Friday, May 05, 2006

Gangster: The Movie

‘Gangster’ is not really a “gangster” movie, but a touching love story about a girl torn between her two lovers – one of them is a gangster on the run and another is a man who promises her a decent life. She makes a choice between the two, albeit a wrong one.

Presented by Mahesh Bhatt and directed by Anurag Basu, Gangster introduces newcomer Kangna Ranaut in a role that is doubtlessly difficult and challenging for any debutante. Shiney Ahuja and Emraan Hashmi are the movie’s leading men.

Simran (Kangna Ranaut) spends her days and nights drinking whisky and seeking emotional comfort in the company of Akash (Emraan Hashmi), a small-time singer in a Seoul club. Akash knows something is eating Simran deep inside. The truth is revealed to him one night by Simran herself.

The movie goes into flashback. We learn that Simran was a bar dancer living in a Mumbai chawl. One day, a gangster named Daya (Shiney Ahuja) runs into her house and hides there while escaping from the cops on his trail. No words are spoken between Daya and Simran. But a connection is made.

After that night of unspoken words, Daya begins to go to the dance bar just to watch Simran. One day he saves Simran from a couple of unruly guys, holds her hand and says out his first words – “Ghar Chalein”.

From that moment Simran starts living with Daya. But it is not the life she had dreamt of. Being a criminal, Daya is always on the run and she has to run with him. Even Daya’s godfather Khan (Gulshan Grover) warns him to dump the girl, but Daya refuses to ditch Simran and instead earns the wrath of Khan.

Simran tries to have a semblance of normal life by foster mothering an adopted child named Bittu. But one day, Bittu is shot dead in an encounter between cops and Daya.

Daya goes into hiding in Mauritius, while Simran lives a dysfunctional life of an alcoholic in Seoul.

After hearing Simran’s story, Akash begins to love her even more and promises to take her out of the mire she is wallowing in. He promises her a decent future. In a moment of weakness, the two end up making love in the bed.

It is then Daya makes an entry and bashes Akash. Daya confesses his true love to Simran and promises he would quit his crime world for her. On the other hand, Akash wants her to come with him to India.

Simran now has to make a choice.

Director and screenplay writer Anurag Basu must be commended for making an interesting movie without having any big names in the star cast and without resorting to unnecessary gimmickry stereotypical of commercial cinema.

The backbone of ‘Gangster’ is its story, which though not unusual, still keeps you riveted to the screen until the end, solely because of the way it has been presented by the director. An equal credit should be given to the movie’s actors for delivering fine performances.

Kangna Ranaut makes an impressive acting debut, particularly considering she has hardly had any acting experience save for a bit of theatre she did in Delhi. Although there is a scope for improvement in her dialogue delivery, she does impress with her emotive range. She excels playing an alcoholic, living a dysfunctional life, passing out on the streets of Seoul, and later on burdened by the remorse of the wrong choice she makes.

Shiney Ahuja speaks only a few dialogues in the movie. But his stoic presence throughout the film is quite imposing. He is particularly superb in one sequence at the movie’s fag end when the cops catch him at the Seoul station.

Emraan Hashmi delivers a fine performance. He doesn’t overplay himself.

Right from the opening shot, the movie raises a few questions. There is a shootout in which Simran is shot before pumping bullets into someone. Who is this other person? The link is made at the movie’s end, when director Anurag Basu completes the circle of this love triangle.

Eminently Watchable.

By Nikita Desai (


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