Movie review by Anupama Chopra: Gunday has 'angry young man' swagger

  • Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh

    Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh share a light moment at the sets of Gunday.

  • Priyanka Chopra

    Priyanka Chopra on a truck during the shooting of her upcoming movie Gunday. Priyanka Chopra, alongwith Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor has gone complete desi ...

  • Priyanka Chopra

    Priyanka Chopra on the sets of Gunday. Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and produced by Aditya Chopra, the film stars Ranveer Singh & Arjun Kapoor, ...

  • Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Arjunn Kapoor

    Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Arjunn Kapoor have donned desi looks for their upcoming film, Gunday.

  • Ranveer SinghRanveer Singh at the sets of Gunday.

    Ranveer Singh at the sets of Gunday.

  • Arjun Kapoor, Ranveer Singh

    Ranveer Singh has finished shooting for Gunday and is currently shooting for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Ram Leela. He also has two other films in his ...

  • Arjun Kapoor, Ranveer Singh

    Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh play fast friends Bikram and Bala who turn out to be happy-go-lucky rebels in Yash Raj Films' next Gunday.

  • Arjun Kapoor

    Arjun Kapoor has some fun during the shoot of Gunday, his upcoming movie.

  • Gunday

    The crew of Gunday takes time out to have some fun during the shoot of the YRF movie.

  • Gunday

    Gunday is slated for late 2013 release.

Direction: Ali Abbas Zafar
Actors: Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra
Rating: ***

In an interview I did with Ranveer Singh, the actor described the brief that director Shaad Ali gave him on the sets of the upcoming Kill Dill. The one line instruction was: Just Bachchan it, baby! Ranveer should have no problem with that, because he’s already Bachchaned the hell out of his role in Gunday.

Gunday, directed and written by Ali Abbas Zafar, is an unabashed love letter to the 1970s, the height of our romance with Amitabh Bachchan’s Angry Young Man. A time when heroes, even if they were criminals, were honourable men. When friendship was bigger than love. When the system was always the biggest criminal.

Though the story is set in the 1980s, Zafar recreates a classic ’70s vibe with punchy dialogue-baazi, scenes designed to make you applaud and a relentless background score by Julius Packiam that underlines every beat just in case you missed a high note. Gunday is all slow-motion and swagger, with nods to Deewaar, Sholay, Kaala Patthar, Kabhi Kabhie and sprinkles of John Woo’s doves and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

This masala mix works for the first half — Ranveer and Arjun Kapoor are electric as Bikram and Bala, two Bangladeshi refugees who are inducted in childhood into a life of crime. The story is both implausible and clumsy, but sheer attitude — or tevar, as we are reminded repeatedly — pulls it together.

Gunday is an affectionate collection of clichés. I think most of you will figure out what’s coming before it does. But in the second half, when Bikram and Bala are at each other’s throats, the film loses its spell.

The narrative momentum is broken by unnecessary songs and a prolonged Bikram-Bala fight, in which Zafar succumbs to the Salman Khan rule — eventually, shirts come off and well-oiled chests are hurled against each other. Still, I enjoyed Gunday because of Ranveer and Arjun.

Priyanka Chopra kills it in one nicely written, emotional stand-off scene, Irrfan Khan brings a sly amusement to his role of the cop assigned to break Bikram and Bala, and Saurabh Shukla deserves special mention; he shines in a brief role as the hapless lawyer assigned to make the boys somehow legal. But this film would be dead on arrival without the energy of the male leads — even when they are hamming, and they ham often, they are doing it with glorious style. Of the three stars for Gunday, one is for Ranveer and Arjun.


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