in the minds of dark directors like nothing else- That Lean Shoulder. Whether it be Marlon Brando intimidating a conglomerate of the crime families of Chicago in his husky voice, or Amitabh Bachchan explaining his appointment with death to the Commissioner…or a blunt bigmouth Al Pacino telling the custom officer about his being Antonio Montana, that shoulder has always been there.
So when Ramadhir calls Faizal to call a truce, it had to be there..how else in the world could you portray triumph more beautifully. Faizal Khan, with that confident, serene, ecstatic, morbid and most importantly, nonexistent smile on his weed worn face, sinks into the couch, the right shoulder making an angle with the horizontal…as he tells Ramadhir, “Kaahe ki aapne mere Abba ko maara.” Wow..it couldn’t be made any better. That scene is excellence, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui has poured in that one sequence all the years of his struggle Bombay could offer him.
But the real thing which did the miracle, which was the punch, was the script, written by Zeishaan Qudari, who also played the role of Definite in the movie. Last year, when the first part was released, fortunately I was in Chhapra, my hometown in Bihar. Within two or three days of the realase, the movie was talk of the town, almost viral. So we went to watch it in Shilpi. The very first dialogue gave me goosebumps- ” Are maar goli bomb ke dhuan dhuan kar die..pura kila barbaad ho gaya”. The way it was delivered was unprecedented. People hooted and whistled frantically. It was an entirely new experience for all of us. Minutes later, when the narration in serious voice of Piyush Mishra started with the sentence, ” Insaan jo hain, bas do nasal ke hote hain…”, it became clear to me that this one experience is going to be different. And when I left the theater, the only thing on my mind was, “Sala dialogue kon likha re…?” Later I got to know that this entire idea was the brainchild of one man named Zeishaan Quadari, who also played the role of Definite. Once you know about the background of this one man, the paradox of unusual originality surrounding the film resolves itself. Zeishaan belongs to Wasseypur, the original one. He has spent his childhood amid all those crime scenes which we get to see in the movie and watching the crime flicks of the likes of Tarantino. So when you get to hear the dialogues likes “ Ee Wassepur hai…yaha kabuttar bhi ek pankh se udta hai, aur doosre se apna izzat bachaata hai”….the next words which come in your mouth are “ Arre saala…mast hai be!!” Never he has compromised with the originality of scenes, as if whole movie was running in front of his eyes when he was writing it. And this very originality binds the viewer form the very first scene to itself.
Talking about the gaalis, I think that Gangs of Wasseypur minus its gaalis is Mughal- e – Azam minus its Urdu. The use of gaalis (abuses) and the Bhojpuri accent is excellent. In other flicks, when they show a scene of Bihar or East UP, a typical Laaloo Prasaad accent of Bhojpuri is used. That’s sheer exaggeration. And the abuses (which are scarce in number) are generally used as motifs. But in GoW, the abuses are an integral part of the dialogues. And believe me, belonging to Bihar and being a student of mechanical engineering, I understand how, why and where those gaalis were needed in the narrative. In GoW the flow of a dialogue never breaks for an abuse, unlike in ordinary movies where even for an abuse as simple as **utiya, a pause is given in the dialogue, to underline that look, I have used a motif here..now you people have to say wow, omg, how bold, a gaali! Come on…that was a bad joke!!!
Immense care has been taken in giving Hindi a Bhojpuri shade. The use of words like ‘bujhe’, ‘badka’, ‘kekra’, ‘kahe’ etc, has never been tried before. And when the Bhojpuri folk talk in Hindi, its not without certain modifications. Almost all the feminine adjectives and adverbs are changed into masculine. For example, in Hindi, it will be “..apni izzat bachaata hai..” what in Bhojpuri Hindi we say, ” …apna izzat bachata hai”. Taking care of these minute changes and intricacies has made the movie what it is, a cult. The phrases which are used in daily life by the people of the region have been used beautifully, like ‘ Phat ke phlower ho jaeya..’ And most importantly the tone in which the dialougues were delivered was unusually natural. My personal favorite is ,
“ Samjhega kya…samjhega wahi na jo ee hai…badkaa **utiya saala…bhhaggg Bose d k….”
(when Ramadhir enters his house beating JP Singh for giving Sardaar a job)
and “ Bhaawanno ko daalo apni……”
Not once in these dialogues you feel that they have been delivered by a man who does not belong to Bihar. But I am not asking you to notice the abuses, what I am asking you to notice, is the intensity. All the dialogues of Faizal Khan are written with a feel. The way he warns his uncle “ Choop…aap beech me nahi boliyega..” or the way he assures his mother “ Baap ka..Daada ka..Bhai ka…sabkaa badlaa lega re tera Faizal”, it’s the intensity of the dialogue which intrigues us, not the simplicity or the accent. To write such a script, what you need is to be in middle of all the characters, to feel each one of them. So Zeishan has done full justice to his characters by assigning to them such brilliant dialogues. Even the lyrics of the songs are wonderfully intense. To pick up a Jhoomar song ( sung usually in shaadis) as old as “Taar Bijli Se…”, to induce in it the words like Loknaayak in it, and to get it sung by Shaarda Sinha..wow. A less noticed song is there, which was sung by a local singer from Mujaffapur, ” Hamni ke chhodi ke..”. This one happens to be my favorite song from the movie. It needs effort to notice this one song in the movie and then to listen to it. The moment someone says that he has liked this song, I get to know that lo…this one person thinks exactly the way I think and we have more than one thing in common. If you understand Bhojpuri and listen to the song intently, it will cause a lump in your throat, such is the pain in its lyrics. And those of us who have heard the song ‘Sayyian kaala re..’ intently, know that to what ‘thing’ the word ‘Sayyian Kaala..’ refers to in this song…😉
Movies come.. movies go. Some last for less than 15 minutes in our memory and are flushed off, and some get imprinted for a lifetime. Rang de Bsanti was one such movie,GoW was another. What it showed to the people is that Hindi cinema is not all about larger than life family melodramas, all those sweet happy ending love stories, or the fake crime movies in which the hero is almost supernatural in his physical abilities….it can deliver brilliance too, originality too. The young generation of scriptwriters, directors, actors and musicians are showing hope…a hope of reinventing the golden era when we used to produce movies like Pyaasa, Do beegha Zameen, Garam Hawa, Jaagte Raho and likes.
Moviefiles like me are waiting….
Link to the Official Fan Page of Gangs of Wasseypur which shared this post on its timeline.
Given below is a link to an excellent interview of Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Times of India.
For those who want to read more about Zeishan Quadari, i am providing a link to his interview.
For further reading, I am providing you with some excellent blogs
- Bombay Talkies: a true ode to 100 years of Indian cinema. Celebrates true art form of cinema instead of glorifying stardom. A must watch for true cinema lovers! (drrahulchawla.wordpress.com)
- Winds of change (thehindu.com)
- Arguing with Gangs of Wasseypur… (satyamshot.wordpress.com)