1971. Two boys. Doing bhai se bhi zyaada pyaar with each other, land up in Calcutta after Bangladesh is made.
Political drama. Hindu-Muslim love. Refugee camps. Hungry kids dying without food. Gun couriers. Corrupt police officers. Child abuse. Serious art house film, you know.
The two boys become coal thieves.
Bees saal baad…
Bikram and Bala. Super hot, dumb-belled, oiled, bronzed, waxed bodies. Still coal thieves.
They decide to become organized dacoits and take over (read: fight and kabza karoing) a mobster’s thieving business.
Last men standing get the coal, the mobster challenges.
Bro, do we dare? WE DARE!
<Series of high-flying slow-motion jumps-kicks-bitchslaps later>
<After a lot of grunting-shunting-teeth-grinding-muscle-flexing-dhishoom-dhurum-dhoom-dharakka>
Hum Jeet Gaye! Organized crime, zindabad! Let’s run!
Because we are so happy that we took over an illegal coal business, we are running during Holi-cum-Durga Puja!
We open more illegal businesses and provide employment to the gareeb!
We do kusti in the mud to celebrate that.
We get our ration cards. Legally Indian. Legally illegal businessmen. (The writer is legally blonde).
Indian government rocks, bitches!
But now we are bored. Within seconds, we have achieved everything. Calcutta is known only for two things now – Howrah Bridge and Bikram-Bala. Not the roshogolla. Not Durga pujo. Not Tagore-Ray-Communism-Lazy Bengalis-Football. No. Calcutta is known for two illegal businessman with their fans waving Communist flags while they sing-and-dance in designer wear.
And so we are very bored. Enter hot chick.
She is a cabaret dancer at Calcutta Cabaret House. (How creative!)
She dances to assalaamey-ishqum ishqum in Broadway inspired costumes which NO dance bar in Calcutta can EVER afford. But because of her thriving (please read the sarcasm heaped on that word) pop singing career in Hollywood, she has to look all international, na? Isi liye…samjha?
Yes, this is happening in a dance bar in Calcutta in the 90s. So Believable. Andrew Lloyd Webber Calcutta ghoomney aaye aur gaana compose kiya. Twyla Tharp haath mein haath milaake choreograph bhi kar diya. Kameeno, agar Webber aur Tharp ko nahi pata, jaake chullu bhar paani mein doob maro. Nahi toh abhi Google karo.
Aaaand yes, BOTH the boys fall in love with Nondita!
Oh, and by day, she dresses like a sati savitri, buying flowers in the Howrah flower market.
Ok, so Bikram and Blah-blah, madly in love, wants her to take her pick.
The roop ki rani can have only one chor. No ek phool do maali business! No ulto-palta thingsh in bhodro-shobbho Calcutta. So which mushtanda will it be?
But wait. Did I mention the film has Irrfan Khan?
Yes! Saving grace! He is the police officer brought in specially to get Bikram and Bala in jail. He is always sniffing around. And burning stuff.
Meanwhile, Bala makes a major fuck up when he shoots a chap because he whistled at Nondita because she was dancing to a Sri Devi song IN FRONT of the audience in the Metro cinema WHILE the song was playing on the screen. That was Nondita’s swayamvar gone bad.
Bala obviously has to flee to Dhanbad (which is just a bike ride away from Calcutta, according to the film), but he asks Bikram to hold his horses and not meet or talk to Nondita while he is away, as she still belongs to the BOTH of them. Bikram agrees. Bala leaves.
Haaaave you met Nondita? Can a hot-blooded man ever wait?
Umm, no. So during Durga pujo, they do aarti together.
Because the purohit moshai was taking a luchi-aloo dom break. Because during Durga pujo, like Ekta Kapoor’s serials, men and women coochie-coo over aarti ki thali.
Now, a double crossing henchman sees all this noshtami-foshtami (colloquial Bengali for ‘fucking around’) and rides to Dhanbad and informs Bala.
Bala is pissed.
Very very pissed.
Ok. His expressions don’t change. Moving on…
Bala comes back to Calcutta during the final day of Durga pujo and is about to shoot Bikram point blank when Nondita comes in between and gets shot.
Oh. My. God. Ladki dead?
Does it matter? That was the first half of the film. Do you REALLY wanna know what happens after that?
Gunday gets it all wrong. The homage that it meant to be to the melodramatic potboilers of the seventies to the nineties becomes nothing but a forced mockery. The storyline is meh. The performances bleh. The music hummable. The cinematography crackles in places but tends to be self-indulgent. And whoever decided to place the film in Calcutta had NO FUCKIN’ IDEA what the city was in the 90s. Arjun Kapoor has a long way to go. Priyanka breezes through as the role was hardly a challenge. Ranveer Singh proves that he needs a good director reining him. Irrfan Khan is forgettable.
By the way, those who still haven’t seen the film will thank me for not spilling all the beans. Kahaani ki twists toh maine bataaya hi nahi!
Photo courtesy: Google Images