The Best Of Bollywood: Gulaal (2009)

Anurag Kashyap has shown constantly throughout his career what he has to offer and how incredible a film maker he is, with movies like Black Friday to DevD and from No Smoking to newer Gangs Of Wasseypur. He likes to serve his platter raw, fresh and bloody and Gulaal(2009) has certainly no set back. It has honest hard hitting and breathtaking dialogues which makes you wonder how can someone write so well?

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Raj Shri Chowdhary and Aisha Menon in their debut movie

Gulaal is certainly one of the gems of contemporary Indian Cinema which I am certain you might have skipped. To start this article let me quote an “abridged” version of a Poem written by Ram Prasad Bismil a poet and a freedom fighter in India’s struggle For Freedom which is used in the movie.

Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil me hai.
dekhna hai zor kitna bazuye kaatil me hai
waqt aane de bataadenge tujhe ai asmaan
hum abhi se kya bataye kya hamare dil me hai

ore bismal kaash aate aaj tum hindustaan,
dekhte ki mulk saara kya tashan kya chill me hai
aaj ka launda yeh kehta hum to bismil thak gaye
apni aazaadi to bhaiya laundiya ke dil me hai.

aaj ke jalson me bismil ek ghunga gaa raha.
aur behron ka wo rela naachta mehfil me hai
haath ki khaadi banaane mein zamaana lad gaya
aaj to chaddi bhi silti englison ki mill me hai .

Dekhna hai zor kitna bazuye kaatil me hai
waqt aane de bataadenge tujhe e asmaan
Hum abhi se kya bataye kya hamare dil me hai
Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil me hai.

Now imagine sitting to watch a movie and around 15 minutes in you get to listen to this poem in Piyush Mishra’s voice, Isn’t it awesome? As the movie starts we are shown a message that the movie is dedicated to freedom fighters like them who fought with all their might to get Independent India and we failed them! This dedication makes this poem more interesting. Now after knowing this, read the third paragraph again. Brilliant writing! If you are here to read a review of a movie, i am already telling you now, This movie will get 9/10, and it certainly deserves so, so have a nice day.

And now for the article, lets put up some music and enjoy the gritty dialogues and thrilling ride.

Gulaal released in 2009 after 8 years of production due to a lot of technical issues with producer, was praised at its time of release by the critics and earned a little money too, but the movie got lost in the way for last 7 years. Directed by one of the best Director of our time,  Anurag Kashyap had a star cast studded with likes of Kay Kay Menon and Veteran Piyush Mishra with a stream of young actors with protagonist Raj Shri Chowdhary in his debut acting role. The movie is about a Law student who arrives in a small city in Rajasthan, and get stuck in the world of lies, deceits and Politics which he does not understand. The plot is not that simple though as the movie revolves around the Separatist Movement of India of the Rajputana empire which once covered most of Rajasthan and Gujarat. They want their own state back from India so that all Rajputanas can live together, just like what Kashmir and many other states have requested. The Rajputanas in the movie have worked to create a powerful people  who are trying to create a revolution. But their idea of revolution involves bloodshed, corruption and killing for power.

Gulaal as a socio-political Drama works so well as it makes you think about the democracy and all those religion-centered and location-centered powerful political group who have been silently killing Democracy through out the nation and not just in India, through out the world brutes have risen to power to destroy the very fundamentals of Democracy, but gladly Democracy has held its head high above all.

The movie has a conflict at hand with its characters, on one hand we have our protagonist Dileep Singh(Raj Singh) who is an innocent yet not so innocent guy who just came there to study and has modern principles. The moment when the youth confronts the greedy and powerful hypocrites who in the name of values enjoy killing and have become so blind that they can even kill their own family member. Duky Bana(Kay Kay Menon) is such character in the movie.

Direction and Writing

There is no point in denying the genius of Anurag Kashyap running behind the screen in Gulaal, the maverick director had already shown his masterclass in Black Friday (2001), but he ups his game in Gulaal, by going in fearless and writes a story so compelling and honest that you will be stuck on the spot as the credits roll in. The best thing about Gulaal is its script writing, what we witness in the two hours is actually quite compelling and can be said as Tarantino’s style. Anurag Kashyap had often said that he likes QT’s movie and it can be witnessed in Anurag’s work too. AK is never afraid to show brutality and blood in his movies, he does not shy away from using profane language in a mainstream movie and his writing is lead by compelling dialogues certainly Tarantino’s style. The dialogues are so well written that many of those will just stay in your mind forever.(Mahie Gill’s character in the movie has acted in a TV show whose pilot was shot only and the show was never aired-A nod to Uma Thurman’s character in QT’s Pulp Fiction)

Gulaal

What the movie also has is the excellent character list from the first moment to the last we are introduced to many characters and every character has been worked out well into the script which makes the story telling more compelling.

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While the writing style of AK is closely Tarantino, His direction is no less than David Fincher (Se7en), the use of Red (Gulaal) throughout the movie is compelling and gives the movie an eerie look add to that some decent cinematography and you have got a movie which is an eye candy. To get most out of actors on their first movie is a difficult task and he make both Ayesha Mohan and Raj Singh Chaudhary act their life’s best roles.

Acting

Gulaal had some wicked acting throughout the cast with Kay Kay Menon giving his best of career and Deepak Dobriyal, Abhimanyu Singh and Aditya Shrivastava acting well with him. The character portrayed by Kay Kay Menon is hard to get in and has very riveting scenes in the movie, Kay Kay Menon does a job so well that everyone who watch the movie will hate his character and still sympathize with him because of his past. Aditya Shrivaastav has acted so well that if you take each of his episode from CID and compare it you will be amazed at where was he hidden.

Abhimanyu Singh in his well acted role of Ransa Bana

But above everything, every  character, every man involved in the movie is Piyush Mishra, he has done a job so unremarkable in the movie that i was amazed and enchanted by his acting. Piyush Mishra plays a strange character of Prithvi Bana who is the brother of Dukey Bana (kay Kay Menon), the best way to describe his character would be that of Theator Shakespearean Narrator, with his quirky strange dialogues, with his though provoking songs and his awesome performance Piyush Mishra Nails it and boy he can act.

Piyush Mishra and his Lennon Locket
The Cast of Gulaal-acting at its best

Listen to his take on “Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna”, listen to him narrating the poem ‘Do nyaye agar do Adha do’ watch him move around the stage with John Lennon’s portrait hanging around his neck and many other portraits in his room. Watch him denounce his brothers plans by strumming out ‘sail hai, sail hai’ with his always present “Aradhanar(Half Shiva and half Parvati)” mate giving him beats. And my personal favorite quote:

“Khudi ko kar itna, Ki tu Himalaya pe Jaa Pahunche… Aur Khuda Khud tujhse yeh puche… abey nalayak utrega kaise”

“Elevate yourself to such an extent, that you reach the Himalaya … and God himself will ask you, you fool how will you get down?”-for english readers.

Piyush Mishra will make you laugh and get you to think throughout the movie.

Music

What can be said about the music. the movie contains one of the most finely placed songs I have seen, Piyush Mishra wrote ,sang, acted and directed the music for songs and they are perfect. Piyush Mishra is an unbelievable find who we are not using in the industry which is sad. With ‘Shehar’ playing behind, it portrays the evil nature of the city perfectly and the hilarious ‘Ranaji’ is the highlight of the soundtrack, i was laughing hard at this song, while the lyrics may be hilarious they are so true that you would laugh at the honesty in the sings. to quote a few lines:

“Ranaji”

Jaise durr desh ke, Tower mein ghus jaaye re aeroplane,… Jaise sare aam Iraq mein jaake chamke uncle sam…Jaise har ek baat pe bina kisi ke lagne lag gaya ban…Jaise bina baat Afghanistan ka baj gaya bhaiya band

I have never heard such song ever, and I don’t think I ever will Giving a satire on Uncle Sam, Iraq Invasion, Afghanistan Attacks and 9/11 Attacks by an item number is brilliant.

“Ye Duniya”

Then comes the showstopper, the song on which the movie is based- Ye Dunia Agar Mil Bhi Jaye, the song from Guru Dutt’s classic Pyaasa was  adapted and sung by Piyush Mishra in the climax and ending of the movie so well that as the screen fades off with Piyush Mishra’s voice also fading, it leaves you with a chill down your spine.

Themes

The Movie explores various themes, which includes the pursuit of power, Hypocrisy of leaders, violence in the name of ideals and customs. Ragging and how simple things like these can destroy someone’s life. And above all the movie has a higher socio-political purpose which I have explained above. The movie is one of the most honest portrayal of India, its time we accept the facts and also accept these kinds of movies in place  of Dilwale and PRDP. This is what true cinema is and what it actually means.

The main theme though in the movie is how people to get power forget about everything, they forget their loved ones, their family and how money can blind people. How few can manipulate an innocent and turn him into an evil monster.

Rajputana

It is already quite long and i don’t want to go philosophical again as i did on my review of Shiki, just read it again to know about our joke of a world. it is already above 1700 words so.

Conclusion

It is rare when the direction, acting, music, camerawork, all the things come together to create something spell-bounding and majestic and that is what happens in AK’s Gulaal.

My next post will definitely be Episode 3 of Century of Excellence, i promise, till then goodbye.

PS: I DON’T RECOMMEND THIS TO CHILDREN UNDER 18. STRONG USE OF PROFANITY AND VIOLENCE.

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8 thoughts on “The Best Of Bollywood: Gulaal (2009)

  1. Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and
    Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout
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    unique. P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  2. Sorry For a late reply John, I have been using WordPress.com, I selected this theme for that particular reason. I wanted to be unique and this Layout worked for me. WordPress is a decent Blogging platform in my opinion. If you still want help, just ask me. I will be happy to oblige. And thanks for stopping by.

    1. Yes A Masterpiece Indeed, he seems to be going down in quality, it would be almost impossible for Kashyap to go beyond this

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