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Premiere: Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), 22 May 2012.. Theatrical release: India, 8 Aug 2012.
Presented by Tipping Point Films (IN). Produced by Viacom18 Motion Pictures (IN), AKFPL (IN), in association with Jar Pictures. Producers: Guneet Monga, Sunil Bohra, Anurag Kashyap.
Script: Zeishan Qadri, Akhilesh Jaiswal, Sachin Ladia, Anurag Kashyap. Original story: Zeishan Qadri. Photography: Rajeev Ravi. Editing: Shweta Venkat Matthew. Background music: G.V. Prakash Kumar. Guest composition: Piyush Mishra. Song music: Sneha Khanwalkar. Lyrics: Varun Grover, Piyush Mishra. Production design: Wasiq Khan. Art direction: Saikal Bose. Costume design: Subodh Srivastava. Sound: Alok De, Kunal Sharma. Action: Sham Kaushal. Visual effects: Gagan Vishwakarma. Associate direction: Anubhuti Kashyap.
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Faizal Khan, second son of Sardar Khan), Richa Chadda (Nagma, Sardar's wife), Huma Qureshi (Mohsina, Faizal's wife), Reemma Sen (Durga, Sardar's Hindu mistress), Anurita Jha (Shama Parveen, Danish's wife/Sultan's sister/Ehsaan's daughter), Piyush Mishra (Nasir, Shahid's cousin; narrator), Jameel Khan (Asgar), Vineet Kumar Singh (Danish Khan, Sardar's first son), Pankaj Tripathi (Sultan Qureshi), Satya Anand (J.P. Singh, Ramadhir's son), Murari Kumar (Guddu), Gaurav Sharma (Iqlakh), Faisal Malik (Inspector Gopal Singh), Sankalp Acharekar (Tangent, Perpendicular's friend), Mukesh Chhabra (Nawab, Shamshad's partner), Sanjay Singh (Fazlu Ahmed), Yashpal Sharma (salame ishq singer), Zeishan Qadri (Definite, Durga's son), Aditya Kumar (Perpendicular/Babu Khan/Babua, Sardar's youngest son), Rajkumar Yadav (Shamshad Alam), Tigmanshu Dhulia (Ramadhir Singh), Manoj Bajpai (Sardar Khan), Hasrat Ali (young Definite), Tripurari Yadav (Khalid), Mahesh Balraj (Saggir), Raju (fourth killer on motorbike), Radhe Shyam Giri (villager), Ila Pandey (Nagma's sister), Sujit Goswami (police inspector investigating Sardar's murder), Aditya (Sardar's fourth son, young), Sanjeeva Vats (Qamar Makhdoomi), Veena Sahay (Shama's mother), Tilak Raj, Vivek Singh (Sardar's men), Rati Shankar Tripathi (Ghanshyam), Narayan Dravid (IAS officer), Amreesh Srivastava, Om Prakash Kashyap (J.P.'s men), Ashok Seth (lawyer at Danish's trial), Kiran Yadav (Mohsina's mother), Lali Ji (Shama's father), Aparna Pathak (Mohsina's sister), Pramod Pathak (Badoor Qureshi), Vipin Sharma (Ehsaan Qureshi), Amit Kumar Jha, R.P. Singh (Fazlu's men), Utkarsh (young Faizal), Akshat (young Fazlu), Deepak Lakar (iron merchant), Bhaskar Pandit, Pankaj Mourya, Pawan Singh (Faizal's men), Sachin (Azeem, Faizal's man), Paramjeet Singh (arms dealer), Balram Pandey (Mohsina's father), Shridhar Dubey (Faizal gang member in factory), Betapudi Prapulchand (Khalid's man), Bhupesh Singh (Jabbar), Akhilesh Jaiswal (Ali), Salim Sheikh (Perpendicular's teacher), Ashok Gupta (Perpendicular's cop), Veeru (jeweller), Akash Sinha (Definite's friend), Pradipta Ray (Electric Piya dancer), Salim, Sunil Khandpur (Electric Piya cops), Deepak (tailor's customer), Ashok Kumar Singh (grocery shop owner), Yogesh (sweet shop owner), Pramod (Mangat, iron dealer), Raj (barber), Rajesh (ticket collector), Vivek Ghamande (Qasim), Ishtiaq Anas (Munna), Manish Mishra (cop at bonfire), Kalpana Srivastav (Shamshad's mother), Amit Dhawan (Patna inspector), Sajan (lost man in street), Suresh Kumar (Ashfaque), Karuna Dutt (kidnapped girl), Rajesh Singh (Iqlakh's action insider), Prashant Dixit (businessman), Murli Krishna (polling officer), Rohit Pandey (boy who stops polling officer), Masroor Agha (inspector at polling booth), Virendra Kumar, Sunny (Ramadhir's guards).
Gangs of वासेपुर (Wasseypur) II
Period crime drama
2012, colour, 2.35:1, 159 mins (I: 79 mins; II: 80 mins)
Directed by Anurag Kashyap
By Derek Elley
Wed, 05 December 2012, 09:15 AM (HKT)
Part 2 of the wannabe gangster epic is similarly hit-and-miss, capped by a weak finale. Festivals, plus TV potential.
Wasseypur, Dhanbad district, Bihar state, northeast India, mid-1990s. Powerful crime don Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai) is murdered in a car outside a petrol station by Sultan Qureshi (Pankaj Tripathi) and his men. Sardar's eldest son, Danish (Vineet Kumar Singh) accuses his pothead younger brother Faizal (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) of standing by while his friend Fazlu Ahmed (Sanjay Singh) tipped off the killers. After conducting a revenge murder, Danish is himself killed in the street. Faizal's mother, Nagma (Richa Chadda), urges him to pull himself together and avenge the deaths of his grandfather, father and brother - which were all, ultimately, ordered by old family enemy Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia). Faizal shows his new resolve by slitting Fazlu's throat, and then goes into the iron business, like his father. As Faizal's power grows, Ramadhir agrees not to get in his way of making money as long as Faizal leaves him alone. In 1997 Faizal woos and marries Mohsina (Huma Qureshi). The day after his marriage he tracks down and kills Khalid (Tripurari Yadav), one of his father's killers. Meanwhile, Sardar's youngest son, 14-year-old Perpendicular (Aditya Kumar) has already grown into a dangerous young thug, teamed with his friend Tangent (Sankalp Acharekar). Perpendicular gets to know one of the worst of the new breed of thugs, his older half-brother Definite (Zeishan Qadri), the son of Sardar's Hindu mistress Durga (Reemma Sen). In 2002 the new state of Jharkhand is carved out of part of Bihar, and Dhanbad's mineral wealth becomes part of it, attracting a new set of criminals. Among them is Shamshad Alam (Rajkumar Yadav), who uses his greater business savvy to make Faizal more money. At the same time as some local shopkeepers, fed up with Perpendicular's arrogant behaviour, hire Sultan to kill him, Shamshad also betrays Faizal to the police, who finally have evidence to imprison him. To curry favour with the imprisoned Faizal, Definite tries to kill Shamshad, but his gun jams. Meanwhile, Sultan, who's never forgiven his sister Shama Parveen (Anurita Jha) for marrying Danish, kills her; but the miscalculation only increases sympathy for Faizal when he's released from prison. In Jan 2004, soon after a new police inspector arrives in Wasseypur intent on a crack-down, Sultan launches a night raid against Faizal's home, but Faizal escapes. After Sultan's men kill Faizal's mother, Faizal plans the murder of Sultan. Definite actually commits the deed, which further enhances his reputation; Ramadhir tries to get him on his side, but Definite remains independent. Instead, Ramadhir sends one of his own men, Iqlakh (Gaurav Sharma), into Faizal's camp. When Faizal decides to stand against Ramadhir in a local election, the two men's final confrontation seems to be nigh.
With a tighter timeframe (some 10 years), no need to draw any historical background, and largely centred on a single character, Anurag KASHYAP's Gangs of वासेपुर (Wasseypur) II (2012) is theoretically a much more focused drama than the sprawling, bitty first film. And so it proves for the first hour or so, as history throws Faizal, the hopeless, dope-smoking second son of Sardar Khan, into centre stage to lead the family's business and avenge the deaths of his grandfather, father and elder brother. However, like his father, Faizal is only a moderately charismatic figure and actor Nawazuddin SIDDIQUI underplays his basic madness to a point where he hardly stands out among all the other thugs, killers and wannabes that populate crime-infested Wasseypur.
As the script then introduces several new characters — starting with Faizal's teenage brother Perpendicular and weird half-brother Definite (the latter played with considerable charisma by lead scriptwriter Zeishan QADRI) — the movie gradually devolves into a succession of shootings and revenge shootings that apparently could go on for ever. That is, of course, one of the points of the whole saga; but along the way any real examination of character gets lost in the melee, with Faizal allowed only a brief "you know, I never wanted to take over from my father" explanation near the end. All of this renders the final face-off — to which everything has been leading — a purely mechanical affair with no emotional power at all. After a combined 5¼ hours of shootings and murders, the Gangs of वासेपुर (Wasseypur) saga ends up as little more than a movie about boys playing around with guns.
As both films were shot back-to-back — premiered as a single movie at Cannes but released separately after that — pretty much all the criticisms of the first one (see separate review) hold true for the second. Of the new cast, apart from Qadri, young newcomer Aditya KUMAR makes a confident impression as a 14-year-old razor-thug, while theatre actress-cum-model Huma QURESHI (briefly seen in the first film) is memorable in her film debut as Faizal's strong, glamorous bride.
The major difference between Parts 1 and 2 is the way in which Bollywood movies and songs are used as markers in the narrative. Part 2 has almost no need for datelines, as any Indian audience will immediately recognise the era from film clips, posters, dialogue references and song snippets. The plot traverses the early careers of stars like Shah Rukh KHAN, Salman KHAN and Sanjay DUTT: when Faizal goes off to kill one of his father's murderers, he passes a poster for Yash CHOPRA's classic Dil to pagal hai (1997) (literally, The Heart Is Crazy, which is a comment on Faizal himself); characters are always referring to SRK mega-hit Dilwale dulhania le jayenge (1995), the longest-running film in Indian history; and Perpendicular is shown worshipping Dutt's gangster character in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003). Kashyap and his writers take this to a jokey extent that breaks down the invisible wall between the film and the audience, even giving the main villain, Ramadhir, a speech in which he says he's survived so long because he hasn't worshipped Bollywood heroes. It's another film-buffy flaw in a saga that has its individual moments but lacks the kind of long-limbed dramatic arc and emotional depth that could have made it a true gangster epic.