Jaideep Ahlawat, Akash Dahiya, Chandrachoor Rai, Shadab Kamal, Vansh Bhardwaj, Sanjay Mishra, Mukul Dev and Brijendra Kala
Zeishan Qadri of Gangs of Wasseypur fame makes his directorial debut with
that hit theatres on Friday. Anurag Kashyap has been going gaga over the film and even claimed that he could see his own reflection in Qadri. But has the writer-actor-turned-director delivered to the high standards set by his mentor?
One of the first scenes in the film is set in a college canteen where a group of boys is discussing a highway robbery in which some of them were involved. As the narrative moves from one person to another, the camera dizzily hovers around the table. Sounds interesting? We were quite put off right from this very first sequence.
Meeruthiya Gangsters explores the lives of these college kids who are law-defying hooligans by default and need money to bribe their way to a well-paid job in a multi-national company and take to all kinds of weirdly placed criminal ways to get those lakhs of rupees. Nikhil (Jaideep Ahlawat) leads this group with Amit (Aakash Dahiya), Sanjay Foreigner (Jatin Sarna), Sunny (Shadab Kamal), Rahul (Chandrachoor Rai) and Gagan (Vansh Bhardwaj).
Sanjay Mishra, Jaideep Ahlawat and Aakash Dahiya in Meeruthiya Gangsters.
Zeishan, who has written the story and screenplay of the film, matches Kashyap in his eye for details. His real location shooting helps get the premise perfectly - be it a college in a small place like Meerut or Noida's offices built in deserted areas with nothing more than the building itself.
The dialogues have the quirk and dark humour of an Anurag Kashyap movie and thanks to this some of the sequences are interesting. In one of the climax sequences, there is a day-long gun battle among our young gangsters and the cops. This is one of the rare high points in the film. Nikhil, Amit and their friends are shown multi-tasking as they fire shots at the police and take breaks to smoke or guzzle some beer! The discussion about how they should communicate to the cops that they want to surrender is kind of funny in its own way.
Another sequence that catches attention is the one where Sanjay asks his friends to shoot him. Jatin Sarna effortlessly makes the whole episode and his character look cute with this scene alone. He almost begs, "Bhai, maar de na goli. Please maar de na yaar. 2.2 mm wali pistol lana, pat se lagegi, chat se bahar. 2.2 mm se koi marta thodi hai."
As for the performances, all the actors are impressive and entertain with their quirky histrionics. Sanjay Mishra, Brijendra Kala and Mukul Dev especially lift up the movie with every minute of their presence in the film. While Mukul plays an unruly cop, Sanjay is a real estate businessman and Brijendra is one of the kidnapped victims of the Meeruthitya Gangsters.
After Mukul is suspended for failing to intercept Brijendra's abductors, he is recalled to probe another kidnapping. When asked to take over the investigations, Mukul says, "Main to suspend hoon. Main kaha se karu karyawahi? Letter kahan hai mera?", referring to an official documentation of him resuming work in the presence of the victim's wife.
Mukul aces the attitude and style of the unruly UP cop and also shows a trace of rationality. A girl elopes with her lover and moves to Sanjay's house in Noida and when her father, along with Mukul, reaches the house and threatens the girl for maligning the "family's honour". Mukul interrupts and tells him, "Auraton aur baccho ko nahi marte. Zor aazmana hai to hum hai na, hum pe aazmaao."
Much like Wasseypur, Zeishan's female characters are once again strong and have a voice of their own. They do not submit to their gun-wielding gangster partners and maintain a level of equality in the relationship.
However, the movie fails because of its loosely-written story. Telling a convoluted saga of ambition, greed and friendship, Meeruthiya Gangsters fails to keep a grip on its central plot. The angles are bang on, but Zeishan fails to add gravity to his story that could have kept the audience hooked and involved with the story of his otherwise identifiable characters. Much of our disappointment stems from the fact that this comes from the same writer who penned Gangs of Wasseypur.
Another major problem is the way Zeishan introduces his characters or premises, or rather a lack of it: It could have been a montage of badly woven scenes with a few impressive sequences to its credit.
Despite the good performances and a few quirky sequences, Meeruthiya Gangsters fails to develop the simplest of interest and this is one movie that we suggest you should skip.