Film: Zila Ghaziabad
Director: Anand Kumar
Producer: Vinod Bachan, Showman International
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Vivek Oberoi, Paresh Rawal, Arshad Warsi, Chandrachur Singh, Ravi Kishan, Divya Dutta, Sunila Grover
Plot: Based on the true story of a gang war between two powerful rival groups of Gujjar, which took place in Ghaziabad in early 90s, Zila Ghaziabad is a gang-war story set in rustic backdrop.
One of the gangs is led by Satbir Gujjar (Vivek Oberoi) and the other led by Mahender Fauji Bainsla Gujjar(Arshad Warsi), with an police officer Thakur Pritam Singh (Sanjay Dutt) in between all of this. Both Satbir and Mahendra Fauji belong to the village Mewla Bhatti near Loni, Ghaziabad. The vilage belongs to Bainsla Clan of the Gurjar.
Tushar Joshi, DNA
Each time a genre or a trend works at the box-office, film makers rub their hands in glee hoping they can replicate the magical formula to lure ticket goers into watching their cinema. This is the exact same sentiment with which director Anand Kumar makes Zila Ghaziabad. The film ticks ever possible box on the ‘been-there-seen-that’ check list.
Lets have the mandatory cop (Sanjay Dutt) who apes Salman Khan’s often imitated but never duplicated Dabanggesque dance moves. Bring in Paresh Rawal to lend some credibility to the acting quotient. Thrown in an item song since the story is set up north (ever since Shilpa Shetty claimed domination over UP, Bihar) and add a bunch of familiar faces (Arshad Warsi, Vivek Oberoi, Minisha Lamba, Chandrachur Singh) to the frame. Sanjay Dutt tries to look menacing but ends up as a cardboard caricature of himself. Vivek Oberoi makes a sincere attempt to salvage some life into his half baked character. Arshad Warsi looks totally out of sync in his role and sleep walks through most of the scenes. Paresh Rawal and Divya Dutta are the only sparks that light up an otherwise dull frame.
Verdict: Zila Ghaziabad might boast a big ensemble cast, but numbers can’t make up for the poor execution and weak screenplay. Watch it only if you crave for a mediocre Dabangg or Rowdy Rathore wannabe!
Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama
Get set for trigger-happy gangs. Wild with vendetta, the guys go on a rampage -- slitting throats, pumping bullets, the goons bash up rival gang members like we swat flies, fling daggers and knives, explode bombs... Truly, the men are mean, nasty and short-tempered...
Welcome to Zila Ghaziabad, which borrows heavily from Vishal Bhardwaj's Omkara, Abhinav Kashyap's Dabangg and also from the cinema of 1970s and 1980s. Nothing wrong with borrowing/seeking inspiration from the cinema of yore, or movies that have tremendous recall value, but the fact is that the premise of Zila Ghaziabad is thinner than wafer, with the movie constantly giving you the feeling of déjà vu. The silver lining is that everything unravels at a feverish pace, with a couple of dramatic moments camouflaging the deficiencies. Also, Arshad Warsi's wickedness makes the good versus evil fight look credible at times.
While Sanjay Dutt is hardly there in the first half, his character gets prominence in the post-interval portions. The problem with his character is that it's a replica of Salman Khan's role in Dabangg. He dances with the cops, has an eccentric side to him, is playful at times but spiteful when need arises, also participates in an item number [with Shriya Saran, a la 'Munni badnaam huyee']. Also, there're references to his past works as an actor (Khalnayak and Saajan), which seems like an exercise to portray the stardom of the actor.
Although Zila Ghaziabad has several notable actors, the show clearly belongs to Arshad Warsi, who enacts a negative role with effortless ease. Actually, Arshad is synonymous with comic roles, so this act in Zila Ghaziabad comes as a [pleasant] surprise. Vivek Oberoi seems to be getting repetitive. It looks like a photocopy of the part he has essayed in his earlier gangster films. Sanjay Dutt looks out of shape and also lacks the charm that this character demands.
Paresh Rawal is adequate. Ravi Kissen is loud, but it works. Charmee Kaur has a set of expressions, which she uses all through the movie. Minissha Lamba is hardly there. Divya Dutta is wasted. Ditto for top calibre actors like Zarina Wahab and Ashutosh Rana, who have nothing worthwhile to do. Eijaz Khan is strictly okay. Chandrachur Singh is just fair. Sunil Grover does very well as a vicious person. Geeta Basra and Shriya Saran lend glamour in their respective songs.
Verdict: On the whole, Zila Ghaziabad is purely for the mass belt, the single screen audience mainly.
Resham Sengar, Zee News
Anand Kumar’s directorial project Zila Ghaziabad opens with a sequence in which a train is being successfully robbed by a gang of robbers led by Mahendra Fauji (Arshad Warsi). And if you have seen the `Dabangg` series, it won’t take you long to realise that the ‘victory’ title song that follows the loot scene, is closely inspired by Salman Khan’s money-raking film. But not just the song, you have ‘Zila Ghaziabad’ painted in the shades of ‘Dabangg’ series in every possible way.
So here you have ample gravity-defying action stunts, a hulky and bulky policeman to set things straight, a romance element thrown in, raunchy item numbers for cheap thrills, lots of blood bath and you can keep adding other possible paraphernalia. The only thing that makes this movie a tad dissimilar from ‘Dabangg’ is that it has some thrilling aspect which perhaps its savior.
Verdict: Well, watch it only and only if you don’t have anything more interesting to do this weekend.
Janhavi Samant, Mid Day
Truly enough, 'Zila Ghaziabad' has a lot of that bursting happening, especially of the ear-drums! There are two rival gangs going at one another with full josh and ammunition because of a silly misunderstanding. And an equally rogue cop brought in to deal with them. It all starts with Fauji (Arshad Warsi, who has nothing to do with the faujis in our army), a trigger-happy, bloodthirsty contract goon who needs Rs. 20 lakh to marry off his sister. It’s quite interesting to note that the said sister isn’t anywhere close to getting married even by the end of the film; there isn’t even an intended groom in sight. Fauji’s politician boss Chairman (Paresh Rawal) refuses and Fauji joins another gang to start taking pangas with Master (Vivek Oberoi, a peace-loving teacher).
Dialogue ke upar dialogue, dhisoom ke upar dhishoom, dead body ke upar dead body, khoon ka badla khoon. Explaining the plot needs too much investment of memory. But if you have seen Dabangg, Omkara, Singham, and grubby unshaven sweaty men with tobacco-laden teeth is your thing, then who am I to discourage?
Verdict: Just another loud, noisy gangwar flick. Go if you have strong ear drums!
Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV
It is unlikely that there has ever been, or ever will be, a movie quite like Zila Ghaziabad – it is supposedly inspired by real-life incidents and characters and is yet bereft of any semblance of authenticity. Must have taken some doing!
The film unleashes such a merciless, ceaseless and mindless onslaught on the senses and the eardrums that it could actually put the assault rifles of the most trigger-happy of crime lords in the shade. Zila Ghaziabad is a professed reenactment of the violent gang wars that shook parts of Ghaziabad in the 1990s. However, director Anand Kumar does not demonstrate the slightest regard for either realism or rationality. One can safely deduce from the evidence on the screen that he has not the foggiest sense of the setting and the time-frame of the film.
The director rustles up an atrocious patchwork. It is sought to be passed off as a faithful chronicle of a criminal-infested badland on the outskirts of Delhi. Some gall! You can only recoil in absolute horror. Zila Ghaziabad is the story – that is, if you deign to call it a story – of two nasty clans engaged in a fierce clash first over ownership of a plot of land, then over the mounting spoils of crime, then for political turf, and finally for nothing that makes any apparent sense. They just keep shooting at each other and spilling a lot of blood. Coppola’s Godfather is safe, but Ghaziabad certainly isn’t.
The cast of Zila Ghaziabad does have a few quality actors – Paresh Rawal, Arshad Warsi and Divya Dutta among them – but the man at the helm is a great leveller. He spares nobody at all. He turns each and every member of the cast into a lump of ham that is beyond digestion. In the midst of the marauding goons is an equally untamed policeman (Sanjay Dutt) who listens to songs from Hindi films of the early 1990s (Saajan, Thanedaar) and participates in dance numbers that are unabashedly inspired by the moves of Chulbul Pandey and his item girls.
Warsi has never been worse. And that’s really sad. He is usually such an effortless actor. But this is Zila Ghaziabad – as the film’s villain, he has to hector and holler in order to be heard above the deafening din. Sanjay Dutt makes heavy weather of the Salman Khan 'crooked cop' act. It isn’t a walk in the park after all – even Salman has to sweat to get it right. One feels sorry for Oberoi. He goes all out to make the most of the character of a school teacher-turned-criminal who loses his near and dear ones, and his head, as the gang war spirals out of control. The actor’s passion is rather touching – it suggests that he believes that this role could turn things around for him. It is a bit like his asking for the moon on a moonless night.
Verdict: Zila Ghaziabad is unalloyed trash. It is headed straight for the dump yard – stay well clear.
Subhash K Jha, IANS
Wasseypur's gangs never had it so good. Seeing the glorious guttural outflow of blood, bullets and profanities in Zila Ghaziabad one could safely assume, Wasseypur is safe. So is the other release this week. Abhishek Kapoor's Kai Po Che! is as far removed from its Friday competition as flying kites is from a hail of bullets.
If you want to survive in this cut-throat world, you have to recognise your own weaknesses and strengths -- not that one sees the hurried restless unanchored strangely identity-less and vapidly violent characters of Zila Ghaziabad ever doing any introspection. Where is the time to sit and think when everyone is out for a kill? The biggest casualty in all this gore-mongering is a logical pattern of storytelling. The material is edited more to accommodate optimum punches and punchlines than to tell an anchored story. The narration leaves no room for any kind of emotion to take root.
Admittedly, the action is staged with a whole lot of gusto. Tragically, the underlining humour of Salman Khan's "Dabangg" is missing here. These scowling, growling, barking and biting characters take themselves and their anarchic hinterland too seriously. They speak in a self-confident drawl in words about bodily functions that Vishal Bhardwaj or Anurag Kashyap's characters might use on very lazy Sunday to shock their neighbours. But make no mistake. The people who inhabit Zila Ghaziabad mean business. The business of being mean is perpetrated in a torrent of rapidly-staged drama where aggression is King. The film has a sprawling banquet of actors, and some very competent ones at that.
Sanjay Dutt delivers a punch-filled performance as a cop inured to ambivalence. He strikes swaggering postures that suggest John Wayne never really hung up his hat and boots. Vivek Oberoi, who was gloriously goofy as a bumbling gangster in last week's underrated Jayantabhai Ki Luv Story, here displays a mean streak quite convincingly. So does Arshad Warsi, better known for his comic acts, here slipping into a rugged roguery with relish. If you look around, Chandrachur Singh and Paresh Rawal also show up to add muscle to the mayhem.
Verdict: As expected, in this ode to mayhem and machismo, the ladies have little to do besides shake a leg and shed a tear. Minissha Lamba shows up somewhere along the way trying hard not to look lost in the stag party. It's hard not to laugh out loud at these heroes of a subverted hinterland who live and die by the gun. They deserve the death they get.