The filmmakers from north India helped in bringing the paradigm shift in Bollywood in the beginning of the new millennium. Suddenly, supposedly backward states like UP, Bihar and Jharkhand came under prominence, all thanks to films based on the organised crime syndicates. Filmmakers such as Prakash Jha, Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bhardwaj became the agents of this change. And, now when Prakash Jha is ready with his new film Jai Gangaajal, we take a look at films which explored the dark underbellies of these states with credibility.
Watch: Priyanka Chopra in Jai Gangaajal trailer
Haasil (2003): This was the film which introduced us to the explosive duo of Tigmanshu Dhulia and Irrfan Khan. Who knew then that Irrfan will also rule the West in the future! Khan plays a university student leader who has his way with the system. Haasil is a lesson in dialogue writing and in delivery for newbies.
Gangaajal (2003): SP Amit Kumar (Ajay Devgn) saw the pathetic condition of Bihar through the eyes of an outsider IPS officer. It was a land where Sadhu Yadav (played brilliantly by Mohan Joshi) and company ruled the neighbourhood with terror. Said to be based on a true event, Gangaajal brought out the ‘stagnant’ mindset of the society and the people who govern it. It was Prakash Jha’s first major commercial success.
Apharan (2005): Another Prakash Jha film which will always be known for its grit and fast screenplay. Ajay Devgn played a common man-turned-gangster in Apharan as he didn’t know any other way out of his miseries. It’s probably the best film made on the psychology of young Biharis during the late 1990s.
Sehar (2005): It’s a very underrated Kabeer Kaushik film which has Arshad Warsi at the helm of affairs. He plays a police officer who’s after the crime kingdom of Gajraj Singh (Sushant Singh), loosely based on encountered UP don Sriprakash Shukla. Sehar demonstrates how politics and crime go hand in hand in UP.
Omkara (2006): Trust Vishal Bhardwaj for doing the toughest. He made a film on casteist equation among the gangsters in western UP, where Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan and Vivek Oberoi delivered performances of their lifetime. Based on William Shakepeare’s Othello, Omkara presented Omi Shukla (Devgn) as a non-glamorous gangster who gets betrayed by the idea of love. Saif Ali Khan as Langada Tyagi became the talk of the town after this one.
Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012): It’s an epic film in all senses. What Anurag Kashyap achieved with this film will remain an inspiration for others. It’s India’s very own City Of God. Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpayee) has just one motive in his life and that is to seek revenge from Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia). His son Faizal (Nawazuddin) completes the task, but at what cost! It now has a ‘cult’ following among the youth, and rightly so because each and every dialogue of this two-part series is memorised by the youngsters.