There is bromance, romance, revenge, and spicy dialoguebaazi. In short, all the 'sholay' to light up a Bollywood bonfire. What Gunday does not have is soul and enough glue to keep the moviegoer going through the length of the movie.
Ali Abbas Zafar's directorial venture has the right packaging, but the material used is far from fresh. The duration of the film (2.5 hours) also tests your patience after a point, the film could easily have been crisper.
The twists and turns are hardly exciting. In fact, they rather irritate you as they have already been done to death in the '70-80's masala movies.
The Sholay connect
Gunday is set in 1970's Calcutta, and it has been given the treatment of action films of that time; what it lacks is the soul. It instantly reminds you of Sholay as Bala and Bikram share a bond similar to Jai-Veeru of the 1975 classic. They also flip a coin to decide who'll try his chance to woo the girl, they both have given their heart to.
So Arjun Kapoor easily slips into Amitabh Bachchan's mannerisms. Ranveer Singh, though, avoids the temptation to ape Dharmendra. But that's it. The film has its own plot, but a predictable one at that.
Bikram and Bala are Kolkata's sabse bade Gunday. They have a justification for their deeds, though. They are refugees from Bangladesh, who have migrated to Calcutta but people don't let them forget that. So they turn into coal bandits, get into angry young men mould, and kill people who call them refugees. Fair enough, is it? Their life takes a turn, when ACP Satyajeet Sarkar (Irrfan) resolves to drag them from their Lanka. He says something like - 'tumhari hi Lanka se tumhe kutton ki tarah kheech ke launga'.
We expect Priyanka Chopra to surprise us everytime. She meets that expectation. She appears in three avatars, starkingly different from the other. We, however, felt she could have been more natural.
Thank You was the last masala brainless movie that Irrfan was part of. The lame dialogues that he mouths in this one, doesn't suit his character.
In a scene, Irrfan's senior tells him while briefing him about Gunday - 14 saal se unki umra 14 saal hai. "To aapne humko unki umra badhane ke liye bulaya hai?" pats come Irrfan's reply. It breaks our heart to see Irrfan mouthing Mithun Chakraborthy's refrain from Guru - 'achcha hai, achcha hai, bahut achcha hai'.
Arjun Kapoor's screen presence is amazing, and he portrays his character convincingly. Ranveer's characer has a lot of emotional connect and he handles both the action and emotional ones with equal ease.
Gunday is a few notches short of a one-time watch. You have to be a die-hard fan of either Priyanka Chopra or Ranveer Singh to enjoy this film.