Sunday, June 04, 2006


Yes, you could have a whole sociological essay based on the probable reasons that Gangster didn't work. Though the film has been produced by one of the well-versed marketeers, Mahesh Bhatt, the film doesn't work. Why? Lack of a stellar cast? But, then, had Rang de Basanti a stellar cast? Or had not Mangal Pandey - the Rising a stellar cast?
Gangster is a superb film, the most intense love story that I have ever seen made in Hindi. Its a tortous love story, it doesn't let you rest in peace, its what love is. It conveys to the home the hopelessness, the helplessness of a person when confronted with true love. The sympathy never wavers from the lead pair of Shiney Ahuja and Kangana Ranaut, even though the latter's end betrayal could have induced a resentment against her character among the audiences. This is the best testimony to the craftsmanship of the film. That is what is the forte of the film - its different editing style, and the construction of the screenplay (of course, the editing style has been necessitated due to the unconventional screenplay). And, oh, what a music score! Even if its lifted from Arabia, I don't care as long as I get to hear some real music.
Emraan Haashmi is his usual poor self, a poor actor, who is only fit to star in some hit songs. But, then, the film does not depend on him at all. Its Shiney Ahuja who impresses you (thankfully, there are a very few dialogues in the film from him, for he has still to learn about his dialogue delivery). And Kangana is the star of the show. What an honest acting effort! She looks sad, she looks drunk, she looks glamorous, she looks in need of love, she looks in love, she looks betrayed, she looks the star! Her dialogue delivery is also unusual, and very apt for the sort of role that she is playing in the film.
Why didn't the film do well in India? Maybe, first of all, due to a poor name selection. People think that it is some violent film to which they won't like to go with their kids et al. and then to top it off, after seein' the name of Haashmi in it, they think that some extramarital things also must be going on in the film, and it might be just one of those usual Emraan Haashmi films. So, I think, selecting Emraan was a big mistake for this project, when his kissing services weren't much needed also in the film. The name too. Then, though the real music lovers absolutely loved the music and it is still at no. 1 on the billboards, yet the music didn't create as much a wave as, say, Rang de Basanti. Why? Because, the youngsters want something to dance with in the disco bars, want something which could fill them with insta excitement, and which has that bawdy feel of Punjabi music in it. Of course, many of the youngsters would prefer this music for disco bars also against RDB's, but then the reach won't be upto those who do not have their own preferences but simply follow what they think their peers must be following. And, most importantly, its an intense film, a serious love story, not at all sugary. No melodrama in it, no deep plots in it. Its a simple story with some unconventional screenplay (another put-off for Indians). The acting is very honest, the dialogues are very few, Shiney Ahuja's eyes tell you the whole film, and the cast is not a star cast. Its a low-budget film, and the exhibitors were more interested in investing their money in the forthcoming Fanaa, which has a star lead pair, than any other films. A popcorn-munching public simply wants something to spend their time with, they don't want something too serious - if confronted with, they will laugh it off, disdain it to the bins, and make directors like Priyadarshan the creators of vulgar comedies.